When I saw my child pastor‘s name on the list of abusers in a grand jury report regarding sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, I immediately got a pit in my stomach. I also recalled an incident that had taken place involving a friend of mine in grade school that led me to believe such allegations against him might be true.
Anyone who followed this news, especially those of us who are Catholic, grew more horrified and grief-stricken by the day as more and more reports were published, detailing evidence of decades of abuse and inappropriate sexual conduct among priests, bishops and cardinals. Even the pope came under scrutiny, with fellow clergy members asking him to step down.
I have read and heard (in person) some extremely vile comments regarding this crisis. It’s understandable that people are angry. I myself felt so betrayed because even though such issues exist in all faith denominations, hearing explicit details of situations that occurred in the faith that is so dear to me was one of the deepest sorrows I have ever experienced.
The victims should be heard. The victims should be compensated for the damages they have suffered. The abusers (Those who are still alive, at least.) should be held legally accountable for the horrendous crimes they committed.
None of this, however, means that the Catholic faith is false or is corrupt in and of itself. Hundreds of its ministers have been proved sinful and criminally guilty. Most of its ministers though, are good men who do their best to live holy lives and provide for the spiritual and temporal needs of their congregations.
As a Christian, I believe the words that Jesus spoke when He warned that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church. I believe His words that His followers need not be afraid because he is with them (us) always.
As a Christian, I believe that we are all sinners in need of a Savior and that Jesus Christ is that Savior, if we but accept His gift. No man, no sinful act, no crime, no duplicitous, hypocritical priest or bishop or cardinal can make me lose faith.
Moving on in life, I pray for each victim who has come forward and for those who carry their secrets and memories of dark times in their hearts and minds and I also pray for mercy toward those who acted against truth, against their fellow-man, against innocent children and against God. Time can never be rewound so that these heinous acts are uncommitted but God can bring blessing out of the darkness and each of us can do our part to help repair the wide tears that have ripped through the fabric of our faith community.
Writer Bio: Judy Dudich
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.