Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wake Up!

“When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, ‘So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’” (Mt 26: 40-41, NAB)

There is in our kitchen cupboard a coffee mug similar to the one pictured; only mine is white, with black lettering. I had ordered it from an American Zen Buddhist monastery in New York. On it are the words: “Wake Up!” It ties in with the goal that every practicing Buddhist wishes to achieve; enlightenment. Now I had wanted t write about something else, based on my viewing of a documentary on the Buddha, whose name can be translated as “The Awakened.” But as I reflect more and more on the clergy abuse scandal, the more I want to take another tack for this column. And what I want to say, what I want to shout to my Church is: “Wake Up!”

To our Holy Father, the Vatican Curia, and to the bishops: “Wake Up!” This scandal is not some invention of anti-Catholic media; it is real, real people have been harmed. There is so much hurt and anger, that it cannot be kept secret, it is coming out, and will continue to come out. They need to wake up and acknowledge their role in covering up the abuse, and allowing it to continue. They need to wake up and see the victims, care for them, heal them, and beg their forgiveness. They need to wake up and see how the Church’s clerical culture has contributed to the scandal and explore what changes must be made.

To my fellow lay Catholics: “Wake Up!” We have a right to a voice in how our Church is governed. We have a right to make our concerns known to our bishops and pastors; and ask that they be addressed, and not be ignored. We need to wake up, and realize that we can never again be silent when abuse occurs, and demand that the crime be addressed and the victims cared for. We need to wake up and realize that we also have a duty to defend faithful priests, and a duty to defend the Church against malicious rumors. And finally we need to wake up and realize that we need to continue to be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and live it.

To all of us, I say: “Wake Up!”

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