Scream, cry, hide in shame, and walk around in dumfounded shock. These are some of the things I have done since the resurfacing of the horrible scandal that is rocking the Church. The information that is coming out is horrific. It is truly sickening. Anger, disgust and hopelessness want to flood my spirit. I feel like I will drown if I don’t do something. But what in the world can I do in the enormity of such grave sin?! I ask myself the question, but it also gushes out of my heart as a desperate prayer-plead to God. And in his beautiful love, he responds. Here are five things to do during this crisis:
- Keep going to Mass/Reconciliation
In a time when you could find lots of excuses to stop going to Mass and walk away from your faith…keep the faith! Keep participating in the sacraments. Don’t stop going to Mass or Reconciliation! Don’t walk away from Jesus and the Eucharist! Nothing would make the enemy happier than to see you walk away. We need lots of grace to get through this spiritual battle and receiving our Lord and Savior’s precious body and blood is vital.
In regards to going to Reconciliation, the passage from the Lord ’s Prayer rings true; “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us” (Mt 6:12). During this terrible time in the Church, resentment and holding a grudge will be tempting. The sacrament of Reconciliation helps us to face our own sinfulness and lets us experience the healing beauty of God’s mercy. We need be at our best during these worst of circumstances; therefore, going to confession is a must.
- Pray and Fast
There is nothing more powerful in the face of evil than prayer. First and foremost, pray for the victims, that they will find healing and peace. Pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (and maybe you) who are struggling with their faith during this crisis. Pray for the church leaders, and all that work for the church, that they may courageously follow the direction of the Holy Spirit and provide strong leadership during this moral catastrophe. And don’t forget (gulp) to also pray for the perpetrators of these horrible crimes.
In regards to fasting, Cardinal DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says, “The Holy Father is…inviting, and I am asking this as well, that all the faithful join in prayer and fasting…Jesus remarked once, ‘This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting’ (Mark 9:29); a humble reminder that such acts of faith can move mountains and can even bring about true healing and conversion,”
To read more about the benefits of fasting and ideas on how to fast, check out https://www.catholicgentleman.net/2014/04/spiritual-weapons-fasting/
- Write Your Bishop
Write an actual letter with an envelope and stamp. Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance and pour yourself out on the paper. Keep it honest and concise, but make sure to let the leader of your diocese know your concerns. Monsignor Charles Pope writes about taking this action in his article entitled, In the Midst of Clerical Misdeeds, a Crucial Moment for the Laity. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/msgr-pope/in-the-midst-of-clerical-misdeeds-a-crucial-moment-for-the-laity
If you needs some tips in writing to your bishop, check this out: https://avemariaradio.net/tips-write-bishop/
Also, at the end of this blog is a letter written and delivered to Cardinal DiNardo by my brother Eddie Scales, along with a link to where he got the information on the forty day period of prayer and fasting that he mentions in the letter.
- Affirm your Priests
Though this is a dark time for the Church, remember there are many virtuous, celibate priests out there. They have given their life to serving Christ and his people. It is a sad time for these faithful priests who are learning about their brother priests who have committed grave sins. Make sure to thank the priest(s) at your parish for their service. Write them a note. Send them a card. Invite them over for dinner. Let them know you are praying for them and that you appreciate all their hard work. And while you’re at it, encourage your priest to speak to the congregation about this crisis, if they haven’t already. Yes, it is a difficult topic to address, but it must be done!
- Stay Informed/Educated
This advice is coming from someone who hates watching the news and following current events. I’d rather not think about those things or deal with them, mainly because it always seems so negative. However it is important that we do not do what some of our church officials have done in the past…sweep things under the rug and look away.
Knowing what is going on can fire us up to help make the world a better place. Staying informed gives us opportunities to pray for specific people or specific issues. Staying educated can help you have healthy discussions about current issues. That is why it is good to have reputable sources to help you stay abreast of the latest news. In regards to the topic of this article, I recommend:
The National Catholic Register (owned by EWTN) http://www.ncregister.com/
Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire https://www.wordonfire.org/
1430am Catholic Radio in Houston KSHJ http://www.grnonline.com/stations/1430-am-kshj-houston/
The church is in dire need of reform and renewal. This will not be easy! It is a long rough road ahead. Along with prayer, fasting and continued participation in the sacraments, there is hope.
An open letter to his Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo,
archbishop of Galveston-Houston.
I am a lifelong Catholic, active in the church, fervent in my faith, faithful to the Magisterium and disgusted by the abuse and cover-ups that have plagued the Roman Catholic Church. I am heartsick and ashamed over the 1000+ victims of abuse in the state of Pennsylvania and all the other boys and girls, men and women who have been sexually abused by priests and further victimized by the bishops who covered up for these crimes. I pray for justice for the victims and their families and their communities.
Something must be done, and I am asking you to lead your flock, and to be a leader in the Church in addressing these crimes. We are all sinners and we must confront our sinfulness, and the Church must do the same. Christ would have it no other way.
I believe in the Catholic Church, founded by Christ and sustained by the Eucharist. We are one body in Christ. As such, I invite you, your Eminence, Cardinal DiNardo, to join us in observing a forty day period of prayer and fasting as an act of reparation to God for these sins. From the feast of the Queenship of Mary on August 22, through the month of September, we will join our sorrow with Our Lady of Sorrows, and make daily sacrifices for this intention.
Your servant in Christ,
R.E. “Eddie” Scales
Parishioner of Sts. Simon & Jude in The Woodlands, TX
Corruptio optimi pessima (The corruption of the best is the worst of all)