The Bishop of My Diocese Finally Speaks

The Bishop of My Diocese Finally Speaks August 17, 2018

On Wednesday, I called my diocese’s headquarters and asked when a statement about the latest abuse crisis would be issued by our bishop, but the person I spoke to in the communications office could only tell me that one was in the works; he did not know when it would be released.

As it turns out, the statement was issued this morning. I have mixed feelings about it. Quite frankly, I had hoped for better.

It starts out with the words we are all sick of hearing from the bishops:

We write you this day to express our own deep level of sadness…

Yes. We know. You’re all very sad.

…and anger…

Well, that’s a little bit better.

…about the recent revelations surrounding Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and the newly released Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. These shameful and evil actions have harmed many innocent people, especially the young; and they are utterly inexcusable.

Okay, but a little vague as to what actions he’s talking about. The abuse itself, and/or the cover-up perpetuated by the bishops and cardinals (and, for all we know, the Pope as well)?

This has also caused great pain, confusion and dismay among us all — laity, religious and clergy — who remain committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are sorry that you have had to endure this anguish.

Thanks for that, I guess.

We support the recent announcement by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, of a new plan that will involve laity, experts, and the Vatican to provide the strongest protection possible against predators in the Church and anyone who would conceal them. We welcome these efforts and renew our own commitments to do all we can to protect young people and others who are vulnerable, and to bring healing to those who have been abused.

Okay… but… go back. What did you know? Did you know anything about McCarrick? About any of this? What is your involvement?

I’ve looked at BishopAccountability.org and I don’t see any major red flags of incidents during Bishop Olmsted’s tenure (but hoo boy, Bishop O’Brien’s tenure, which was before my time here, was apparently mostly a dumpster fire).

But still, McCarrick’s behavior was apparently an open secret. What did you know, and if you knew something, what did you do about it? If you didn’t do anything, why not?

Anyway, the next paragraph of the statement goes on to describe the new systems and safeguards that are being put in place, to which I respond: “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

And finally:

During this dark and painful time, there is also a strong need to look to the light and healing of Jesus. Since our Lord told us that some evils can only be driven out by prayer and fasting, we invite you, as your shepherds, to join us in prayer, fasting and sacrifice for the purification of our Church. In particular, we ask that all priests, deacons, men and women in consecrated life and the lay faithful join together in fasting and prayer on August 22, the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and August 29, the Passion of St. John the Baptist. May Our Lady’s motherly care and powerful intercession bring the light of her Son to our hurting Church.

Well, prayer and fasting is always a good idea. And I’m glad they said to “join them” in prayer, fasting, and sacrifice instead of just telling the laity to do so.

I’m doing a social media fast this weekend (Friday-Sunday), and praying the following Chaplet of Reparation for the sins of priests (and bishops):

Offering of the Precious Blood for Priests
This chaplet of reparation and intercession is meant to be prayed on an ordinary five decade rosary.
Incline (+) unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Alleluia. (After Septuagesima: Praise be to Thee, O Lord, King of eternal glory.)
On the Our Father beads:
Eternal Father, I offer Thee
the Precious Blood of Thy Beloved Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Lamb without blemish or spot (1 Peter 1:19)
in reparation for my sins
and for the sins of all Thy priests.

On the Hail Mary beads:
By Thy Precious Blood, O Jesus, purify and sanctify Thy priests.
In place of the Glory be to the Father:
O Father, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named (Ephesians 3:14), have mercy on all Thy priests, and wash them in the Blood of the Lamb.
Amen.
Image credit: By Killiman [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
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