I want to encourage Catholics who are sorely disturbed by the abuse scandal and are tempted to give up their faith to look at history and see how the church has risen to the challenge to cleanse itself of countless sins against dogma, and morality.
There is a rich history of saintly people who worked tirelessly to set things right. Orders of women and men were formed expressly for the purpose of renewing the church.
One saint stands out for her heroic efforts at reform: Catherine of Siena. She especially scolded popes.
In all of this, reliance on the holy spirit is paramount. This is especially why Jesus bestowed the holy spirit upon the life of the church.
We should think of the apostles who in the midst of their doubts, weaknesses and misgivings could only say to Jesus: where else can we go, what else can we do, you have the words of eternal life.
Like the apostles, we need Jesus, we need the church, sinful as she is, to be that channel of grace to get us to our heavenly reward.
As a church we should never forget the past because it can guide and inspire us through the saintly witness of men and women, clergy and laity. To stay Catholic like them, we should abide by those Latin words: semper reformata, semper reformanda: always reformed, always reforming. Simply have faith and God will do the rest.
The Rev. David Griffin