It is good to be back in the parish after my summer break. Last weekend, I spent most of my time watching the visit of Pope Francis to Dublin and the shrine at Knock on the TV. Sadly, the visit was over shadowed by the scandals, crimes of the past. However, there were some great moments of joy and happiness during his visit. Pope Francis received a great applause at the Mass in Phoenix Park as he named the abuse crimes of the Church in the Penitential Rite of the Mass and prayed for God’s forgiveness. He asked for forgiveness “for the times in the Church when we did not show survivors of whatever kind of abuse compassion. The seeking of justice needs concrete actions”.
Many of you will have read in the media about the sexual abuse by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington. This again has cast a black shadow over the Church in the USA. This week Bishop Philip has responded to the abuse crisis by
suggesting that the Pope convene an Extraordinary Synod in Rome in response to the world – wide phenomenon of clerical sex abuse.
Bishop Robert Barron of ’WORD on FIRE’ has shared his response in a video. He says many USA Catholics are so outraged that they are thinking of leaving the church. He implores us Catholics not to flee, but to fight — not violently with the weapons of the world, but rather with the weapons of the Spirit of God. He says we need you to pray and to continue to actively engage with the Church in this time of crisis. You can access this video by visiting https://www.wordonfire.org — he says that at the heart of the church is our belief in God and our relationship with Jesus Christ. This is primary, the institution of the Church is secondary and will change.
We are experiencing the power of evil at a time when the Church is trying to renew itself. I encourage all of you at this time of crisis to pray for the victims and to ask God’s forgiveness for our failures.