A people of hope
Letter to the Editor | Friday, October 5, 2018
“Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who have been pasturing themselves! Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep?” These words from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel are painfully true today. Starting this past summer, the Catholic Church in the United States has found herself once again amidst great scandal with the news of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and the devastating Grand Jury Report in Pennsylvania. As students at the University of Notre Dame and young members of the flock of God, we too are devastated and heartbroken by all that has occurred, and feel called to share a message of hope in these troubling times.
We should be angry. We should be sad. We should be frustrated at the abuse and at the intentional cover-up. Our shepherds were entrusted to care for us, the flock, and a number of them have failed. They have betrayed our trust and the church they were chosen to serve. We need transparency. We need accountability. We need our shepherds to be shepherds. Our priests and bishops must ensure that this never happens again.
But, we cannot lose hope. We must be a people of hope. As Bishop Robert Barron said, “We are not Catholics because of the moral excellence of our leaders. … We are Catholics because of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead.” For this reason, we must have hope. We trust in Christ’s promise to be with us always, even in the midst of such horrific scandal in our church. We do not put our trust in any human member of this church; rather, we put our trust in her founder, Jesus Christ.
This is not the time for us to leave the church or abandon her. Rather, this is the time when we need to fight for the church. All too often we young people are told that we are the future of the church. But we are the now of the church, we are her present. We need to lead the church, not leave her. We need to be about the work of Jesus Christ in our everyday lives. That is what we can do as college students on this campus. We need to strive for holiness, especially in the little things: in how we carry ourselves, in how we interact with one another, in how we look at our world. We need to be men and women with hope to bring, witnessing to our Crucified Lord’s love for each and every one of us in all that we do.
This action starts with prayer. Of course, our prayer alone is not enough; our prayer must strengthen us to act. Our actions bear fruit because of our prayer, therefore let us pray for the church, that she might better be a sign and sacrament of God’s love for his people. Let us also pray for one another, that we here at the University of Notre Dame may be an even stronger community, an even better sign of the unity of those gathered in the name of Christ.
Lastly, we encourage all to join in the Day of Prayer and Penance this Friday, Oct. 5, announced by Bishop Rhoades for the Diocese of Fort Wayne–South Bend. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart will hold Eucharistic Adoration from noon – 5 p.m., and the Basilica bells will toll from 3–3:15 p.m. in solidarity with all those affected by clergy abuse. Let us dedicate ourselves to Notre Dame, Our Lady and Mother of the Church, to guide us during these difficult times. Notre Dame, our Mother, pray for us!
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.