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Dr. James Tonkowich, a senior contributor, The Stream, August 8, 2019

Jim TonkowichAncient Jewish scribes counted every letter and every word of their manuscripts. Thus they knew the exact center of every book of the Bible and gave special consideration to whatever was there.

Canto 17, line 70 of Dante’s Purgatorio is the exact center of the Divine Comedy. There Dante stands on the terrace of the slothful, halfway up Mount Purgatory. He is halfway through the journey from “that wilderness so savage, dense, and harsh” to the beatific vision when exhaustion can bring on sloth in the pilgrim (and in the reader).

I thought of all this as I got to the middle of Bishop Robert Barron’s Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis.

“This book,” writes Barron, “is a cri de cœur, a cry from the heart. … The sexual abuse scandal has been for me, for millions of other Catholics, and especially for the victim-survivors, lacerating.” Many, he notes, have left the Catholic Church. Some have gone to other churches. Others — perhaps the majority — simply left.

Others of us stay on with “frustration, anguish, and fury” that Barron notes “are grounded in a deep love for the Church and what it stands for.” ….

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