How to deal with our feelings of betrayal, bitterness, sorrow, and doubt
September 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – There’s no use denying it or pretending otherwise: all Catholics who are even remotely clued into what’s happening are in a state of shock. We opened a plain door marked “McCarrick” and found on the other side of it a veritable industry of corruption. The pope’s deafening silence in the face of serious evidence of complicity only rubs salt in the raw wounds of the People of God.
I have felt literally sick with grief, disgust, and anger. The arrogance of the wicked, who strut and boast, who lie and expect Catholics to swallow their lies like vitamins for good children, is enough to enrage—or, if one’s temperament is less choleric, to induce a deep depression. Those who found words with which to articulate a response have poured forth a nearly endless stream of articles and appeals, all of which fall on deaf ears, or elicit tone-deaf responses from cardinals in windy cities who, apparently clueless about how their words will sound to laity already fed up with bureaucratic evasion, talk about racism, ecology, clericalism, and other supposedly “more important things.”
Feelings of sorrow, abhorrence, bitterness, anger, melancholy—these feelings are good and right to have at a time like this, since they are part of the natural “equipment” God has given us for reacting to present evils, threatening evils, or good things taken away. But emotions are meant to lead us somewhere, to open up a path forward, so that we can get beyond the emotion into a stronger spiritual state and appropriate action. These emotions, while right and understandable in themselves, are not ends to rest in, but openings to a new realization and a new resolution.
“It is good to confide in the Lord rather than to have confidence in man. It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in princes” (Ps 117:8–9)—yea, even princes of the Church. “Blessed is the man whose trust is in the name of the Lord; and who hath not had regard to vanities, and lying follies” (Ps 39:5). “Praise the Lord, O my soul, in my life I will praise the Lord: I will sing to my God as long as I shall be. Put not your trust in princes: in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation” (Ps 145:2–3).
Could the message of the Word of God be any clearer? The Church of Christ is founded on the apostles and built on the rock of Peter, absolutely; but this one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church transmits the orthodox faith and confers on us the grace of the sacraments through her ministers, not from them; they are not the authors but the dispensers. Their words and works, too, are measured against an unbending measure of truth. The clergy have no special access to this truth, nor to the grace in which we stand. Our Lord who is “full of grace and truth,” and all the means of salvation He has given us, are the common good, the united possession, of all believers. To think otherwise would be clericalism indeed.
Our Lord says to each of us: “I the Lord have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you” (Is 42:6). “I will never fail you nor forsake you” (Heb 13:5; cf. Josh 1:5). If there is one thing we know from Scripture and the lives of the saints, it is that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and the crushed in spirit He will save (Ps 33:19). “I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things will I do, and I will not forsake them” (Is 42:16).
And what is our response to this gracious gift of the Lord’s call, His unfailing love, His nearness, and His promise to save? “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev 14:12). What does the endurance of the saints consist in? Above all, prayer. Nothing can defeat a man or a woman of prayer. Moreover, the devil cannot pray, and the one thing he hates the most is our prayer. When we pray, we are heaping burning coals upon him and all who are in league with him. So the most important thing we must do now is pray: increase our attendance and devotion at Mass; increase our Eucharistic adoration; increase our commitment to the Rosary; increase our use of confession; increase our penances. Some demons, Our Lord assures us, are not driven out except through prayer and fasting (cf. Mt 17:21).
Our primary work is to stay close to Jesus, using the tried and true means He has given us in His Church from ages past, from the example of the saints, from the wisdom of Scripture and Tradition. That has always been and will always be the main “engine” of ecclesial reform. This is a time for heroic faith, steely hope, and fiery love, as we cry out to our Redeemer: “Arise, O Lord, help us and redeem us for Thy Name’s sake” (Ps 43:26).