Steps to Take When I Feel Angry –How to Apply Charity Toward Our Self and Others (including Tools for Addressing Angry or Difficult People)
- Instantaneous, interior prayer required! PRAY: “Lord, help me with my anger. Help me understand what is going on in my heart. I often want to fight anger with anger, but I know from my own experience that doing so is unproductive and doesn’t help solve the problem. Help me move from anger to sorrow over the sins of the world.”
- Am I afraid?
- Am I in physical danger? “Help me to be wise and extricate myself from this person or situation immediately.”
- Is my fear based on my insecurities? “Help me to be sure of your love and forgiveness and not let another person’s judgments distract me from your love.”2. Am I afraid to admit my wrongdoing? “Give me courage to be humble and truthful and ask, ‘What may I do to undo the damage that has been done?’” B, Am I being accused of something unjustly? “Help me to be patient and find the right time and manner to explain the situation more fully.
- Is my current adversary putting me down, judging or ridiculing me? “Let me not give this person power over me and play on my insecurities. Instead make me confident in your Love for Me and trust that his or her anger is more about their fears and insecurities. Remind me that fear and anger most often occur when we forget or negate your love/ forgiveness for us–including our fear of change.”
- Am I being taken advantage of? “Help me to claim my right to not answer my antagonist’s questions and not to make any agreements until I have more time to examine the situation.” Say, “I feel uncomfortable with what you are asking. Let me get back to you.”
- Is it pride that makes me angry? “Help me to see that my life is not about me but always about You. Instill in me the truth that You intend the salvation of the world—a plan that involves me to live according to your will, not mine.”
- State what you OBSERVE about the other person’s state –NOT WHAT THEY SAY OR DO.
- “I see that you are very angry and upset. This matter is very important to you. Help me understand what you are going through.”
- Next state what’s going on within you. Examples:
- “When you act this way, I am frightened. Are you aware that you are frightening me? May we address this issue in some other way? Or Take “Time Out?”
- “Your actions have harmed me and/or another person. It is wrong to express our thoughts and feelings in this way. I must ask you to leave the room and consider the harm you have done until you calm down. If you will not excuse yourself, I must ask you to leave our home.”
- “Your strong emotions bring up feelings of my own angers that are tied to thoughts that perhaps you don’t understand me or know me the ways that I thought you did. Or maybe it is I who don’t fully know or understand you. How may we understand one another better without rancor?”
- Introduce New Levels of Logic: “What do you think is really going on here? Are yours or someone else’s feelings be ignored or dismissed as unimportant?” “Sometimes we think LOVE means that we must do what the other person wants us to do. Isn’t there a better logic than this?” “Will praying together help us now – or do we need more discussion first?”
- When Communication Breaks Down: “We are having a communication problem. Please know that my statement is not a judgment on you. It’s a problem to be solved.” What logic do you use to maintain that saying this becomes an accusation against you? Do you not believe that every human being needs to work on improving his or her communication skills without thinking that they are a loser or something worse? There’s a wonderful saying. ” Perfection is the enemy of the good.” Only God is perfect. Let’s acknowledge our imperfections and work on addressing your feelings and mine with patience and charity.”
- Keep in mind this response: “There’s a certain way of thinking–a kind of logic that you hold on to–that causes you great pain and anxiety. It also brings heartache to all who Love you. May we take a “step back” and explore other ways of looking at this situation? If we are to ever have the peace we need and want, we must seek different ways of thinking, so we can love ourselves. We all need to love ourselves because we are Children of God. Life is about learning to accept Love as it is offered, not as we think it is supposed to be offered. Therefore, HOPE is a matter of lowered expectations as far as people are concerned. We must change our way of thinking if we ever want to be happy. I can’t do that for you. But I know this: As you learn to be kinder to yourself, you’ll find yourself more patient and kinder toward me and to others. Meanwhile, I’m going for a walk because I have great difficulty with the ways you express anger. (“And I don’t want to treat you the way I experience you treating me.”)
- Here’s another one: “I understand that you are very angry. And, of course, this is an important issue. If I have done something wrong, I am willing to take responsibility for it. But, remember, Jesus says “Stop condemning! Stop Judging!” because condemning and judging prevent us from solving our problems. So, ask yourself “Do I want help extracting myself from the blaming game, or not?” There are more productive ways to deal with our hurts and fears and angers. Shall we explore these together or do you need to do this on your own? I want to respect your needs. Take as much time as you need. At some point, I trust we will be able to work together to solve this problem.”
