From the Desk of Father Jim:
The announcement last week was a long time coming, and it has taken a toll on our bishop as you can see by watching the announcement on the diocesan website. Looking at the list of priests in the diocese with a substantiated allegation, there are some names that will be recognized after serving in this area. It is a time that calls for reflection and prayer, and a time of reparation. It is hopefully the beginning of a time of healing as well. Please pray for all involved in this scandal that has rocked and continues to rock our Church.
As Bishop Callahan noted, this disclosure is an important step. Just as when we go to individual confession, it is important that we name our sins. Shining the light of Christ upon our sin helps remove the power sin holds over us. Remaining in darkness only benefits Satan as he thrives in darkness, and make no mistake; Satan’s hand is all over this abuse scandal. Bishop Callahan also writes that this is a necessary step. Victims often state they feel no sense of justice, and this step helps to provide them with this. He concludes stating this is also a painful step; for victims as it reopens painful wounds and it is painful for the faithful laity and clergy who feel anger and humiliation for the sexual abuse and abuse of power committed by these men.
You can find the bishop’s letter and video of his announcement as well as a list of those with substantiated allegations on the diocesan website (www.diolc.org). These efforts are meant to be a way forward. Sin has been a part of the history of mankind since the dawn of time, and we are living in a time of heightened sexual abuse both within our Church and in Western society, which the ‘Me Too’ movement attests to. There is never anything that can justify any of this, but we need to do our best to acknowledge it and put into place protections so these things end. Again, we are steeped in sin, and it will never be totally eradicated, but we need to be honest and strive for perfection as we move forward, so this terrible part of our past is not a part of our future. With God’s grace and mercy we can overcome this as we have overcome many other failures in the history of our Church.