The last few weeks have been crucial for the Catholic Church. We have seen the congregation of bishops from across the world meet to address the abuse scandals rampant throughout the world; there is palpable intrigue and unhealthy competition in the College of Cardinals and among the body of bishops; and it seems that even priests are coming out to attack the Church and its leadership. In the midst of all these events, I believe it is only proper that we take a stand as Catholics to defend the Church that Christ entrusted to all of us, not just to the descendants of the throne of St. Peter.
It is always easy to blame a figurehead. We can deposit our frustrations with ourselves and with our world into the hands of a person in authority, hoping that one man or institution will be able to overcome a problem that is but a symptom of our society’s disease. Unfortunately, that is not how things like this work. Moving on from problems like the ones our Church is facing takes time and inter-generational dedication, and even that does not guarantee the success of reforms. After all, the people drafting those reforms are only human, and any action they take on will be, therefore, limited and with imperfections.
It is important for us to understand that in order to achieve any success in tackling these issues, we need to place our hope in God, who will be able to guide us through these difficult times and to trust the leadership of the Church in this. Now is not the time for poisonous division and senseless conspiracies, but rather the time to stand together as the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church that we confess to be.
Of course, none of this is meant to disregard the testimony of so many affected by the actions of a derailed few, or to ignore the role that the Church, through its leadership, has had in the scandal. Rather, I hope that we will learn from our mistakes and move forward together to prevent this from happening again. And I believe the Catholic Church, under the leadership of Pope Francis, has taken steps in this direction. It is now time for all Catholics to take up the baton and stand up for our Church. Now is the time to be united and present a common front against all the perils the Catholic Church faces. If we learn to do this, and we continue doing it through our testimony and our examples, we will strengthen and rejuvenate the Church we are all a part of.