Crisis, accusation, and the revelation of sin has left a wake of sorrow and devastation in the Catholic Church over the last few weeks. Bill Donaghy and Christopher West have collaborated to write a short resource to guide us through these times. This resource intends not to fix the problems in the Church today, but rather forms a path ahead for believers who are a mixture of righteous anger, frustration, horror and hope for justice and conversion to happen in the hearts of our shepherds and in the broken structures of the Church. God of Justice, deliver us. Merciful Lord, heal us. Immaculate Mary, pray for us!
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[Guest post by Hudson Byblow]
I don’t know you. I’ll probably never even meet you. However, what you have chosen to do has seriously impacted my life. This isn’t some kind of victim story, but rather me telling you that your choice to do GOOD was the inspiration to ME to strive to live a holy and chaste life.
My story is rooted in escapism. All it took, however, was a few good men to be the reason why I wanted to step up my game and become a man instead of remaining a boy in a man’s body. A man does what is difficult, while a boy runs from it. A man pursues self-mastery while a boy justifies his attachments to the passions of the flesh. For many years as an “adult,” I was nothing more than a boy. I ran from woman to woman, and then from porn site to porn site trying to escape myself. I lived very unchastely for many years. Though I was wounded, it was my choice to remain in my wounds.
It was you guys, however, who radiated a peaceful confidence that I craved, which drew me towards what you were holding onto. And that was Jesus Christ, King of our Universe, The Restorer of man. And today, I strive to live not in my wounds, but in His. I’ve been renewed.
[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.
Of all the accounts of healing presented in the Gospels, this Sunday we hear one of the most visceral. It’s almost – no, it is – shocking in its physical intimacy. Jesus takes a deaf man with a speech impediment away from the crowd. Apparently, what was about to happen demanded privacy. He “put his finger into the man’s ears.” And if that weren’t enough, Jesus then spits and puts his finger in the man’s mouth, touching his tongue! I don’t know about you, but I’m not so fond of strangers probing my body like that. Who is this Jesus and what on earth is he doing?! He’s looking to heaven, he’s groaning, and he’s exclaiming, “Ephphatha!” which means, “Be opened!” He wants our bodies and our hearts to “be opened” … why? So he can enter. Yes. That’s Jesus’ deepest desire: to enter our bodies with his body, our hearts with his heart. It’s called Eucharist. And to be entered, to be filled by Christ with all the fullness of God (see Eph 3:19) – that’s the deepest desire of our hearts. It’s a spousal desire. It’s a spousal mystery. The Church is the Bride; Christ is the Bridegroom. If we want to be healed of our maladies; if we want to be filled with Infinite joy and love and life, we must “be opened.” As Pope Benedict XVI observed, this small word, ephphatha, “sums up in itself Christ’s entire mission” (Sep 9, 2012).