[NOTE: The following is excerpted from a homily by Father Patrick R. Schultz delivered Aug. 19, 2018. It is transcribed and printed with his permission.]
It’s been so hard reading and watching the news over the past [several] weeks and days as we hear again the incredible abuse and negligence of churchmen from within the hierarchy; not just priests and bishops, but all the way up to cardinals, and my heart is just shattered — it’s just shattered — for the victims and their families, and for this Church that I love so much. I’ve spent many of my holy hours this week sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament, sitting in front of Jesus speechless; I’m not quite sure what to say to him or what to ask of him, other than, “Why?”
I’ve been really blessed by a number of people from this parish and around the diocese, a number of people who have reached out through emails and text messages, things like that, just to check in, to offer words of support, just to check in and see how I’m doing, how I’m processing, how priests of the diocese are doing, how we’re processing. And the honest to God truth is: it’s not been easy, it’s been a struggle…I’m angry, confused, hurt, I’m disgusted, heartbroken…I feel betrayed by brother priests, I feel betrayed by bishops. This is the first time since I was ordained a deacon in 2015 that, putting clerics on in the morning, going out, walking on the streets that I am very conscientious of what I’m wearing.
I was ordained in 2016, and entered the seminary in 2008, and I feel like my generation, my classmates and ordination class were ordained at a very interesting time, and formed during a very interesting time. Between these two lulls, it feels like we always had the abuse crisis hanging over our heads, we always had it in our minds, it was always part of conversation. We knew that we would be coming into a Church that was badly battered and wounded and desperately in need of healing. But this is the first time walking around as a priest that I … I feel it. I feel it.