Saturday, August 18, 2018

An Open Letter To Catholics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am noticing something missing in the USCCB response to the current Catholic sex scandal and bishops cover-ups. Perhaps they are not connecting the dots the same way I am.  Few are saying this is a homosexual predation problem (certainly, most of the bishops are not). And it is true: about 80% of the incidents were men abusing young men. But, many are saying that the problem is demonic. And indeed, when crucifixes, crosses and Christian images are used as part of the gruesome, blasphemous abuse by priests, this goes way beyond men needing selfish, gratuitous sexual stimulation. What we are seeing played out is Satan using God's innocent children to striking out at Him. Satan's calculated, merciless enmity with God is seen in this infinite and absolute malevolence.

Now, we are left with good priests and bishops stammering with shock as they discuss policies to prevent the impossible: stopping Satan from waging war with Christ's Church.

Yet, there is no policy, no canon law, (no matter how effective) that will slow down Satan's juggernaut of hatred for all that is good and innocent and pure. This is a spiritual battle that must be met with serious spiritual strategy.  And though the Catholic hierarchy must put in place policies that will expose and deal with abuse, their is literally no more the USCCB can do to force priests and bishops to love Christ.

Ground zero in this spiritual Armageddon 
is the rejection of the Holy Spirit. It is the sacraments vs. temptation and for some people temptation wins. So, how does a Church begin to go about stopping people from falling to temptation? Even the divine sacraments—where the priests daily live and breathe and become the Alter Christus during the mass—have failed to prevent some priests' fall to temptation. Of course priests would be ground zero for the spiritual war by Satan. Get to God through His Bride, the Church and its Alter Christus priests.

Just why in the last few decades priests and bishops especially fall prey to the Devil is beyond the scope of this letter. However, if we know who our enemy is, we can fight him. And it is of cosmic importance that we, Catholic laity, take responsibility for fighting for the church now.


Because Catholics need to clearly understand that this sin is much bigger than even the Catholic Church. And from what I have seen, even the clergy don't seem to grasp the bigger picture. (Perhaps they are in the first stages of denial.)

So what is the big picture?

It is our teaching that there is no such thing as a private sin. Scriptures tells us we all share in the sins of the Body of Christ, therefore we must all share in the shame and repentance.

Love of GodFirst and most importantly, the leadership's failure has led the entire Church into sin against God! We must be reconciled as a Body of Christ back to Christ.

Love of Neighbor
We are to be the light of the world! My God! Christ entrusted the gospel to us! He gave us the great saving commission of taking the good news to the world and this scandal has placed a massive gulf of distrust between the Catholic church and the Cross. As the Mother Church, our sins are being seen as fulfilling the New Testament prophecy of the Whore of Babylon! This scandal will effect the souls of Protestants and potential believers who will be kept from the life-giving sacraments.

We must become Church Militant and battle to prevent souls from being lost. The eternal casualties will come not only from Catholics leaving but our Protestants Brothers and Sisters in Christ! We cannot wait for the clergy to do it. We laity must lead and form the spiritual warriors. And I know, having come from among the most anti-Catholic Protestants, that there is hope. Protestants will see our love for Christ and their hearts will be softened against us when they see our public outcry and humble repentance. But they must see it.

And remember that it is not only for the Christians around the world at the moment, but this for Christians in the future! History will be watching us—2018 United States of America Catholics. Christians centuries from now will have a label for this time in history just as they have named other Church moments: Arianism. Donatism. Crusades. The Western Schism. Inquisition. Reformation.

Interestingly, last year was the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In 2518 the world will be remembering us as? Will it be the 500th anniversary of "The Catholic Sexual Predation" or will it be more like "Viva Cristo Rey"  This moment will go down in history as the worst scandal and shame of all Christian history when saints and heroes stepped up and stormed the gates of hell and prevailed.

What is our battle plan?

Serious prayer and fasting for the church. And serious, dedicated penance in behalf of our leaders. And for our Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ—to  heal the wound we have given them? Some of it must be public.

Let this be the year that Catholics all over the United States show our love and our sorrow and not just our anger. The media needs to cover us as we do medieval penitential processions.

Don't wait for your priest to lead this. The laity can do it. It doesn't matter if one person is kneeling and praying in public or ten thousand. The numbers may attract more attention (which is good) but the two-cents of almsgiving of one sincere person doing penance can be worth a hundred people coming and praying without sincerity.

This is a time of the Crucifixion of our Church. And we must accept our Cross and return it with love. We need to ask our Protestant neighbors, friends and family to forgive our church. And if necessary allow them to heap their anger upon us—responding with humble love. The surprise at our love for them may be just what we need for Christian unity.

So it is really our moment—you and I.  What are we going to do to make certain that in the following centuries this moment will not be recalled with the same horror as the word "Inquisition" but rather with the thoughts of great and heroic Catholic saints. Please, be the holy saints.


Susan Hembree said...

Hi Teresa. This is an excellent article to read on all this. I would highly recommend it.

There are so many wonderful priests, bishops and cardinals out there that I believe are accepting the backlash of all this with great strength and courage. I found Bishop Barron's advice to an entire roomful of priests excellent.

There have been scandalous behaviors of the authority in the past. One example is Pope Alexander VI, of the House of Borgias, who had more than 1 mistress and several children. He also loved the lavish lifestyle. His means for gathering wealth was what helped to lead to the Reformation. Yet, the Church continued on, because the Church, even under all the sinful nature of its membership, is being fully led by Christ. That is the reality of it, though it may not seem like it. The Church, from the beginning, has had to deal with scandalous behaviors. Look at those 1st apostles and what they did when Christ was led to His crucifixion. Yet, from His death and resurrection, there have been those who brought scandal to the Church and many, many, many more who have given their life for it. Who still do! That is where Christ is. That is where hope lies!

I have done so much thinking about all this over the years. I almost left the Church after finding out the bishop of a parish I attended in the late 90s allowed a priest, who had abused a boy, become an associate pastor. He was brought in from an out of state diocese. It was kept secret from the entire parish until a newspaper article revealed it. This priest was with this parish for 3 years during the time my son was a teenager. I couldn't believe the bishop could take a chance on my son like that. Though he told the parish the priest had been confirmed by mental health experts to being rehabilitated, I had a hard time understanding it at all and thought seriously of leaving the church. But, as I began to read and study, I came to realize that the Church is not made of perfect people, but is supported on a foundation of Him who is perfect. It doesn't excuse what these men have done. We do need to bring comfort to those who have suffered the most. We do have to be proactive in corrections for prevention. But we must maintain our faith, trust, and hope in Him, our king; that firm foundation. As the Bishop said, we must not nap, for napping leads to sin. We must keep focused on the struggle and be diligent in our actions in spreading the good news. Both in word and in deed.

This video, by convert Brian Holdsworth, sums up how we need to view this crisis quite nicely and why we need to continue to have faith in Christ's Church...

Let us continue our prayers, Teresa, and our faith and hope in our Lord, Jesus. May He bring His mercy down on us all. Thanks for reading what I wanted to say.

Teresa Beem said...

Amen! Thanks Susan!