Let’s face it—our world is divided. Everywhere. Divided. The U.S. is a virtual armed camp of right/left, conservative/liberal, this/that. Even the Catholic Church is a dived camp with a growing chorus to declare Pope Francis an anti-Pope. We’re talking Catholic Church (I am Catholic, BTW) that tracks its roots directly to Jesus. Divided. Angry. Certainly, not Jesus.
So, each of us can be a wedge, further dividing life. Or we can be the glue, trying to bring people together. It’s not always easy but I want to be the glue in bringing people together. Doing my little bit to help heal and stop divisions.
Jesus talked division, even about families divided against themselves. But the objective was coming together in a spirit—the Spirit—of love. After all, as he faced His death, Jesus left us with one command: “Love each other.” John 15:17
I have a news flash: We’re not following that command. Even a little bit. We’re following the devil’s command to hate each other. The venom coming out of mouths of politicians and priests (supposed holy men!) is appalling. They are the wedges, not the glue.
The horror of knowing that for decades Catholic priests in Pennsylvania physically and mentally abused children and young adults is too much to comprehend. I’m Catholic, and a practicing one at that. I was born in Pittsburgh, lived outside of Philadelphia for a while, and am writing this from the last day of vacation at our family vacation home in Northeast Pennsylvania. I went to Mass yesterday and the homily was a video message on this atrocity by the Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania. I haven’t read the 900-page report, yet, but I have read the reporting on it.
I simply don’t know what to say! I wonder if Jesus knows what to say?
As Christians we are taught not to judge—least we be judged. But I can’t help judging and in my darkest thoughts my mind races what I would do to anyone—priest or otherwise—abusing a child in any way. Yes, I’m judging. I’m not perfect.
No, I won’t stop being a Catholic or going to Mass. That’s too easy. It’s certainly what Satan would like. I’m going to pray, and then pray some more. For the victims. For the Church. For every priest—even those abusers still alive.
There is a very good background article in the Atlantic on Pope Francis and his visit to the U.S. We try to put people in boxes of left and right; Democrat and Republican. The Pope doesn’t fit into any box other than he is a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.
“My hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: ‘Give them something to eat.’”
Regardless of what box you put yourself in, these are profound words that are food for thought.