Churchy Things,  Trauma

Love & Mercy Go Hand-in-Hand

The more you know, the more difficult it is to choose to love.

And yet we are still called to love, as difficult as it is.

Sometimes we can’t. Sometimes we honestly can’t. Sometimes we’ve been damaged in ways we didn’t even know, and our capacity to love has become smaller. But we don’t even know it’s smaller.

The New Current Scandal.

This is a bit delayed in being posted, mostly because I had to take time to make sure I wasn’t just writing from anger.

I find myself reading a lot of the statements being made by many officials in the church these days. How does one find the truth when only half-truths are given by everyone?

I haven’t much confidence that we will find out the truth of why McCarrick was granted so much freedom despite his victim’s stories circulating profusely. The fact that there must have been many who received reports from the victims and chose to do nothing. Now years later, those people who’ve ignored the cries of the suffering are in positions that garner more influence; it leads me to believe that there is strong resistance to the accusations reaching their full potential.

Side note: anytime I hear/read/type the term ‘full potential’ the image that always lingers in the back of my mind is Ninjago ninjas reaching their full potential

Add on top of this, the fighting between an archbishop and a bishop writing officially on behalf of the Vatican, who seem to hate each other (and others) but hide it in coded civility, spewing names and half-truths about what they know and don’t know about what has happened…it feels like an utter disaster.

This crisis has reached so many countries. Ireland. Chile. Australia. Germany. Poland. Canada. US. If one is to believe that this hasn’t affected EVERY. SINGLE. COUNTRY then I really think they might be ignorantly living under a rock. In some respects, I wish I could be that ignorant person again.

What We Should Be Hearing

Here’s how any official representative of the church should respond to the anger that the Catholic faithful have:

I hear you. Jane, I have heard your anger and frustration. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’d like to see

a) bishops not ignore allegations against any priest, bishop, deacon, or person in an authoritative position in the church

b) that there be set up a non-partisan committee for reviewing each allegation carefully and thoroughly

c) that victims be given an active role in how all this should be formed

d) all those involved in covering up or ignoring the abuse, or not reporting to appropriate authorities knowledge of abuse, be named and also brought to justice

e) and that there be an international tribunal for bishops to judge whether they acted inappropriately in response to sexual abuse cases.

Is there anything else you would like to add at this time?

Thank you for your concern for the credibility of our church’s leadership. I appreciate your input. Can I share with you what we’re doing already to see how it matches up with your concerns? Here are a couple ways I can see you helping us in this, if you’d like…

Instead of my name and my concerns, place your own in their stead.

Losing Sight of the Prize

All have sinned. All are in need of God’s grace. There is no question of that. And yet, Jesus also singles out certain things that are grave matters:

‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.Woe to the world because of stumbling-blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling-block comes!

‘If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Matthew 18:6-9

God’s mercy and grace are always near, but first, there must be the act of contrition. True contrition is necessary. And while the mercy of God is overflowing, true contrition does not mean ignoring the real consequences of actions. It means owning up to the sin and setting things right, or as right as one can do, depending on the damage. And yes, sometimes that means you are stripped of your title and position, and/or placed before courts of justice.

It means that when I find my fault, I need to be working hard to fix it so that I’m not sitting in that confessional again with the same sin. It means taking that ownership and changing myself. This is perhaps some of the hardest work that we do in our lives – changing ourselves so that we can better receive God’s boundless love, so we can better share God’s boundless love with others.

It is not easy to do, but if I, a simple faithful Catholic, understand this repercussion, how much more should our leadership know this already? I am thankful for those who respond in humbleness, and I am wary of those who respond in confidence and, in the case of these letters being thrown around, vitriol. If there is no act of temperance accompanied, in some amount, there are red flags.

It is time for all of us to go to reconciliation, having taken a long, hard look at ourselves in the mirror, and dive into God’s grace. Because, friends, his grace is enough to own up to our consequences. His love is worth humbling ourselves and letting go of all we thought we knew. And life eternal with him is worth damaging our earthly pride so as to gain that life that will be forevermore. God is worth so much more than what this life provides. When we lose sight of this (which I admit is my tendency too) we fall into sin. Let’s keep it in check to minimize the damage we do. Reconciliation and penance for the salvation of not only our souls, but for the whole world.

Have mercy on us, O Lord.

Loving God through my family, friends, and interactions in my world.

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