Responding to a Church in Crisis

Korb,_Erzsébet_-_Pieta_(ca_1923)
Erzsébet Korb, Pietà / PD-US

As faithful Catholics who are shocked, saddened, and heartbroken over the recent scandals within the heart of our Church, we are called to step up and be the solution, to challenge the Church to rise up to her sacred calling. Now is the time for prayer and fasting. We will expect from the Church a higher standard, and we will start by being saints. The purification of the Church will begin with the purification of our own souls, by a deep desire for holiness and purity throughout every aspect of our lives. Jesus and Mary weep alongside us at these crimes.

Many of the items listed below have been compiled from other similar calls to action from faithful Catholics around the web. These three in particular are great resources:

What Can *WE* Do About the Abuse Crisis?: Haley Stewart at Carrots for Michaelmas

7 Practical First Steps We Must Take: Elizabeth Scalia for Word on Fire

What’s a Faithful Catholic to Do?: Jenny Uebbing for CNA

I’d also recommend watching Fr. Mike Schmitz’s take on all this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdR8eyaDCHg

So how can we respond to this crisis? What practical things can we do?

Speak Up

  • Write to your bishop and to the head of the USCCB. Here’s an example of a letter to a bishop. In particular, ask for independent investigators as the grand jury report made clear that we cannot leave matters up to the bishops. They have failed.
  • The Siena Project offers templates for writing letters to bishops. Its mission “is to make it easy for any member of the Catholic faithful to send letters urging our bishops to enact meaningful reforms in light of recent revelations of grievous abuses in the Catholic Church.”
  • Appeal to the Holy Father. You can contact him via email at av@pccs.va. Request that Pope Francis appoint an investigator, and that this appointee create commissions to examine the realities of how and where our leadership have sinned, and that those commissions be led by faithful and agenda-free lay people of varying gifts, from canon lawyers to insightful moms and dads, for the sake of transparency.
  • If you are concerned about your family’s safety in your own diocese, you can find a list of priests and religious accused of sexual misconduct here. If these priests are still active in your parish of diocese, call and ask for their resignation. Ask your friends and family to do the same.
  • You can contact the Archdiocese of Washington if you desire to ask for the resignation of Cardinal Wuerl.
  • Personally, I was grateful to hear this crisis addressed this week at Mass—during the homily, the priest acknowledged the terrible events in the news, made no excuses for the priests and bishops involved, and expressed his own grief over such sickening abuses. However, I know many who have said their pastors have not mentioned it at all—giving the impression that they hope it will just blow over. If your priest has not spoken about the crisis yet, you may want to talk to him or write to him. Here is an example of such a letter.
  • Start a dialogue in your own community about what needs to be done to purify the Church. Allow others to express their feelings of anger and betrayal. Grieve together. Listen to those who are being ignored and be a voice advocating for them.

Pray

Fast


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