News coverage of the past several months has led many to focus on the despicable scandals of priests in our own neighborhoods, our country and around the world, and the erroneous efforts of church authorities in addressing the misdeeds. While these crimes cry out for justice, they do not represent what the Catholic Church teaches, represents, offers and promises.
When a government official is found to be corrupt, do we immediately seek to eliminate the office of that individual? Or, do we further make the assumption that all political figures are unscrupulous? Is that the way we address errors in American society? To do so would be to deny that for which so many in our land have given their lives: “a government of the people, by the people and for the people.” (Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address)
The Catholic Church has a longer history than this model nation of ours. Its members may wish to borrow a phrase from American ideology: “These colors don’t run.” Have we forgotten who the real enemy is, namely the powers of darkness, hatred and evil? Church offenders, their sins now brought to light, are offered the same mercy entitled to all who repent of their wrongs – those reported in the newspapers and those which will never receive notoriety because they’re committed every day by people like you and me.
It’s time to rebuild. I know that task begins with working out injustices within my own life, certain that I’m in no position to “cast the first stone.”