I have been contemplating, like many of you, the myriad of reasons why the Catholic clergy and hierarchy in the Church has fallen into major controversy through the alleged and credible accusations of sexual misconduct, and the genuine distrust and disrespect from the lay faithful over the last two decades. I have long posited that the primary crisis in the Church today is not a vocation crisis, but a failure to form men properly crisis. I am convinced, this remains the primary root of the evil that has developed within the Church today.
The ex-cardinal and laicized, Theodore McCarrick, does not emerge as the pre-eminent sex abuser and sex ring leader that he is without the failure of men to fulfill their natures to lead, protect and provide for those in their care and periphery.
It is hard to judge the inner spiritual life of anyone, let alone those with a Roman collar, but we can judge the fruits of their labor can we not?
I heard recently a faithful priest declare that those who pray the rosary will have the ability to recognize truth and be better able to discern evil. We know through the 15 promises of Our Lady to St. Dominic that there are many graces available to those who are faithful devotees of her Rosary. Our Blessed Mother confirms, in the first four promises of the Rosary, that this powerful prayer will grant: signal graces (1), special protection and the greatest graces (2), powerful armor against hell, vice, sin and heresy (3), and cause virtue and good works to flourish (4). Truly, praying the rosary is a means to safeguarding oneself against evil and sin.
If Our Lady’s promises are true, and whom would ever doubt such, then is it safe to say that the presence of evil in the Church today, and at the highest level of the episcopacy, is a result of a failure to simply pray our Lady’s Rosary, and in so doing, fulfill their true nature as men to lead, protect and provide for those in their custody?
I believe it is so the case. How can one explain the deception, the lies, the cover up among the men called to serve His Church? Their collective prayer lives should have led at least someone to step forward in the midst of these stories of grave depravity, right? The Prince of Darkness, while he is certainly present in the Church both then and today, has enemies, whom we call many saints, stepping forward to proclaim the truth and shed God’s light on the past and present crisis does he not? Surely, there was someone who had the courage to say “No, not on my watch”? Sadly, if there were any, they were either silenced, threatened, dismissed from their duties or shunned for such commentary.
Is the same behavior still true today? In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic Church response and the collective fears of both clergy and lay faithful, are we not seeing the same demonstration of a failure to trust in the provision of Almighty God, and His Holy Mother’s protection and promises?
Do the people of God fear death and so choose to preserve life at all costs and our selfish interests or do we fear God and choose to serve Him at all costs to our life?
I have some priest friends who are chastised by their fellow priests for their great work ethic and desire to save souls . “You are making us all look bad,” said one cleric. The evil in the Church is rampant and no doubt extends from the last person in the pew to the highest seat in Rome.
The Rosary is the weapon of our times (St. Pio). Are we each praying it daily? Is the family rosary a part of the domestic church’s prayer life? Are priests and bishops praying it daily? It appears from the calamities and confusion present among us today, that more prayer of the Holy Rosary is needed both by clergy and laity.
The next time you look at a statue of our Lady, take note of what is under her feet while she stands on the world. It is the serpent. The presence of evil in our Church can be rooted out and will be accomplished through our faithful devotion to the rosary.
“In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…I believe in One God, the Father, the Almighty…”