- Don’t try to teach someone a lesson unless he or she has enrolled in the course!
- When someone says he or she is not ready to discuss the issue, believe them! Postponing a needed discussion is NOT a personal insult or injury.
- Be ever-ready to say, “Let’s talk about this later.” But be sure to set the time aside sooner-than-later.
REMEMBER: THESE ARE TOOLS –NOT GUARANTEES inspired by Jesus is teaching “Love your enemies” and “Turn the other cheek.” We now interpret these instructions to mean that we are not to let others take our God-given self-worth and dignity from us. Standing firm in God’s constant love/forgiveness for us, we remind our adversaries of our common humanity. Jesus does not want us to accept their abuse. Luke 6: 27 ff If you just need to VENT –Pray Psalm 109
By Father James DiLuzio C.S.P. http://www.LukeLive.com
We either Live in Love-Forgiveness (ONE WORD) or we do not. We must cultivate Love-Forgiveness in our hearts and invite loved ones to do the same. What’s needed for love-forgiveness to reign? Here’s the short list of what to do when we are hurt, angry, betrayed
- In the heat of the moment, learn to say things like “I am deeply hurt and/or angry by what was said or what is happening (or ‘just happened.’) We need to take “time out” to think this through.”
- Vent, Rage and Cry to the Only Fully Objective Loved One — GOD; Jesus Himself prayed psalms of lament and disappointment. If you need to share your feelings with another person, try to pick a trusted relative or friend who is not likely to get involved emotionally, come to your defense or take sides against the other.
- Insist relatives and friends respect the integrity of each personal relationship. Allow only the individuals involved to work through the conflict. Others must avoid all temptation to pass judgment, condemn or enter the fray unless physical o r deep emotional abuse occurred, or the incident involves a minor in need of protection.
- Secure that God loves you in your anger, your hurt, your betrayal –that God’s love for you is the foundation of your life—pray that you are moved to PITY the one who hurt you. See in him or her a fellow human being who has fallen from grace, given into temptation of selfishness, greed, violence, fear or weakness.
- Take TIME OUT, allow yourself time to let grace take hold of you and move you from hurt, and/ or rage to pity and, finally, to tenderness.”
- Pray Pity be transformed to TENDERNESS as you would offer tenderness to a disobedient child; everyone has a right to live, to learn, to improve, to encounter God through Love-Forgiveness – In this world of ours, it is one of the primary ways to encounter God.
- Allow for Time to Pass, i.e., GOD’s Time, not “our time,” for you and the other person to come to a place of reviewing the situation and his or her actions calmly and honestly. Here we must trust in Jesus’ and the Psalms’ constant reminder that God allows the sun to shine on the just and unjust, good and the wicked precisely to allow people to choose to evaluate the harm they’ve done to themselves and others. Say, “I was very hurt / angry by what was said and done. I need to understand what you were feeling and where you were coming from. That will help me a lot. Then, if you are willing, I would like to share my feelings and concerns.”
- With patience, discern forms of accountability you may eventually offer your assailant or adversary—just as a priest offers penance to sinners in the confessional. As penance offers actions and prayers to help the penitent to both show remorse AND accept accountability for his or actions in praise of God, so, too, must we be “priests to one another,” offer opportunities for change – as you would with a child.” Ask “How can I help and support you to undo the damage that’s been done?”
- If the offender agrees to amend the situation and, if warranted, get treatment for his or her behavior, don’t try to reconcile the relationship right away. If asked, let the other person know that you continue to work on reconciliation but are not ready to remove restrictions on your relationship. Meanwhile, assure them you will pray for their working through their problem and taking responsibility for their actions. More patience is needed for the elderly and infirm than for younger, healthier people.
- If the offender is not willing to address the issue (e.g. “this is who I am; I’m not changing; my way or none at all”) your health and safety may require the relationship to move to a respectable distance, or, if irreconcilable issues, severed. Forgive in your heart, so you are FREE from reliving the hurt, the pain; free to move onward toward a wiser, humbler, more hopeful future.
