What can I as a Catholic do during this difficult time?

During this time, it is easy to feel helpless, but there are many things we can do as Catholics that are productive. We certainly can acknowledge our emotions and share our opinions in light of the issues within our Church. In the process, we must respect each other and let nothing divide us, so that we may live as members of God's holy family. 

First, please share with other that there is no priest serving in our diocese with a credible allegation of abuse against him. Encourage people to pray for our priests, especially your parish priests, and offer encouragement to them, as they are saddened and angered by the tragic and evil actions of some priests and by Church leaders who failed to protect those under their care. 

Second, please share with friends and fellow parishioners the reality of all that the Diocese does to protect children and help victims/survivors in their healing process. Many are unaware of the extent to which our diocese works on behalf of the faithful, nor do some understand all that has changed following the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. While our diocese continues to have very good practices in place to ensure the safety of all children and adults, we will continue to make improvements when appropriate.

Third, we must pray fervently. Prayer obtains grace from God. Grace is something that we all need to make right decisions and to grow in holiness. So, increase your prayer life, spend more time reading Sacred Scripture and draw nearer to God during this time. In your prayer, please continue to remember all victims/survivors of child abuse and sexual misconduct.

Fourth, it is important that we continue our pastoral outreach to others, especially those most in need as a consequence of being harmed by someone in the Church. Our service, charity and good works help to reveal the presence of Jesus, the Light who has conquered the darkness. Lastly, it is true that the present scandals are embarrassing and infuriating, but we must remain proud to be Catholic. Our Church was instituted by Jesus Christ Himself and remains rooted in Him and led by the Holy Spirit. Our faith is in Him Who experienced trial and suffering yet triumphed. Our faith has been handed on through trials, tribulations, martyrdoms, scandals and all sorts of sufferings endured by men and women who put their trust in God and His Church. We continue to do so as we ask God to show us the path we must take in order that this sort of tragedy never happens again. 

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33).