Sadness in the Church
I remember hearing everything in the news on a Tuesday evening about the cover ups in the Catholic Church and, even worse, in my very own home state of Pennsylvania. Priests who my friends and family knew and priests who married family members were on that list of predators. I couldn’t believe it. I knew it was a problem in the Church but I had absolutely no idea what the extent was. And this was JUST in Pennsylvania and only the reported cases.
I went to Mass the next day since it was a holy day of obligation, even though I was feeling confused, sad, overwhelmed, sickened, numb, and betrayed. If I’m being honest, that was the last place I wanted to go after hearing such awful news not even 24 hours prior. But I still felt drawn. What was calling me there? How on earth could the Church let this happen? How could these “leaders” we’ve trusted our souls with, these “godly” men, do this?
My Body Given for You
I was asking these questions in my heart with tears running down my face as I kneeled there staring at the tabernacle before Mass began. I knew my Lord was right there but I couldn’t understand how this evil could enter into His Church! And then suddenly the Holy Spirit interrupted my thoughts with the words: “The heart of My Church is still pure. My Body given for you is still pure.” There was no way this could have come from my own mind because of the state of sadness and anger I was in. The sudden shift in thought made me fully aware that it was the work of the Holy Spirit.
THIS is what was drawing me there! HE was still there!
When I was wanting to hide the fact that I was Catholic at the beginning of the day, this interruption (or blessing, I should call it) immediately made me want to cling to my Church more than anything, to protect it. In this deep meditation, a very vivid image came to my mind of me as a child clutching to a mother figure, wrapping my arms around her legs and holding tight. I was NOT going to let go!
Our parish pastor, Fr. Larry Richards, began Mass and while he is usually extremely upbeat with his homilies, he was completely different this time. He had such sadness in his eyes and no personality in his voice. You could tell it was truly hurting him to be there and it was really difficult to watch that. I hurt for him. This priest is one of many who truly is holy, who does what he vowed he would do for God when he was ordained. But now priests like him were getting attacked verbally and even physically across the country after this report came out. All it takes is for one bad one to ruin it for everyone else and this time there was a crushing number of 300+ bad ones. I have no doubt it made the holy priests feeling like they were gasping for air.
Leave the Church?
Even though I felt incredibly hurt and betrayed, I never once felt betrayed by the Church. I never once felt the desire to leave it. This awful attack on our Church only made me want to be closer to Her even more. Many people are so sickened by these events (and rightfully so!) that they are leaving the Church. But it is not Christ’s Church who attacked these poor victims.
Then the words Jesus spoke came to mind:
“Do you also want to leave?” (John 6:67, NABRE)
The Holy Spirit reminded me of Peter’s comforting words in response to Jesus’ question:
“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68, NABRE)
The Power of Prayer!
To my fellow Catholics, let us cling to our Mother and not abandon Her when She needs us the most! And to my non-Catholic readers, please pray for the Catholic Church, that these bad weeds are pulled from it and we can end the awful abuse that has taken place. We need good, holy religious men and women and lay people to protect what Jesus began in that Upper Room 2,000 years ago. Satan is going to do whatever he possibly can to rip us apart and make the Church collapse, but with Jesus at the core — the Eucharist — we have a strength the devil will NEVER match!
What do you think we can do to preserve this Church that Christ began? What are steps we can take protect our children, help the victims, and purify our Church?
Copyright 2020 Elaine Sinnott