Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This last week, all the priests of the Archdiocese of Denver met together with our Archbishop, to pray for the victims of sex abuse and to ask for the Holy Spirit for a deep revival in holiness in our lives, so that we may be true servants, which Christ has called us to be. The first and greatest priority is to bring healing and support to all victims of sexual abuse. All victims of abuse need to be assisted and brought to the all-powerful grace, love, and forgiveness of Christ, the Great Healer.
Our lack of faith in Christ is one of the greatest causes of this crisis. This is a crisis of having a deep, life-changing and life-giving encounter with the Lord’s love. The Lord desires to heal and purify our hearts. The angel said it to Mary: “Nothing is impossible to God!” We need to grow in faith, that is, to listen, trust, and wholeheartedly believe that Christ is faithful to us, that His love does all things for us, and He can’t stop giving His life for us. He can’t be outdone in generosity with us.
We need to recognize “the cost of discipleship.” Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it” (Mk 8:34-35). Jesus wants everything from us. Jesus says: “My zeal is to do the will of the one who sent me.” The solution is real discipleship, that is, surrendering our life to God. We need to keep our eyes fixed on making disciples of Christ. Simple, normal, regular, average people who put their total trust in the Lord, in His promise of salvation, and happiness to all of us in our Baptism.
The world, more worldly attachments, and the mentality of human justice will not find healing for our current crisis in the Church. Only holiness, the holiness of Christ, the beauty of the Theology of the Body, the embrace of the teachings of the Church on morals and human sexuality, among others, will help us save the truth, which sets us free (cf Jn 8:32). We can’t deny sin. Our culture glorifies sin, and condemns the sinner. The Gospel does the opposite. It announces forgiveness, but teaches chastity, purity and modesty, so that the desires of our heart may be directed towards God, and not to worldly pleasures, benefits, and interests.
Our Baptism brings us to be holy. Our faith can’t be a secondary element in our lives. We are meant to bring everyone around us to a healing encounter with Christ. We are his apostles, his true prophets, and his servants. We priests, together with our archbishop, and all Christians are all called to chastity, that “the Christian has "put on Christ," the model for all chastity. All Christ's faithful are called to lead a chaste life in keeping with their particular states of life...Some profess virginity or consecrated celibacy which enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner. Others live in the way prescribed for all by the moral law, whether they are married or single” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2348-2349).
Discipleship is to decide to receive from Christ, the freedom of becoming a gift to God and to others. That’s the path to healing out of our sex abuse scandal. To be open to receive Christ’s gift of himself to us in our daily prayer life and truly growing on a faith journey, so that we may take care of the victims of this great catastrophe, and offer them the freedom for which Christ has set us free. “Man always has before him the spiritual horizon of hope, thanks to the help of divine grace and with the cooperation of human freedom” (John Paul II VERITATIS SPLENDOR 103).
God made us for sacrificial love, for unconditional, self-giving total love. Not doing that opens us, slowly but surely to horrible crisis like the one we hear about these days.
Father Felix P. Medina-Algaba