American Bishops to meet:
It goes without saying that the annual meeting of our American Bishops, beginning tomorrow in Baltimore, is likely one of the most crucial ever. Regardless of how we may feel about reports of past and present failures in handling the abuse crisis, and our anger and hurt is indeed justified, as a Catholic people we must remain united in compassion for victims, in a constructive search for solutions, and in solidarity with our Bishops as leaders of our faith communities.
At the present moment the Church has done a great deal of soul searching and concrete process of investigation and preparation of seminary candidates for future ministry. One of the things that may be lacking is to bring the information to the faithful as to just exactly how much has already been done, the success rate which has been great, and the present attitude of those men in seminary formation who see themselves as part of the solution. In the end, we all must work together. We are a family and when one part of a family is in crisis, out of love and mutual respect, we all join together to seek constructive solutions for the common good of all. Jesus prayed for unity among believers, all those who would be his disciples, and that is of course everyone of us.
Yes, our Bishops must be responsible for their leadership. There's no question about that. They must be held to the same standard of conduct that is expected of all the clergy. If resignation is the only solution, then so be it. The Church will continue. It is not our Church but Christ's. But the wounded humanity must be healed but to remain angry simply for its own sake is no solution.
I recently had one parishioner, a good and well meaning person, who's solution to the "problem" and suggestions for reform were extreme to say the least. Their solution was essentially the complete dismanteling of the entire Catholic tradition and structure. The upending of sacramental theology in favor of social and popular solutions: "All Bishops resign. Deacons and priests never speak about marriage since "they don't know what they're talking about." Ordain women as priests and bishops. The Church has never listened to women in 2,000 years," etc etc. Such extreme vision is not helpful at all to the solution but counter intuitive and in the end destructive.
Nonetheless, we must work and pray as ministers in Christ's Church. We're all in the same boat on the same Ocean. May the Holy Spirit guide us all to open minds, humble spirits, supportive and constructive solutions, and in the end may Charity be our guiding force. Peace.