Paulist Press Resources: Healing Life’s Hurts by Dennis Linn and Matthew Linn
Don’t Forgive Too Soon by Dennis and Sheila Linn and Matthew Linn
Good Goats – Healing Our Image of God by Dennis and Sheila Linn and
Matthew Linn http://www.paulistpress.com/
As condolences are offered to the Congregation of Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, please spread the word: Antisemitism is totally illogical. It is irrational hatred pure and simple. It must be taught as unacceptable in all our schools and institutions; its illogic explained and shown to be akin to all prejudices and hatreds everywhere. No peoples should become the scapegoat for anything–not for any incident, policy or circumstance. Individuals may be guilty of wrong doing and governments of wrong judgement and policies, but not an entire ethnic group. Not ever. Here is yet another example of the insanity in our nation and world. Please join me in prayer that Wisdom will prevail. May churches and synagogues and mosques and temples join together and sponsor education on the roots of hatreds, prejudices and violence and promote a unified effort toward Shalom! Shalom! Shalom! If not now, when?
Here’s an article by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks that begins to address the levels of illogic of antisemitism and hatred. It’s entitled Two Types of Hate. This article came from his email series called Covenant and Conversation, Aug 30, 2017, You may find out more about Rabbi Sacks from his website: http://rabbisacks.org/about-us/
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Homily by Father James DiLuzio CSP for Saint Barnabas, Bronx, NY
When “the eyes of the blind be open be opened, and the ears of the deaf cleared:” your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you.
These words from Isaiah remind me of the story of Saint Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes who after the many visions of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception entered the convent of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers. Most of the sisters welcomed her, but one, in a Superior’s role, took an instant disliking to the girl becoming woman because of Bernadette’s celebrity. This sister ignored the fact that one of the reasons Bernadette sought religious life was to avoid all the attention that her apparitions of Mary, mother of God, brought to her and to focus on prayer and the virtues of penance. Moreover, when Bernadette was later stricken with tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee, the pain of which caused her to limb in prayer processions, her Superior mocked and ridiculed her and accused her of seeking favor and pity from the other sisters. Only when the Superior’s eyes were opened to the extent of the disease that had spread and the physician’s verification that Bernadette was dying did the Superior move to compassion and repentance. Her eyes were opened, and she spoke as an advocate for the young woman ever after, taking care of Bernadette for the remaining time of the Saint’s life until Bernadette died at the age of 35.
Take note, again, of Isaiah’s phrase: “Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you.”
Clearly God is ever at work in the world, but human hearts and minds are so prone to ignore the signs, to override impulses of grace for more selfish motives. The realities of evil, temptations toward the deadly sins of envy, pride so often thwart the kingdom which is way, dear disciples, that God’s will is not done “on earth as it is in heaven” until some breakthrough of Grace occurs. That grace occurred in the waning year of Bernadette’s life, but it may not have occurred on earth, for the power of evil is great in this world, but, joyfully, it did.
Jesus perpetuated the realization of God’s will for the deaf man with the speech impediment. The reality of the miracle is but our first entry into faith in Jesus –belief that God’s will does include the miraculous, not for show, not for excitement, but always for healing, for reconciling people back to health and true human dignity. Jesus’ healing ministry also reconciles others to compassion and patience with the sick and suffering in our lives.
How can today’s Scriptures not bring us, once again, to attend to our institution’s failures to “see and hear” regarding the suffering of minors—children and teens—for decades.
Some of us may experience weariness as the crisis unfolds, but we must not let weariness hide the sins nor the vindications and restitutions that must be fulfilled for our hierarchy’s tragic failures. And there is much work to do for those who suffer beyond the Church’s walls : in homes and schools and sports clubs and everywhere else where there are maladjusted, unhealthy adults preying upon the young and innocent –not only sexually, but physically, emotionally and spiritually. It must be apparent by now that the Church’s scandal is so closely aligned with the dynamics of incest evident in many families who have yet to seek justice, heal and reconcile because family members caved into to incredulity, fears of scandal, and, in those cases where victims were believed –insisted on secrecy rather than truth. That is what our bishops have done and it’s time they accept the full scope of the civil consequences of their actions. And here’s the most important, of many reasons why: when Church and families have the courage to bring the offenses of the innocent to light–no matter the rank and file of their perpetrators– victims have their suffering acknowledged and that, in and of itself is the necessary breakthrough that empowers healing and introduces hope. Our Church could commission studies by psychologists and social workers on the tragic secrecy and denial dynamic—so harmful in that it prevents victims’ vindication.
