Future Priests Forge Ahead: Seminarians Say Lessons From Scandals Bolster Hope, Faith, by Stephen BealeFebruary 20, 2020
Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky: Coming Out of the ClosetFebruary 20, 2020
By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, Feb 19, 2020
Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.
With Ash Wednesday just one short week away, I have been thinking about the need for repentance: not just my own need (which is great), but the need of the whole universal Church. For all of us, acutely conscious of the scandals within the Church, Lent is a good time to recall the words of St. Peter to religious leaders who had betrayed the Messiah: “Repent, therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” [Acts 3:19]
When I refer to the scandals in the Church, I do not mean only the sex-abuse scandal (although that would be bad enough). Nor do I mean only the financial scandals (although today’s news from Rome brings another harbinger of ugly stories what will eventually explode). Nor do I mean only the scandals of episcopal malfeasance and misfeasance (about which the reminders are constant). Over and above these problems, I am thinking of the scandal of a shrinking Catholic Church.
We—all of us, all the baptized—have been charged by the Lord to preach the Gospel to all nations. But instead of spreading the faith, we are watching its decay. In societies that were once solidly Catholic, old parish churches are closing. Even where the churches remain open, young people are filing out the doors by the hundreds of thousands, planning never to return. ….