Friday, April 26, 2002

A Day Of Reparation Is Good

Let me join Veritas in saying that Emily Stimpson has it right: a day of reparation is a good thing and a thoroughly Catholic response to the current scandal. (See her three consecutive posts on the subject, the most recent linked here.)

Let's keep two things separate: (1) the culpability of some priests and bishops in this scandal and (2) the health and well-being of the Church. Remember, folks, the Chuch isn't just an institution. It's also the Body of Christ, and that means you are part of it. We may not be the ones responsible for the current scandal, but we certainly aren't sinless and need purification ourselves. More than that, though, we need to realize that we have a part to play in the recovery from this specific scandal and more generally in the life of the Church and the spread of the Gospel. If you don't think that is true, start reading the reflections on CFL to the left. So here's your chance to unite yourselves with the great saints and practice some self-sacrifice.

It's a shame some of our most prolific and most read Catholic bloggers seem to be missing the point. (I expressed my concern about this in an earlier post. Check out Minute Particulars' cautionary note on blogging too.) Maybe their emotions are getting the better of them. I don't know for sure. Some of their recent posts read more like screeds ripping a political party or club. It isn't the type of commentary I expect from a Catholic, especially those who endeavor to post things from a Catholic viewpoint. Yes, some of the bishops were clearly negligent. Yes, I would love it if they gave loud and booming mea culpas. Some seem unwilling to get past that. They post as if they are the gatekeepers of the bishops' contrition and will tell us when there has been enough. But as a Catholic, I cannot forget that I am still in the boat with them.

Again, the separation I proposed above. It is fine to call them like you see them when it comes to the bishops' actions or involvement. But let's not lead people to believe that just because they are laity they don't have a part to play in rededicating the Church to the mission of Christ. Many used to complain of the laity not having enough of a role in the Church. Now, the story seems to be, "You screwed this up, you fixed it! This isn't my fault!" Thank goodness God doesn't approach us that way and that our faith offers us something as powerful as the Communion of Saints. Most of us have been borrowing from that bank all our lives; maybe it's time we made a deposit.

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