Part II of II
When I shared the news with a close friend that our pastor is being investigated for alleged abuse of children years ago, he said: “Your religion is shaken and your faith is shattered.”
I’m 58 and a cradle Catholic. I went to Catholic grade school and high school, kept attending mass during college, married in the church, raised our three children in this parish, served on the Stewardship Committee and Pastoral Council, and conducted retreats with the leadership team.
For years, I believed the church had resolved this issue, holding accountable both those who committed heinous acts and the bishops who moved them around to other parishes. I never expected abuse accusations to hit so close to home. Since February 1, I have spent a lot of time thinking about my faith, my beliefs and whether I will fulfill my spiritual needs elsewhere.
Following the Vatican summit, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, head of our Galveston-Houston Archdiocese and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote:
“A range of presenters from cardinals to other bishops to religious sisters to lay women spoke about a code of conduct for bishops, the need to establish specific protocols for handling accusations against bishops, user-friendly reporting mechanisms, and the essential role transparency must play in the healing process… Enhanced by what I experience here, we will prepare to advance proposals” to consider at the next USCCB meeting in June.”
Perhaps U.S. Bishops will be the impetus that forces the Vatican to scourge the church of all who participated and put in place measures to ensure this never happens again. Yet the faithful – including myself – are right to wonder if anything will change.
Shaken and shattered.