Pastor's Letter - March 3, 2019

Last Sunday, I preached on the grave challenge to our Church today because of the sexual misconduct of some of the clergy over the past 50 years or so and the failure of the bishops to respond decisively, justly, and openly to such sinful misconduct. Though the corruption of the Faith is more evident among the clergy, the renewal of the Church must come about through both clergy and the lay faithful. The laity can not wait until we priests and bishops get our act together! All must strive, with God’s Grace, to live chastely according to one’s state in life. The married in chaste fidelity to one’s spouse; the unmarried preserving their purity by a life of sexual continence; and the clergy, having pledged ourselves to celibacy, to live also in sexual continence. God calls us to holiness. And although holiness cannot be reduced only to chastity, one cannot become holy without it.

I wish to close by quoting Msgr. Charles Pope, who writes for the National Catholic Register. This comes from his analysis of the just concluded summit in Rome on sexual abuse by clergy. I make his words my own: “In the days and weeks to come, we will see whether there will be a fiery response from the faithful or, as some Church leaders seem to hope, the storm just blows over. I would ask any Church leader who is so hoping to ponder the sound of church doors and consider the likelihood that they will be opening more as people exit than as they enter. Lying low and waiting for the storm to pass ignores the damage it leaves behind — the victims, to be sure, but also a dispirited laity who no longer find credibility in many of their leaders.

“Simply advising God’s people not to leave Jesus just because of a few Judases does not remove the obligation of us who lead the Church to preach the truth boldly, refute error, and discipline those who dissent or stub- bornly persist in sin. God will hold us accountable one day for the ministry He has given us. Collectively, we clergy have too often failed God’s people. We’ve put them in a very difficult position. It is a tribute to many of them that they have persevered for so long. They have learned to look beyond our human faults and still find Christ—but we shouldn’t make it so hard for them to do so.

“Help us, Lord. Save us. Have mercy on us, and keep us all by your grace!” (25 Feb. 2019, NC Register)

May God bless you! Fr. Schaller