Healing is rooted in holiness

| Bishop Andrew Cozzens | November 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

The U.S. bishops are about to gather in Baltimore for their annual meeting Nov. 12-15. Given the current crisis the Church finds herself in, this meeting will be very important, even historic. It will begin with a day of prayer, specifically requested by Pope Francis, as we seek wisdom and strength for purifying and healing our Church. The next three days of the conference will be focused on several different concrete proposals which seek ways of promoting greater accountability for bishops. As is normally the case, the first three days of the conference are televised live by EWTN and also live-streamed on the Internet. Many people will be tuned in to see what the bishops are saying and what concrete action steps can be taken.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens

Bishop Andrew Cozzens

I want to ask all the Catholics of the archdiocese to please pray for your bishops during this time. A daily rosary, an extra Holy Hour at one of our adoration chapels or offering your participation at daily Mass would be a great gift to give to the Church during this time.

The healing of the Church will take time because the healing must run as deep as the problems. It will require many things of us as we go forward, including working for the healing of victims/survivors, clarity in teaching and living out the truth of chastity, as well as systems of accountability for those who fail.

I personally have two simple desires for this upcoming meeting. First, we need to get to the bottom of the scandal involving former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. We need to know who covered up the abuse and how we prevent it from happening again. This investigation will take time, but it must be done. Second, we need to develop some kind of review board, made up mainly of lay experts, to deal with accusations against bishops. This will provide a place to investigate and fairly address accusations of misconduct against bishops. Accountability like this could have prevented the many years of cover-up in the case of former Cardinal McCarrick. Over the months and years, many other responses will be needed, but I think these two are important first steps.

However, just as important — if not more — than these necessary practical steps is our prayer for the renewal of the Church. Why? Because the Catholic Church belongs to Jesus Christ and not to us. It is his body, his bride. He is the one who has redeemed us by laying down his life for us. He is the one who must purify his Church and make her what she is called to be: his holy, spotless Bride who witnesses his truth, beauty and goodness to the world.

Ultimately holiness is the answer to this crisis and integrity at all levels of the Church, most especially her leaders, and holiness is fundamentally God’s work, not ours. As we pray in the Psalms, “If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor. If the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil” (Ps 127:1-2).

We must take action, but we must also beg God to purify and strengthen his Church by purifying and strengthening her members. The Church lives in the hearts of her members, and the Church will only be purified when the hearts of her members are surrendered and purified. Let us ask God to raise up saints who will lead us out of this crisis. Prayer has the power to change the world because prayer changes hearts.

In fact, one of the main reasons I still have hope, despite the present crisis, is because I see so many people pursuing holiness in our Church. Whether it is the many young people with whom Archbishop Bernard Hebda and I spoke at Archdiocesan Youth Day
Oct. 27, the religious of the archdiocese who shared with me a day of recollection Oct. 14, the seminarians with whom I live daily at the St. Paul Seminary, the many priests about whom I constantly hear good things in our parishes, or my close friend whose funeral I celebrated this week who was a beautiful, holy wife and mother of six — everywhere I go, I encounter people pursuing holiness.

These people are the true heart of the Church; they are the true hope of the Church. Let us pray this week for our shepherds that they may also be filled with this same spirit of holiness so that the Church may be the light of Christ to the world she needs to be.

Sanación arraigada en santidad

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Category: Only Jesus