Many of our Bishops in the United States have reflected wisely and well on the situation facing the Church in the United States concerning the sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy. The Pennsylvania Grand Jury report detailing incidents is just the latest in a sad and shameful story that is being told.
Expressing remorse and sorrow for the sins and actions of some of our clergy, our Bishops are well aware of the gravity of the situation and the need for reconciliation, healing and prayer at this time. Many voices, more so than even in 2002 when accusations of sexual misconduct on the part of some members of the clergy first became widely known, are present in the “blogosphere.” Everyone has a comment and everyone has an opinion.
What is missing from many of the blogs and articles is the element of the theological virtues. An awareness of the great theological virtues is necessary for a rational and reasonable response to the true horrors that we have become aware of over the past few weeks.
The theological virtues are faith, hope, and charity. In this troubling time, all three gifts of God are necessary for all believers.
First, faith. God is God, we are not, and thank God for that. This purification of sinners in the spotless, sinless Bride of Christ who is the Church is somehow part of God’s plan.
Second, hope. God has already won. Jesus knows the suffering of those who are so damaged and He loves them, opening His arms in an embrace of love for them.
Third and finally, charity: As Our Lord Jesus has opened His arms in that embrace of love and healing and protection for those hurt, so too must we who are animated by that same true faith in God and that same lively hope do the same. Only by opening ourselves to the great Theological Virtues of faith, hope, and charity can believers, both clerical, religious, and lay, begin to become agents of healing.
In an age of words and more words, before action, perhaps we can turn to the simple lessons we learn as youngsters. God knows the suffering and the victory is His. In this time of pain, we turn to Him.
Have faith, live in hope, and act in charity.