Bishop Robert Barron recently published Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis. It is an excellent book — a meditation, really. It gives a sobering summary of the sexual-abuse crisis and a historical perspective and offers encouragement to believers in the aftermath of the recent and horrific events.
It also comes at an opportune time. I say this because my concerns that the issue would eventually fade from the focus of Catholics have largely come to pass. Mention of the topic is somewhat rare lately, and mentioned more often in passing. This is problematic for at least two reasons.
First, our diverted attention is precisely what the evil one desires and uses. True reform is going to happen only if we remain steadfast and insist upon it. Bishop Barron calls attention to something that I have also suspected — namely, that this crisis is more devious than clerical malfeasance, cover-up and mismanagement. It is far more: It is diabolical. Bishop Barron, an auxiliary of Los Angeles, writes:
When I was going through the seminary, it was fashionable to conceive of the devil as a symbol for the evil in the world, a sort of colorful literary device. But the storm of wickedness that has compromised the work of the Church in every way and that has left countless lives in ruins is just too ingenious to have been the result of impersonal forces alone or merely human contrivance. It seems so thoroughly thought through, so comprehensively intentional. Certainly, in the ordinary run of history, bad things happen, but this scandal is just too exquisitely designed.
Yes, it is a Satanic attack, coordinated and cunning. To be sure, neither Bishop Barron nor I would deny human and clerical connivance. There has been a dreadful lack of moral teaching and resolve from our bishops and priests, horrifying misbehavior and a strange reticence to confront an obvious homosexual subculture among many clergy. Bishop Barron spends a whole chapter detailing the frightful lack of moral leadership in the Church from our times going all the way back to biblical times. But this current corruption is so worldwide, and so present at every level of the clergy, and so widespread in its damage, that no mere human cause — or even a collection of human causes — can simply explain it. Add to this the huge falling away of the faithful from the practice of the faith and the astonishing and careless dissent of many bishops (and even bishops’ conferences) over the central teachings on marriage, family and sexuality.
Simply put, we are under attack, and this is no time for Catholics to allow their attention to drift from this crisis. We have to stay sober-minded. We have to pray and insist on reform as never before. Nothing would delight Satan more than to have us distracted by other things.
Read more at National Catholic Register