I urge Catholics to be pro-active: write our bishops with your feelings and your ideas on all that we can still do to transform our institutions and build on the progress we’ve made to ministering to those hurt by the Church. Of course, we begin with ministries to minors abused by clergy, but there are many more abused emotionally and spiritually from negative Church encounters of other kinds. Last week I myself wrote to Cardinal Dolan and Cardinal DeNardo, President of the US Conference of Catholic of Bishops with suggestions I gleaned from many conversations with people from insightful articles in the news.
At the heart of these is the recommendation that Church Authority include far more lay people, professionals in all fields, especially women among them, and programs that will include life-long follow-up to victims of abuse—children, teens and young adults within the Church and outside of the Church because abuse of minors requires a life time for healing –and we owe them every opportunity.
The miracle of seeing and hearing the truth from victims and walking with them as Jesus walks with all of us will purify and strengthen all those who participate in these ministries. We cannot afford to proclaim the Miracles of Jesus, the healing power of Jesus as we do today, and not participate in it. Our Church has fallen into darkness once again – as it has many times before during history –but you and I together must rekindle the light of Christ through our words and actions to all who suffer. It’s now or never.
The Scripture Readings:
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1IS 35:4-7A
Thus says the LORD:
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water.
Responsorial Psalm PS 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
- (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
The God of Jacob keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
Reading 2JAS 2:1-5
My brothers and sisters, show no partiality
as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes
comes into your assembly,
and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in,
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, “Sit here, please, ”
while you say to the poor one, “Stand there, ” or “Sit at my feet, ”
have you not made distinctions among yourselves
and become judges with evil designs?
Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom
that he promised to those who love him?
Alleluia CF. MT 4:23
- Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel MK 7:31-37
Again, Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished, and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
by Fr. James DiLuzio C.S.P.
Having prepared the text that appears several pages hence, I arrived at Saint Barnabas to find that a Propagation of the Faith Missionary was preaching at all the Masses. So instead, I offered a condensed version of what I had prepared to the congregation after we prayed the Closing Prayer. This is what I said:
“Not having the opportunity to preach you to you today, I feel obliged to say that after all we have heard and seen in the news these past two weeks, I wish –and I’m sure I speak for your parish priests here –we all wish to say we care about your feelings and what you must be thinking in response to Pennsylvania report. The scandal of child and teen abuse is something we’ve been living with for years now, but the Pennsylvania report gives numbers of cases and egregious accounts that accentuates the severity of the Church’s sins. The Gospel today asks if we wish to return to a former way of life, and many of us wish we could. We must remember Christ is with us through all things and that faith will get us through this scandal if we let it. Prayer is needed but so is action on our part to hold our leadership to greater accountability. I invite you to consider some of the following:
- Shall we urge our bishops in all Catholic diocese worldwide to release the secret papers listing the guilty priests and negligent bishops before more states require them to do so? Public confession and identification of the criminals in the Church is something we owe to victims because seeing names in print acknowledges the reality of their suffering which is an essential component of the healing process for most if not all. It should have been done long ago. Tragically, our leaders abandoned us and abandoned Jesus, making Church as institution their God. We are a people called to serve, not to secrecy.
- The Church’s mission is not just to take care of our own but to serve the world. To accomplish both, its time our hierarchy open its doors to include lay professionals, especially women, from all sectors of society from psychology to medical, law enforcement, educational and spiritual leaders to address the full scope of all that has happened in ways our bishops failed to do. Furthermore, consider writing our bishops to initiate this kind of cooperative process so that ultimately universal standards of justice could be set for all victims regardless of their abilities or lack thereof to obtain legal counsel and to ultimately begin a process that could result in International standards for protection of children and teens, reparation for all victims of abuse and accepted standards for just penalties for perpetrators in churches, schools, scouts, sports, medical institutions in whatever context they are found. Initiating and engaging this complex enterprise could mark a much-needed public penance on behalf of our leadership.
Time does not permit me offering more suggestions or details, but If anyone wishes to talk more about the PA report or anything related to what going, I offer to spend time with you after mass so please do not hesitate to approach me. May God bless us to take prayerful action to transform our Church to a greater honesty and integrity reminding the hierarchy and ourselves that we are the people who witness to the power of admission of sins as an essential way to encountering God.
