The First Stage of Grief is Anger & Blame…

Grief 02

Ten days ago (20th Sunday of Ordinary Time), I responded to the new allegations of sexual abuse by Cardinal McCarrick and of over three hundred priests in Pennsylvania in my homily. On that Sunday, we heard Jesus talk about eating his body and drinking his blood to have eternal life.

Priests, bishops, and cardinals all received the Body and Blood of Christ. The victims of sexual abuse received the Body and Blood of Christ. And we ourselves receive the Body and Blood of Christ. What changes besides the bread and wine?

I believe it crucial to explore the mystery of human resistance to transformation by the Eucharist, much less all the sacraments. Indeed, ex opere operato means that sacraments give grace. It’s the challenge of ex opere operantis – the reception of the sacraments – that seems to be the unexplored land.

National Review Board: Change in church’s culture needed to end abuse (NCR)

     WASHINGTON — More committees are not the answer to stop the abuse of children and vulnerable adults by clergy, said an Aug. 28 statement by the National Review Board, which is charged with addressing clerical sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church.

     “What needs to happen is a genuine change in the church’s culture, specifically among the bishops themselves,” the board said. “This evil has resulted from a loss of moral leadership and an abuse of power that led to a culture of silence that enabled these incidents to occur…”

The NRB’s recommendation is necessary. Archbishop DiNardo’s recommendation is solid. The Vatican and the USCCB must work together to bring to the Light the inner workings of the clerical culture to which I belong. However, this will not change clerical culture.

It doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t implicate you and me, whose silence in the face of so many other abuses – among those, sexual in nature – is deafening. Yet, many of us will still go to Mass on Sunday and receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Who changes? Really?

 

What is it about our compulsions that appear to persist quite untouched by Grace?

What is about shame, guilt, and remorse that seem to fend off Christ’s love?

What is it about fear, anxiety, and worry that makes little or no room for Christ?

What is it about the enticement of rage, grudges, and old hurts that resists Christ’s mercy for self and others?

Indeed, the first stage of grief is anger and blame.

Hopefully, weeping and clarity follow.

 

FYI: What you read above is my personal opinion.

They do not in any way reflect the stance of the Upper Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus, its ministries, or members. 8/29/18

 

2 Comments

  1. Theresa Mahoney says:

    Thank you for addressing this painful subject father Roc. We appreciate your candor. Tuesday our parish at St. Mads will be gathering together for a listening, sharing, hopefully some healing time.

    Like

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