Sometime back in 2002 I was was trying to discern the call I felt to the diaconate, when the first wave of the clergy sex abuse scandal tsunami broke here in the U.S. I recall so many emotions: sympathy, sadness, hurt, shame and anger among many. I remember going to my then (and still) spiritual director and telling him that I'm so angry that I don't know if I wanted to be associated with 'them', meaning 'clergy'...
Of course, in his wisdom he listened and finally said "Michel, I'm glad you're angry. I'm angry and I've been a priest over 50 years. I would have been terribly disappointed if you weren't." Then he added "Have you given thought that God might be calling you now to be part of the healing that needs to take place?"
I was reminded of that conversation when I read Pope Benedict XVI Christmas address to the Roman Curia on December 20th 2010. (read in entirety here ):
It is a beautifully written message that should be read in its entirety, but the part of the message that really touched me was when he said:
" In the vision of Saint Hildegard, the face of the Church is stained with dust, and this is how we have seen it. Her garment is torn – by the sins of priests".
For me, it took great courage and humility for the Pope to say that particularly not long after closing the Year of the Priest, but what he said after should be the rallying cry for all clergy: bishops, priests and deacons and all the faithful who love God and serve the church. Pope Benedict added:
" The way she saw and expressed it is the way we have experienced it this year. We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred. We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen. We must discover a new resoluteness in faith and in doing good. We must be capable of doing penance. We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again."
This is not a time to 'gloss over' or 'to sweep under'. This is a time to heal not only by making pronouncements but by doing penance and rededicating ourselves to proclamati0n, by word and deed, the Good News of Jesus Christ to a world that desperately needs to hear it but is wary of its messenger.We need to become believable for the massage to be believed.
Pope Benedict XVI also made sure he commended the overwhelming majority of priests who have served the Church faithfully and I join with him in expressing such gratitude:
" This is also the occasion to thank the many good priests who act as channels of the Lord’s goodness in humility and fidelity and, amid the devastations, bear witness to the unforfeited beauty of the priesthood."
As I look forward to 2011 and my third year of ministry as a deacon and as I reflect on the words of Pope Benedict XVI as well as the conversation I had with my spiritual director, I'll make the words of St. Francis my own and I invite you to do the same so that we can fulfill our mission of bringing Christ to all the world. Let us all be healers even if we are 'wounded healers' ourselves.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.
Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni
Awaken your power, Lord and come - heal us
Awaken your power, Lord and come - save us
Awaken your power, Lord and come - grant us peace
Happy New Year to all.
Hi, welcome to my weekly blog. I'm deacon Michel and I love blogging and the healthy exchange of constructive ideas. Now my mind has been known to wander on a million different things all at once so don't be surprised at what you find here. I often scratch my head and go 'Huh?' at my own thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts with me.
This blog reflects MY ongoing Christian journey: insights gained through the Holy Spirit, my experiences, my studies, my relationships. The content of this website is solely that of Deacon Michel du Chaussee, and does not represent the Archdiocese of Miami or any other entity of the Roman Catholic Church in any official capacity. Needless to say, I hope that none of my writings are contrary to the doctrines of faith and morals that are reflected in Sacred Tradition or as taught and guarded by the Magisterium of the Church or to the truths of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
For I take seriously what a very wise man has often said to me:
"Ordination is not license for private practice" - Msgr. A. Andersen