On the weekend of August 18 & 19, I read to you the letter written by Bishop Perez concerning the horrendous abuse of power by both priests and bishops, and the criminal things done to children and young people by members of the clergy. The following week I attended a Conference for Clergy on the role of Preaching in Huntington Beach, California, which was lead by Bishop Robert Barron, who is acknowledged as the greatest Catholic evangelist in the country and whose influence extends even worldwide. He is the Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and some parishioners will know of him as they have viewed some of his videos here on Catholicism during the last couple of years. Through his use of social media such as YouTube, Facebook, etc, Bishop Barron has had great influence on both Catholics and the unchurched and I am grateful that I was able to listen to him speak in person during this Conference for Clergy.
I will refer back to him but first I want to say that upon my return from this conference and little vacation, I attended Mass at St. John Cantius on the weekend that the missionary priest was here (and thank you for your very generous contributions to his appeal). A new Pastor celebrated his first Masses there on the weekend that most other churches read the letter from Bishop Perez so he chose his second weekend there to read the letter that I had read to you. Hearing that letter read brought me a new perspective on what it is like to hear such news not as a priest reading it from the pulpit but as a fellow Catholic sitting in the pews. Hearing it read brought those feelings of anger and sorrow and confusion to the surface in me in a new way. I share this with you so that you will know that I stand with you in the pain of these revelations. But I also pray with you that God will reveal to us how we are to respond actively to this crisis of our time. Personally, my perspective has been helped greatly by the words of Bishop Barron as I listened to him in person but also as I have read his blog through his Word on Fire website. While I hope to continue to reflect on this with you in the weeks ahead, I also want to suggest that you take a look at his articles and/or watch his videos concerning this issue at wordonfire.org. He brings a practical and spiritual wisdom to this time as he offers suggestions as to what we, as Catholics today, can do in the face of sin and scandal. Please know that I am always available to you as we struggle together in hope to seek God’s plan for his Church at this time.