As we have watched the new and deeply troubling revelations of sexual abuse and cover up of crimes by leaders and high ranking officials of the Church, we have all hoped for and needed some word from Pope Francis. This past Monday he released a powerful letter addressed to all Catholics throughout the world. I am sure that some of you have read this message from our Holy Father online, but I wanted to make it available to anyone who is interested.
At the exits of the church this weekend are hard copies of the letter for those who would like to take it home to read for themselves. You can also read it by clicking on the link above.
Other than expressing my own sadness and anger at these revelations, I am not sure what to say at this point. This situation is absolutely inexcusable, and those who are guilty should be removed from ministry. This includes those who have perpetuated the abuse and those who enabled or covered up their crimes.
Some have stated that they are considering leaving the Church over this, and I certainly understand that. But I ask that you remember that the Church is not primarily the priests or the bishops or even the Pope. It is primarily the laity. This is your Church, and in this time of crisis, I beg of you to claim it more firmly than ever before. Insist that your leaders deal with this effectively and transparently, and insist that laity be intimately involved in the solution.
Pray for your Church and for your priests and bishops, especially those who have not abused anyone or covered up the crimes of others. It is still only a small percentage of priests (less than 5 percent) who are the guilty ones. The vast majority of your priests are good, celibate and dedicated shepherds of God’s people.
If any of you wish to speak to me about these matters, please contact me.
Fr. Mike Comer