I guess maybe I am hoping that if I write something about this, it will be a bit therapeutic--because right now, I am still reeling from all the horrible news that has come out recently about sexual abuse of minors and even seminarians in the Catholic Church.
Although of course the abuse of children is the worst, on some level, the abuse of seminarians by a Prince of the Church shocks me even more. Everyone I have spoken to about this, even priests, are as horrified as I am, that someone who many people knew was engaging in ongoing sexual sin, could possibly have made it to the top of the hierarchy: an Archbishop, and then a Cardinal!
Has he no fear of God? Does he even believe in God? And what about those who knew, and did nothing to stop him? I certainly understand falling into sin, because I was a very egregious sinner myself before I became Catholic--and of course I still sin every day, although not on the level I once did (mortal sin). But when one falls hard, as McCarrick apparently did, what you do, if you care about having a holy life, is you go to Confession and you try with all your strength to stop doing whatever evil thing you were doing. Did he even go to Confession? I can't imagine that he did, to be honest.
Despite all this horror, while I was talking to God about this the other night, I had this strong, clear sense, that somehow, this is going to bring about a "new Spring" in the Church--that people who are disgusted and horrified will want to become witnesses to the power of Christ in their lives, and many will flock to the priesthood and religious Orders in numbers we have not seen for decades. Those of us who love Jesus and are free to do so will, I believe, be moved to offer our lives to make the Church more holy by our own holiness of life, lived within the structure of the Catholic Church.
Years ago, when I was working in the Library at the University of West Georgia, we had a lot of nasty, toxic people working there. One year, I had the idea of making a list of the entire staff, putting them into categories of Good, Mediocre and Bad. The first time I did this, there was a preponderance of names in the Mediocre and Bad categories, but I often had some input into hiring, and I tried as hard as I could to find people to work for us who were Good--hard-working and competent, to be sure, but mainly kind and compassionate people.
Each Fall as the academic year began, I made my list over again, and the numbers gradually began to shift as some of the Bad and Mediocre people left, and were replaced with Good people--until finally, after several years, the number of Good and Mediocre employees outnumbered the Bad. And, the morale and general atmosphere of the Library had definitely become better in a subtle way that I could not quantify, but which I could feel.
I believe this same thing can happen in the Catholic Church, as Bad and Mediocre leaders die off or are removed from the clerical state, and are replaced with Good ones. It will take decades, but I truly believe it can happen, and that it will happen. I even have the temerity to believe that the fact that I am being allowed by God to re-enter religious life now, at my advanced age, is because of this: with God's help, I am determined to lead a life of great holiness!
I am praying for that: that I will receive the grace to be a good witness to Christ and spread His Love, and that all those who are not too discouraged, and who love the Church too much to leave, are praying for the renewal of the Church also. A lot of bad things have been done in the name of the Catholic Church, but many more good things have been done and are being done every day--but we mostly hear about the bad, because that is what the media thrive on. May God grant our prayers! +