Don’t Despair: Hope Is Found in Church’s Faithful, a Rock-Solid Stratum, by Dr. Janet E. Smith

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Young people pray for the synod on young people, faith and vocational discernment during Eucharistic adoration at the Centro San Lorenzo in Rome on Oct. 11, 2018. (Daniel Ibáñez/CNA)

COMMENTARY: There is a segment of Catholicism that is virtually immovable in their commitment to the faith.

By Janet E. Smith, National Catholic Register, 11/12/19

Janet E. Smith, Ph.D., is a moral theologian, recently retired from Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit.

When I was teaching at the University of Dallas, sometime in the mid-1990s, it hit me that I was now teaching a very different kind of student, the likes of which I had not seen before.

For years, I felt like I was laboriously pulling students up a steep incline to truths they had only barely glimpsed, but I now I was in front of students who had been home-schooled or shaped by one of the Church movements, and I began hoping they, who were passionately in love with the Truth, wouldn’t leave me too far behind. Friends teaching at other faithful Catholic institutions were having the same experience.

For a few decades now I have been rather buoyantly hopeful about the direction of the Church. What riches it now has: the Catechism, the writings of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, strong Catholic media, reformed Catholic colleges, a vigorous home-schooling movement, rigorous new Catholic schools, orthodox publishing companies, renewed seminaries — the list goes on.

And then the McCarrick scandal hit, followed by an explosive aftermath that has been exposing the corruption in the Church. It’s not just the abuse of minors, but the abuse of seminarians, the double lives of so many priests and bishops, the embezzlement and misuse of funds — and the cover-up, the cover-up, the cover-up. So many of us have been plunged into near despair as we realized the extent of the corruption — piled high, deep and wide.

When Pope Francis was elected pope, the expectation was that he was chosen to clean up the “filth” in the Church — a filth that had reportedly driven the frail Pope Benedict into retirement. But whatever plans Pope Francis may have for dealing with the filth in the Church, more and more is being exposed nearly every day.  ….