Dear brothers and sisters,
This is a time of widespread shaking in the Catholic Church. Not of persecution and imprisonment for the faith, as is the case in some nations. Rather, it is the revelations of homosexual activity among clergy, abuse in seminaries and parishes, pedophilia, and sinful cover-ups at the highest levels by some diocesan leadership*. These continuing revelations have left many laity and clergy angry, sorrowful, ashamed, and confused.
What shall we do?
The author of Hebrews exhorts us:
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." Hebrews 10:23-25
Here are a few things we can do as we walk through this storm together.
"He who promised is faithful."
First, turn to Jesus.
Cling to the Lord. Treasure Him in your heart. Every member of the Church is called to ongoing repentance and personal surrender to Jesus as Lord. He founded the Church. He continues to give us his Body and Blood. He gives us faithful brothers and sisters to walk with during times of trials. Turn to Jesus.
"Consider how to stir one another up to love and good works."
Second, help one another to stand firm in love and good works.
The Lord wants us to keep doing what we are always called to do—namely growing in loving God and our neighbors. We must continue to be witnesses of God’s merciful love in this season of the Church.
One of the ways we do good works is by offering prayers for healing of the abused, and reparation of the sins of those who perpetrated these evils. This week Fr. Erik Arnold's parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, held an evening of Adoration with prayer for the victims of abuse and reparation for the sins of those involved with the abuse. If your church or diocese isn’t hosting a public event, you can do this during your own personal holy hour or with your family or small group.
"Do not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some."
Third, keep going to church and stay rooted in Christian community.
The temptation is to drop out of the race, which we are called to run together. Some will say: "I'll just go it alone, Jesus and me." But we need one another precisely at times like this. The devil always tempts us in times of trial and sin to go off on our own. He wants to divide and isolate us. It's the way a predator animal goes after its prey; like a wolf trying to drive a sheep off by itself for the kill. We need one another.
"Encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
Finally, encourage one another.
Throughout the history of the Church there have been times of severe testing. Even today, brothers and sisters are imprisoned and martyred for their faith in Christ. In times of testing, Christians are reminded of the importance of encouraging one another, of imparting courage to one another. Please don't forget to encourage your priests and bishops who are living godly lives.
The Lord is with us in this time, and we pray that this would be a time of purification, repentance, and reform. May He continue to grant us grace to stay close to Him, to encourage one another, and bring many to know His saving love.
who "shares with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance" (Revelation 1:8)
* For further reading and insight
I encourage you to read an article by Msgr. Charles Pope entitled "Active Homosexuality in the Priesthood Helped Cause This Crisis," which sheds important light on roots of the present crisis.