As I got dressed for Mass this past Sunday, I had a somber feeling in my soul. I, and so many other Catholics, have this deep longing for our priests to speak out at Mass against the perversions that have come to light recently in Pennsylvania. Though the Bishop of Kansas City promptly issued a statement in regards to the scandal, I still had a great desire for my own parish priest to express his anguish over the terrible situation our Church has found herself in. I wanted to hear him speak the same feelings that I, and so many others, are experiencing: outrage, confusion, heartbreak, disgust, and horror.
Even as I had the hope that our parish priest would speak out, I wasn’t surprised when he remained silent. Silence is, more often than not, the go-to response from priests and the faithful alike. News like this is just as paralyzing as it is horrifying.
Though prayers were extended in the petitions of the Mass, it didn’t feel like enough. I deeply regret that so many priests made no mention of the scandal or the abuses that have rocked our whole Church.
Perhaps the parish priests outside of Pennsylvania don’t think it’s necessary to speak out at Mass, since the scandal was reported outside their diocese. Perhaps the parish priests who remain silent are fearful of attacks, confusion, mistrust, and outrage being directed towards them–the good and faithful priests who have given their lives in service to God and to His Church. Perhaps they, too, are processing things and praying about how to express their anguish over it all. Perhaps they don’t want to turn the volume up on the scandal, in an effort to avoid bringing any more attention to the ugliness and depravity that exists within the walls of the Church.
I don’t know their reasoning, but I was certainly disappointed that not a word was spoken about this crisis by our parish priest.
We need them. We need our priests to stand up and fight; to cry out against injustice and to publicly lament for the sake of the victims, on behalf of their other good brothers and faithful priests, and for the whole Body of Christ who is hurting because of this scandal.
I pray that all priests would speak up as Father Andrew did at the Saint John Paul II Catholic Parish in Kansas City. (Listen to his homily by following this link. ) To see and hear him cry is to witness a public and authoritative representation of the pain and sorrow we are all feeling. I wish all priests were so emboldened.
Oftentimes in situations like this–when I’m saddened and outraged by injustice in our world and in our Church–I, too, tend to just turn my heart to prayer.
While I think that is absolutely an appropriate response, I am learning that Jesus doesn’t just want prayer alone.
He wants actions, too.
Jesus himself, when faced with injustice, flipped the freaking tables over.
We need to follow in His example.
As I mentioned in my last post, we the laity need to do something. We have to act, as one Body, against all that is happening in our beautiful Church, and we need to use our voices and resources to bring about change.
We CANNOT lie down in shame. We CANNOT hide our faces. We CANNOT be silent any longer.
So, what can we do?
Pray. Yes. Always begin with prayer. Extend to God your sorrow for the injustices done in our Church, and cry out for his mercy. Pray a chaplet of divine mercy daily. Pray your rosary. Pray more novenas. Pray.
Write your priests and bishops. Make a plea for them to speak out. Plea for them to fight for change. Plea for them to be an example to us, and to stand up so that we may also be inspired to fight for justice. Plea for them to be vocal, and to not hide from their parishioners.
Use the prompts that Valerie so proactively made–they are easy to print out and expressive of the pain that all the faithful are feeling. I modeled my handwritten letters after this prompt and this one.
Fast and offer penance. Bonnie of “A Knotted Life,” and Kendra of “Catholic All Year,” along with many other faithful Catholic bloggers, organized a movement to offer acts of reparation in atonement for the sins of our fathers. We are all sick over what they have done. In our pain and in our sorrow, let’s all, together, do the hard work of atoning for their sins and consoling the heart of Jesus.
Reach out to victims. Heather of Honey Child Forest, told her followers that after speaking out against the crimes committed in our Church, one of the victims reached out to her and thanked her for being so bold as to say something. She encouraged her followers to write the victims so that they might know that they are not alone.
I immediately messaged the woman she mentioned on Instagram, and it’s something I wouldn’t have thought to do otherwise.
Reach out to the victims. Write them a letter if you can’t speak to them in person and express your outrage and offer your love to them. It’s important for them to know that we stand by them and against the heinous acts that have been committed by the leaders in our Church.
Cry out for the Holy Spirit. The first disciples of Christ, along with the first Apostles (priests and Bishops) were just like us: they made mistakes, they wanted to be loved and prioritized by Christ, and they hid and fled from Him in times of crisis.
Yet, after Christ Ascended into heaven, He graciously poured down upon them the power of His Holy Spirit, so that by the Spirit, they would be emboldened and motivated to proclaim God’s Word to the world, and He fortified them so that they would no longer be prideful or fearful. With the power of the Holy Spirit, they inspired others to cling to Christ and to live in service of His Church. May we never cease to pray for the Holy Spirit to rain down on the Church so that all of us–especially our bishops and priests–may freely and boldly live for Christ, stand up for the weak and the poor, and fight against injustice committed in the Church.
We are not alone in this. Together, let’s work hard to fight against and eradicate filth within the walls of our beloved Church.
Christ be with us.