There are many good men and women, fathers and mothers, educators, doctors and nurses…even ministers, who struggle with temptation on a daily basis yet remain faithful by the Grace of God. Let us always remember that there is so much good in the world. There are also many good and faithful priests, who despite struggles with daily temptations, remain faithful to the flock they shepherd and the Church they serve. These faithful folks, laity and ordained, are signs to us of hope for a better day. I write this column with a heavy heart and a sense of gloom, and struggle to grab onto the Hope that God always provides us. I want to thank everyone who were present at Mass last weekend, and who so kindly shared with me the burden of what we learned was contained within the Pennsylvania Grand Jury’s report. The news informed us that the report covered over 1000 acts of abuse by 300 priests over a seventy year period in dioceses throughout that state. Here in Boston that brought us back to the difficult days in 2002 where we discovered similar levels of abuse by clergy. The ugly reality is that this has occurred in dioceses throughout the United States and throughout the world. In Ireland the abuse also included physical and moral abuse in various institutions run by the Church’s ministers. The level of hypocrisy is beyond our imagining. While some may point out that such abuse occurred with other faith denominations and throughout all vocations (including doctors and teachers etc.) the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church really stands out! We can’t hide from this as it is part of our history. Abuses by the clergy have occurred throughout the life of The Church, and in 1545-63 the Council of Trent addressed abuses by an uneducated and unformed clergy by implementing seminaries which educated and formed young men, while also setting standards for behavior. However, past abuses do not allow for future incidents! The 2002 Dallas Zero Tolerance Policy, adopted throughout the United States and many other countries, makes clear that clergy and other consecrated ministers that violate the policy will be removed from their office and will lose their ability to minister. We have implemented the Protection for Children Programs and policies and have been diligent in implementing these standards.
What has happened in the 20th Century will not repeat itself and the church needs to continue to make serious changes in this area.
I have included statements by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and our Ordinary, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, and ask you to take the bulletin home with you so that you can carefully read through their statements. It is important that the generations that follow us have a Church to be Sanctified in and to be given Hope, it is up to us to take upon this painful duty of praying for reforms and for a return to personal holiness in the lives of all clergy, while supporting one another by being present in the sacramental life of the Church.
As we approach Labor Day many of our families are returning this week to their year round homes, and so we have to say goodbye. The summer always goes by quickly. Thank you again for the joy you bring into our lives. Visit us during the off season and come say hello. Visit us regularly on our website www.stanns.net and continue to join me each day for the daily video homily, as well as Catholic Traveling Prayers (CTP). We are uploading videos of the rosary taken in Nova Scotia…the prettiest of the settings was at Peggy’s Cover.
We are also working on a documentary on Our Lady of the Railways Chapel in South Station. It functioned from 1952-1972. We would like folks who remember the chapel to share with us your memories. Please see me after Mass or call/email the parish and leave your name and contact information.
We would like to finish it by mid September.