Pastor's Letter - August 26, 2018

Three weeks ago at Mass I devoted most of my homily to the grave scandal unleashed (again!) by the public revelation of the sexual misconduct and abuse by the former Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick. Then, shortly after this news, the Grand Jury from Pennsylvania published their report of sexual abuse and cover-up by priests and bishops in six dioceses over a period of 70 years. The sexual abuse of any person is a reprehensible act. But such an offense by a priest or bishop is even worse, as it is a sacrilege and the cause of the gravest scandal. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matt 18:6). I share with you the outrage, shame, anger, and sadness when hearing these reports. Such a response is right and just. But our response must be something more than that. Christ’s Body, His Church, has been wounded by Her own members. Those who wounded Her must repent and do penance. But whether they do or not, all of us are called to acts of reparation for these offenses against the innocent. “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.” (1 Cor. 12:26) In addition, the public news of such scurrilous conduct must not demoralize us; rather it must result in my resolve and yours to live a life which gives clear witness to our love of God and His people. Our responses should especially focus on those aspects of Christian life which were directly assaulted: sexual purity and honoring truth. Each of us, proper to his state in life, must renew his commitment, and seek those supernatural means of support, to embrace sexual chastity and to be truthful in all things.

Since the secular media generally covers these events poorly and incompletely, I recommend you seek out Catholic Press sources: EWTN TV, Relevant Radio, The National Catholic Register, and online, CNA (https:// www.catholicnewsagency.com), to name a few. Also, many bishops have come out with their own responses, among whom I especially recommend Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison (http://www.madisoncatholicherald.org) and Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland OR (https:// www.archdpdx.org). Please pray for our Bishop, William Callahan, for me your pastor, and for all the priests of the Diocese of La Crosse!