The sexual abuse crisis of 2002 was often called the Long Lent. Have we at last reached Good Friday? If you have not yet read the statement of former Papal Nuncio to the US Vigano, regarding who knew what and when about Cardinal McCarrick, you can find it at the National Catholic Register.
The Lord’s closest companions have betrayed Him and denied Him publicly. The world will soon be mocking Him, beating Him, trying to extinguish at last what it has not been able to extinguish in two millennia.
On social media, many people are confused, shocked, and hurt, to the extent that some are considering leaving the Church or abstaining from the sacraments. My dear friends, my dear, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, do not do this! This is not the time to abandon Christ! If we do so, the Devil wins. This was his plan in helping bring unscrupulous men into powerful positions in the Church. But our heavenly Father had another plan, one we could see in today’s Liturgy.
In the first reading, Joshua tells the people:
“decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
And the people answer him,
“Far be it from us to forsake the LORD.”
The Lord addresses all those hurting from the scandals with these words from the psalm:
“The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
“When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.”
St. Paul reminds us that Christ loves the Church:
“and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.”
Can we not trust Him to complete this cleansing?
Finally, the Gospel provides divine wisdom spoken through Peter — yes, the same Peter who would later deny Christ:
“Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.”
Did you listen to today’s collect?
“O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose, grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, amid the uncertainties of this world, our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found.”
You see, the Lord knew from all eternity when the latest revelations would come, and He directed His Church to choose these passages and prayers as an immediate response. God is in control, as He has ever been. The renewed crisis — which has actually been ongoing, only hidden — is no surprise to Him. It cannot destroy His divine plan for us, unless we allow it to.
Now, many may ask, “If the Lord knew, why didn’t He prevent it?” This is a mystery we will only understand in Heaven. We must ask instead the question Peter asked, “To whom shall we go?” There is no one else who can grant us salvation. There is no other Church that was founded by Christ. There is nowhere else we can receive the Body and Blood of Christ to nourish us.
To nourish us. If you forsake the Eucharist, you will die.
Shall we leave the Blessed Mother to stand beneath the Cross alone? Shall we abandon Jesus to mockery, with no one left to praise Him? Should we not rather be the faithful apostle John supporting her — representing the faithful priests and bishops? Should we not rather as the laity be Mary Magdalen and the other women, unafraid to share in his suffering and scorn?
Perhaps it is not yet Good Friday. Perhaps more suffering and worse revelations are yet to come. Christ may still be on His way to Jerusalem. In the words of St. Thomas, “Let us go also, that we may die with Him.”
Note: For those struggling to trust God in the midst of this crisis or personal troubles, I recommend my book Trusting God with St. Therese.