Dear Readers: I was humbled by the assembly’s applause after my speech, and many thanked me afterwards although no one chose to speak with me at length. For the time being, perhaps that is all that needs to be said. However, if you want to delve further, what follows is the text I would have preached at the liturgy of the Word:
The Gospel today states: “Many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Jesus’ question applies to all the faithful in today’s world: “Do we also want to leave?” Amidst the Pennsylvania report regarding the egregious numbers of priests abusing minors since 1940’s (along with some of the most abhorrent details), many of us are asking ourselves this very question. Therefore, we must not eschew the topic at mass today, for this is our public sacrament addressing all the public and personal aspects of our life with Christ and one another. Indeed, today this same topic is being extended to Pope Francis’ mission to Ireland this week and the context of abuse there. No, we cannot be put the topic aside today.
To begin, we must remember that Jesus is present to us even in our sins, even as we repeatedly encounter institutional shame. Christ within the body of the faithful must be our recourse in these awful times when evidence of our leaders’ failures once again comes to light. How many people, including priests, are experiencing despair today, thinking of abandoning the Church, discarding our faith, feeling God has abandoned us? Such feelings are natural and inevitable in these times, but faith compels us to accept a truth greater than what we feel: God never abandons us. Therefore, this ongoing public tragedy must become yet another occasion for us to deepen our relationship with Christ whose Truth alone will set us free. Together we must petition the Holy Spirit for the courage to change the things we can to hold our leaders and our institutions accountable, to insist they lead us as they were meant to lead us: with honesty, with bold confession of their sins which alone allows for just amends to be made and merciful recompense to those they have harmed. This is what our leaders have asked of us, we now continue to insist that they do the same. The faithful had to do this throughout the early church controversies, before and after the Reformation, the Inquisition and we must do it again. Let us reflect on how Jesus can help us address today’s public scandal:
Admitting our wrongs has always been a hallmark of our faith. Repentance is our path to Jesus NOW as it was in Biblical times beginning with the preaching of the prophets that culminated in John the Baptist: Repent! In the early centuries of Christianity, often sinners were required to go public for serious crimes. The local communities compelled penitents to wear sackcloth and ashes at the entrance of churches until their penance and reparations were fulfilled. This concept is rooted in Jewish tradition, the grandfather of our faith. Remember the story of Jonah and the sinful City of Nineveh? The whole metropolis put on sackcloth and ashes. Knowing this our Church should have implemented public admittance of its guilt as the only fitting justice–long before the Pennsylvania government released its report. Only public confession expresses genuine contrition from an institution, reflecting the sinners’ willingness to let God purify and transform it. Furthermore, it should have been evident by now that victims need to have their suffering acknowledged if they are to heal well. Naming convicted perpetrators is also important because, as I have heard, many remain in reprehensible denial of the harm they caused. Their sin and their thinking need to be exposed and condemned.
As for our bishops who covered up and reassigned criminal priests, the fact that for decades they paid more attention to lawyers than victims adds yet another layer to our 20th and 21st century shame. The Church should be above that, judging by today’s Gospel, our leaders abandoned Jesus and made Church-as-institution their God, neglecting a central Christian tenet that to confess our sins is the first step toward reconciliation with God and others. If poverty would be the result, well, as Jesus has said, “Blessed are the poor.”
In light of these insights, I propose we ask all Catholic diocese, world-wide, to release the names of perpetrators and bishops who mishandled the situation so that all victims’ abuses can be formally acknowledge. Then, at last, our Church would regain its integrity, demonstrating true contrition before all peoples–before state and federal government compels us to do so. Only then can what the bishops have offered victims and their families— life-long professional counseling and financial recompense be placed in its proper context. Hindsight also makes evident that faithful Church members would have handled bishops’ open confession of criminal priests without shame if announced at the onset. Immediate public announcements would have prompted simultaneous change in canon law, priest policies and seminary formation at a much earlier point in this terrible saga and so much violence against innocents could have been prevented. Now, of course, the Church has instituted significant changes in policy and in education of priest and lay ministers that highlight child and teen protection and safety and alert the faithful to signs of dangers. Nevertheless, the current issue remains: how must the Church take responsibility for the sins of its past, especially its recent past? How can the Catholic Church regain its credibility in our witness to Christ in this world? Perhaps this sacramental Church of ours needs a ritual that acknowledges its institutional sins, that humbly and prayerfully embraces an institutional penance. What would be the equivalent of sackcloth and ashes for guilty priests and bishops today? Here’s one possibility:
- Guilty bishops could resign; guilty priests laicized in public rituals before being handed over to civil authorities. No one is above the law when laws are just, and victims cry out in pain.
