Last Sunday, our priest addressed the Catholic Church and sexual abuse facts directly in his homily. He relayed how he and priest friends met for lunch and addressed the usual church news. Most recently and tragically, 300 priests were named in a grand jury report that reports the sexual assault of more than 1,000 victims in Pennsylvania.
It felt uncomfortable to talk about this confusing and sad disgrace and betrayal of trust, especially from complicit leaders of the Church, who turned a blind eye. Our seven-year-old and five-year-old boys sat in our pew while their Dad led our congregation in song. While Catholics around the world are hurt by the gross abuse of power that sickens, angers, and saddens us, that is the reality of today’s Church for every generation.
Our priest shared the history of other sex crimes over the last couple decades and how our Chicago Cardinal Bernadin took action among our diocese. He didn’t mention that Cardinal Bernadin was falsely accused on his death bed.
We continued the conversation with our priests after mass. They expect this to parallel the #MeToo movement with new reports to continue and implicate more leaders. We urge our local parish community to host town hall meetings to relay the feelings of parishioners to leaders of the Church. As more investigations must continue on every local level, we demand updates on actions.
What does this mean? Although denouncement of those heinous crimes helps, we need action. A sexual abuse commission, Pontifical Commission on the Protection of Minors, urged the Pope on what structure could help this issue. They recommended an accountability tribunal.
The Pope approved that, but it has not yet been implemented. Our Catholic Church needs structural reform. In addition to more accountability, we hope the Church changes its rules to be inclusive for all. We hope someday, priests, men and even women alike, may choose to marry either a man or woman.
Our priest suggests we pray for the good priests. We must also pray for the victims and all members of our Church community, including those who are falsely accused, and those may need space and question their faith. We hope Catholics, who leave the church, return with open hearts.
Thankfully, we know many good priests. We continue to support our local church and Catholic school in attendance and with financial contributions.
Today, a young priest from Kenya taught our boys the refrain as we departed, “God is good,” where the respondent remarks, “All the time.” In the case of the Catholic Church sex crime crisis, men chose evil actions. We anxiously await overdue reform.
Thoughts and prayers continue for our extended Catholic Church community and family! XO
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