All of us have felt the pain of the “works of darkness” which have once again come to light in our Church. Just when it seemed like locally the clouds were beginning to part as the archdiocese’s bankruptcy was coming to an end, the clouds descended again. We were horrified by the terrible stories of abuse in Pennsylvania and the widespread corruption that seems to surround the life of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Now the accusations of cover-up have enveloped the Holy Father himself. I know many of you, like me, have felt shaken and overwhelmed.
Although the feelings of anger, hurt and discouragement are justified and need to be acknowledged, we also need to remember how God works. God always brings good out of evil. The truth is that the clouds always seem darkest when the light shines on them, and the only way the healing of this cancer of sexual immorality in our Church can ever come is through the light shining on it. For too long the shame of sexual abuse in our Church has been carried in the dark and alone by victims/survivors. Now it is time for all of us in the Church to carry it, perhaps especially her clergy and, most especially, her bishops. I willingly stand in the darkness of this shame because I want the healing of victims and the purification of the Church. I believe that this shame coming into the light is a great good, because I want the Church to face her own darkness so that she can heal.
Of course we need practical reform in the Church, especially to create structures of accountability for bishops, whether for allegations of their own sexual immorality or their failure to act appropriately in response to allegations against others. As I have stated elsewhere, I think that there needs to be independent lay-led means developed to investigate these issues and review them. But we also need holiness, which always comes through repentance and spiritual purification. Only when we repent for our sins, and do the penance necessary to heal the wounds, can new life come.
Read more at the Catholic Spirit.