Reflection  Reflection on the Current Crisis in the Roman Catholic Church
Within recent weeks many pastors have chosen to speak out to their parishioners about the current crisis in our Church. Once the Crisis was made up of events that happened some place out there. First the events in Boston came to light. These created their own notoriety. Recent events have brought the crisis painfully close to home. It is now the time for me to share my own thoughts and reflections with you. These come from the depths of my heart.

A celibate homosexual priest who is one of the most respected writers on the Spiritual life in our time, Henri Nowen, wrote a book entitled “The Wounded Healer.” He makes the point that before a minister can be an effective healer, he or she must recognize their own woundedness, their vulnerability. Why? Because the gaping wounds in our lives allow room for the healing power of God to come in and do its loving work. If we do not recognize our own weaknesses we can rationalize our lives away whistling in the dark, basking in our self-sufficiency, and saying with the Pharisee, “Thank God I am not like other human beings. Certainly I am not like that person whose picture is in the paper, on the internet and in the headlines.”

The acceptance of the fact that we are indeed members of the human race is the beginning of our salvation. Remember that we are in Easter time. We are celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus. Jesus rose from the dead. He died because he was fully human. Jesus chose to enter to the messiness, and frustration of being human. Jesus freely became wounded for us. Jesus is the prime, the preeminent “Wounded Healer.”

Priests have been called “Other Christs” for ages by a well meaning Catholic Faithful. I do not think that people over the ages have done us priests a favor. We have been put on a pedestal have offered our Masses at a distance with our backs turned from you, spoken in a strange tongue. Now we face you, speak your language, mingle freely with you. Our wounds can be observed up close and in color. Some of our alleged wounds come to the wider public through the news media. It does little good to blame and disparage the news media. The wounds, sins and indiscretions of the rest of us remain hidden in our hearts known only to our confessors.

Many have asked me, “What can we do in the face of the heart breaking news that not only ourselves but Catholic all over the world have heard?” Let me suggest that we offer three days of private prayer and fasting. Thereby we can join our own suffering to that of the persons possibly harmed by the behavior of some Wounded healers. We can join our suffering also to that pain now being endured by the Wounded Healers themselves. We especially remember Fr. Donald with who I was ordained and Fr. Dennis Schmitz so dear to the hearts of so many. The Archbishop has asked for a Day of Prayer May 18-19. Our Parishes will do something and that will be announced.

May the Risen Jesus, Divine and gloriously Human, bless us all and remain with us now and forever!
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