I just got off the phone with the New York Times...
The reporter asked: “So what are Catholics thinking now -- in light of the McCarrick and Pennsylvania stories?”
What would you say?
I told her Catholics are in a state of shock, frustration, anger -- and sadness.
This morning, a dear friend of CV wrote to say she cried throughout morning mass. She reported that it was pouring rain outside the church, and she couldn’t help but think these were the tears of Our Lady on her feast day.
In some ways, today feels like coming home to find your house burglarized and ransacked. You feel violated and exploited. But in this case, we’re not talking about things, but persons. We’re forced to confront, once again, the widespread abuse of human souls by our purported leaders, in our own Church!
Only this time it feels worse.
Not only because things were supposedly “fixed” last time.
But also because many of the factors that contributed to this crisis have never been properly addressed.
Certainly a primary culprit has been the widespread dissent from Church teaching on human sexuality, beginning with Humanae Vitae50 years ago -- and the failure of Church leaders to defend these truths. And the extent of the rampant homosexual subculture among the clergy that has not been identified, rooted out, and destroyed. And the yearning for relevance and approval from the world, lest we be accused of being too “rigid” or judgmental.
We can no longer pretend that those willfully ignoring Church teaching on human sexuality, together with a cowardice and worldliness that masquerades as "pastoral outreach," has not contributed deeply to this crisis.
In truth, many of the newly-revealed cases of abuse occurred decades ago. But McCarrick’s promotion through the ranks of the U.S. Church occurred after his misdeeds were known to many. And new evidence shows that many current bishops, even Cardinals, participated in cover ups and failed to take quick and decisive action against abusive priests. At least some, in the case of McCarrick, were predators themselves.
This may be one of the darkest moments in the Church’s 2,000 year history. But Church history also shows us the way forward.
We either shrug again at the perversion and leaders who have failed us, or we lay people roll up our sleeves and get to work rebuilding our Church -- no matter the cost.
CatholicVote is taking the latter course and I urge you to stand with us. We’re going to fight with everything we have to confront our bishops and demand that they clean house. It will require public criticisms, difficult conversations, and even demands that many resign or face time in prison.
It won’t be comfortable, but it will be necessary.
And we’re going to rally faithful Catholics to join us in this work. As lay people, we can make our voices heard at the chanceries and even the Vatican. Together we can demand justice and reform with our movement that now numbers over 500,000 strong and growing. And we will refuse to go away until we have proof of real reform.
At the same time we will not lose focus on our primary mission. Especially because our work in politics is related to the crisis in the Church. We’re going to demand even more of our elected representatives. No more “personally opposed” Catholics. No more nonsense equating policy disagreements over net neutrality and the Paris Climate Accord to the murder of millions of innocent human lives.
Follow Church teaching. We know where it leads when we don’t.
Protect the innocent unborn.
Stand up for the integrity of the family.
Defend religious liberty.
Hold leaders accountable.
And when burdened with despair and hopelessness, we must cling to the example of St. Peter. After seeing His followers leave Him when He gave His first instruction on the Eucharist, Our Lord asked:
“Will you also leave?”
Peter looked Him in the eyes and said:
“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life.”