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Saturday, September 01, 2018

Firmly, Or Not At All

Solidarity is the firm determination to act for the common good. Because the pursuit of any virtue benefits everyone, not only the one who seeks it, the pursuit of virtue is intrinsic to the common good, and the noblest expression of solidarity. Current events indicate that the lack of virtue is graver than many suspected. It may at times feel overwhelming. Most of us will not be investigating the crimes, or advising the pope. We can however pursue virtue, and reject vice. By grace, we can draw closer to God. Many wise people are saying this, and it's correct.

One of my earliest lessons as a candidate, a learner in holy mother Church, was that grace builds upon nature, but does not destroy it. Practically, what this means now is that civil authorities uncovering the sin and evil are serving Truth Himself, no matter how they relate (or don't relate) to Him personally. When clergy have covered things up, undoubtedly hoping that sin would not be seen to mar the Church's beauty, they were taking the Church away from Christ, if that were possible. It is He who knows exactly what we are. It's Jesus who didn't wait for us to pull it together, but as it is written, "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." To have the privilege to partner with God on the order of grace is a great honor, especially as a ministerial priest. Yet the human being of the highest priestly rank is a slave, not only to his brethren, but to reality as a whole. There is no way to compartmentalize, though we do try, don't we? There is no homily, or sacramental power that could erase or balance out a sin unacknowledged and unforgiven.

Because these unimaginably heinous crimes were committed by clergy, many people want to leave the Church. Catholics have a unique relationship to their clergy, because he is Christ to us. The priest is not only engaged in proclamation; he is the proclamation. To say that these violations are a countersign to the gospel is a staggering understatement. An abusive priest is a living, breathing lie. Of course the evil one is ultimately behind it; who else could be, but the father of lies?

I will not only express emotion, but I will act in accord with the truth. If we live in truth, we'll be lights in the darkness.