Suffering in the Catholic Church

My friend and Catholics Come Home advisory board member Dr. Scott Hahn recently quoted Flannery O’Connor, who said: "You have to suffer as much from the Church as for it: the only thing that makes the Church endurable is that somehow it is the Body of Christ. And on this, we are fed." I want to first address the suffering we have experienced from the Church, since the horrific news recently broke regarding rampant sexual scandal among clergy. So many shepherds, who vowed to protect the flock and to serve as models of Jesus to the faithful, violated their sacred oath to God and to the Body of Christ, wounding countless innocent souls, negatively impacting Catholic credibility in our culture, and allowing evil to gain ground in the Church founded by Our Lord. Our hearts break for the victims, families, and sojourners of faith who will be forever gravely wounded by these unspeakable actions and crimes. What can we, the laity, do? Right now we weep and mourn, but we must also take action. It is with authentic humility, repentance, prayer, fasting, and a deeper pursuit of personal sanctity, that we can, as a Church family, continue to glorify our Heavenly Father and serve the most vulnerable in our society. Because, as Flannery O’Connor wrote, it is from this same suffering Church that we are fed. Our Church is in need of purification. As faithful Catholics we must support our true and holy priests, encouraging them – especially our pastors – to speak against the evil of sin that creeps into Holy Mother Church, as we all work toward the greater holiness necessary to fight secular relativism and a culture of death in the world around us.  Let us – the laity – implore God’s fatherly love and grace, unite our wills at every moment to His holy will, devote ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and develop a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, who will guide us toward the light of truth and the joy of heaven. In our moments of grief and despair over the evil that lurks low and high in the ranks of the Church, let us remember: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). Jesus is and always will be the Victor over all evil.  May the Lord have mercy on and guide His Church, where the Lord still and always remains present in the Holy Eucharist. May the flock be vigilant in prayer. May darkness be brought into the light. May we not leave Jesus and Peter because of Judas, but rather pray that more holy priests guide and lead the Church, while those men who do not represent Christ in their priesthood - who have hurt souls and taken advantage of innocent men, women, and children, either directly or by means of protecting, covering up, or showing apathy for these predators - be rooted out. May the Lord comfort and heal those who have been victimized. May truth and holiness be fully restored in the hearts of the shepherds for the salvation of souls and the glory of God.  For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Our Lady of Sorrows, intercede for us. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. All you holy saints of God, pray for us.  Tom Peterson Founder and President, Catholics Come Home


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