The Catholic Church Needs Purification, Renewal and Restoration to Rise to a New Missionary Moment
when forced on a child by one in a position of power - particularly by a priest, bishop or deacon- is an act of evil in its most heinous form. It constitutes a spiritual plundering and the attempt to destroy a soul. It is also, and rightly so, criminal - and should be prosecuted.
Not speaking the truth is never compassionate. Those who struggle with homosexual temptations need to hear this truth as well. There is hope and forgiveness for everyone in the Lord. His Church presents the way and provides the pastoral resources for people who struggle with homosexual temptation and orientation to find freedom and fulfillment.
However, they must listen to the Church, not to those who purport to speak in her name and then tell them lies. What the Catholic Church teaches on this subject is true. The egregious nature of the sexual behavior and abuse among a small minority of clergy is clear to anyone who accepts the unbroken teaching of the Catholic Church. That teaching will not change because it cannot change.
The exposure of sexual sin among Catholic clergy is not accidental in its timing. It is a part of a time of purification. This is not the first time in our history as a Church that clergy reform accompanied a time of restoration. The words of the Lord in the Gospel of Mark come to mind as I write on this subject, "For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open" (Mark 4:22).
There have been other times in the history of the Church when the clergy have been corrupted. God always begins His Spring cleaning in His own house. As the Apostle Peter wrote to the Church of the first millennium during another great missionary age: "the time has come for judgment to begin with the House of God." (1 Peter 4:17)
Every man, woman and child ever created is called to live in that House. We must make it a place where they can truly find redemption, rest and safety; and discover the fullness of their destiny in Jesus Christ. The perpetrators of these abuses must be stopped and face the consequences of their acts. There is mercy for them. However, it is on the other side of justice for the victims and housecleaning for the Church. They know that they have sinned and hiding will not free them from the bondage.
The victims must be helped with healing and restitution. The Church must be purified if she hopes to rise to the challenge of her missionary task in this Third Christian Millennium. That means that her clergy - Priests, Bishops and Deacons - must all be holy as the Lord Himself is holy.
If the Church is going to lead this contemporary age out of the Culture of Death, she must become a Culture of Life and a civilization of love. Her clergy must be men who love, live and serve as the One who founded this Church loved, lived and served.
The Catholic Church is poised for a new missionary age. She needs Purification, Renewal and Restoration to Rise to the Moment. On the day of the Pope's resignation, lightning struck the Vatican. I do not intend to join the sensationalist reports which speculated concerning the incident.
However, if that lightning symbolizes exposing what needs to be exposed so that the Church can be purified for her irreplaceable mission, I say, bring it on.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: purification, sexual abuse scandal, catholic church, clergy abuse, Cardinal Mahoney, Conclave, New pope, Pope Benedict XVI, purification, renewal, Catholic Church crisis, clergy sex abuse, Pope benedict XVI, Deacon Keith Fournier
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