August 25, 2019 – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

I.  Those Struggling With the Church’s Sexual Abuse Crisis: I encourage you to read Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis, by Bishop Robert Barron. For me it is a wise and straightforward essay about the most painful episode in the history of the Catholic Church in our lifetime. It gives Catholics an historic perspective to the problem and a sensible response—stay in the Church and fight against forces from within and from without that aim to harm it. We fight best by knowing our faith and living it, keeping Jesus Christ at the center. 

      This letter is an honest synopsis of the treasure of Christianity which is held in “earth-en vessels” by the clergy and laity of all denominations. Humans, unfortunately, seem capable of corrupting even that which they wish to keep holy.  Bishop Baron gives a settling perspective on the current crisis with a call to action not despair. This letter draws from the Old (Jewish) and New (Christian) Testaments and our early Church history.  In the last chapter, he puts forth a plea for action from all levels of the Church.
      In this Letter to a Suffering Church, Bishop Barron, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, looks seriously at the current crisis through the lenses of Scripture and Church history. We have faced great scandals before; the spiritual treasures of the Church were preserved by holy men and women who were committed to their faith as Christ-centered. For those questioning their faith, searching desperately for encouragement and hope, this short booklet will offer reasons to stay within the Body of Christ, which has weathered many a storm throughout our history of twenty centuries. Please read the entire book—you must reach the end.

      You may pickup a copy at the doors of church. Read it, discuss it, pray about it. Feel free to give this booklet to someone you know who has left the Church because of this scandal. There is also a “discussion guide” which can be picked up at the office. In addition, I also ask that you continue praying for our Bishop and the priests of our Diocese. 

John Jay Researchers Summarize Clergy Sexual Abuse since 1950:  This comprehensive new report asks, “What more do we know in 2019?”

¨ incidents and reporting curves are stable. The peak of abuse in the USA was in 1974-1982, with abuse committed by 4.6% of diocesan priests and 2.7% of religious priests.

¨ the majority of victims—over 80%—were male adolescents.

¨ approximately half of the priests reported to have abused had a single known victim.

¨ a small fraction were persistent offenders, with success in avoiding detection, who were often valued by their community.

¨ most incidents of abuse were substantiated by the dioceses pre-2002, but now many cannot be substantiated, with a very small fraction (2%) found to be false.

¨ the results of studies that gathered data directly from victims as well as criminal justice sources are consistent with the results of studies based on diocesan data alone.

What I am FOR you terrifies me; What I am WITH you consoles me.

FOR you I am a priest;

WITH you I am a Christian.

The first is a duty accepted,

the second a grace received.

The former is a danger,

the latter, salvation.

Since it is a greater joy to me to be redeemed with you than to be placed over you, I shall, as the Lord commanded, be more

completely your servant.

Sentiments from Saint Augustine