The Real Work of Christ
When I returned from overseas where I was caring for my mother, and caught up with the news, I felt like the bottom had fallen out of my world. Reading about sexual abuse scandals in the worldwide church made me angry, and I was appalled about the details from Pennsylvania. It was awful and beyond belief. As gruesome as the details were, the worst part for me was the cover up by the bishops; their primary concern being for other clergy and the institution, rather than the victims who were marginalized, shamed, and silenced.
It’s becoming clear that much of our church hierarchy has embraced silence and cover-up over honesty and transparency, self-preservation over concern for the victims, and clericalism over humble service. Power corrupts. Perhaps all US bishops should offer their resignation to the pope as the first symbolic step in this process of cleansing and taking responsibility. Our church is in deep crisis, and it calls for bold changes, among them: more oversight from lay people and the empowerment of women. We need to reflect deeply on our mission and return to our roots when the church was humble, and there was cost, not privilege, to being a disciple.
Lastly, I would like to commend the lay people of our parish for doing the real work of Christ: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and prisoners, uplifting the lowly. We, clergy, do a lot of talking, but you do most of the work. I am sorry for my sins and the sins of other clergy. I am sorry for the loss of trust that we are all experiencing in the church. Is the renewal possible? It’s not going to be easy, and there will be a lot of resistance, but for God nothing is impossible.