Here’s something else we could do right here, right now: insist that our Church hierarchy engage ecumenical, multi-faith, government officials and lay persons, victims and families to draft universal standards of recompense to victims that are compassionately fair and, at the same time, clearly define just punishment for surviving perpetrators in both ecclesiastical and civil terms. Local and national commission could be formed to include professional lay men and women in psychology and all behavioral sciences in addition to experts in education, spirituality, law enforcement, legal experts and other related fields. The times call for a heterogenous, diverse assembly of people to be convened because Councils of Bishops need an interdisciplinary wisdom of men and women beyond its male hierarchy if they are to address the full scope of all that has happened to the people of God. These convocations could produce a formal International agreement specifying just consequences for all forms of child and teen abuse that could be promulgated just as Human Rights are defined and promulgated and these consequences would be applied to all domains where sexual abuse and all forms of violence against children, teens and adults occur – in homes, schools, youth clubs, sports, business and medical institutions, etc. as well as churches with no exceptions. For when the same truths are articulated in all institutions and sectors of society, the prospects for acting upon and realizing TRUTH and Justice become more fully realized. And remember, the Church is here to serve the world, not just itself.
Once Church and State agree on fair and just recompense to victims, and just punishment for perpetrators, statute of limitations on victims seeking justice could be lifted in all sectors of Church and Society—comprehensive with no exemptions. Because of the well-documented trauma victims experience throughout their lives, it is time Church and State set things right in all situations, in all places for all people.
As God helps Church and Society recover, may our Church abandon its sinful pride, its propensity to defend itself and cling more closely to Jesus “who alone brings LIFE” –Life in its dimensions in and beyond this troubled world. Christians everywhere would do well to commit to the age-old Jesus Prayer on a daily basis: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, Have Mercy on Us for We are Sinners” and, now more than ever, we must add, “strengthen us to put true repentance, TRUE FAITH into action.”
FYI: HERE are the Biblical Texts for Today’s Mass:
“Whom Shall We Serve?”
Readings for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Jos 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b
Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
summoning their elders, their leaders,
their judges, and their officers.
When they stood in ranks before God,
Joshua addressed all the people:
“If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
But the people answered,
“Far be it from us to forsake the LORD
for the service of other gods.
For it was the LORD, our God,
who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt,
out of a state of slavery.
He performed those great miracles before our very eyes
and protected us along our entire journey
and among the peoples through whom we passed.
Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”
Responsorial Psalm Ps 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21
- (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Many are the troubles of the just one,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him;
he watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Reading 2 5:2a, 25-32
Brothers and sisters:
Live in love, as Christ loved us.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
Alleluia Jn 6:63c, 68c
- Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 6:60-69
Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending
to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life,
while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
And he said,
“For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
In light of the PA report regarding egregious numbers of priests abusing minors since 1940″s: In the early centuries of Christianity, often sinners were required to go public for serious crimes. The local communities required penitents to wear sackcloth and ashes at the entrance of churches until their penance / amends had been fulfilled. The PA Report names the guilty in a way that is fitting, and, hopefully, offers some comfort to victims who need to see public acknowledgment of their perpetrators, many of whom are now deceased. What remains to be worked out is an ecumenical and government consensus defining a universally just reparation to victims and families and a standard of just punishment for surviving perpetrators in both civil and ecclesiastical realms.* This could be applied to all realms where sexual abuse is found – in homes, schools, medical residences, youth clubs, etc. Because of the lifetime trauma victims experience, the statute of limitations must be lifted in all sectors of Church and Society, equally, with no exemptions. Time to set things right in all realms. God help Church and Society recover.
- In 1888 Founder of the Paulist Fathers, Servant of God Isaac Hecker wrote, “The reintegration into general principles of the scattered truths contained in religion, social and political sects and parties of our day would reveal to all upright souls their own ideal more clearly and completely, and at the same time present to them the practical measures and force necessary to its realization.” I.e., when the same truths are articulated in all or many sectors / institutions, the prospects for acting upon and realizing those truths are great.
Only last week did I become aware of and watch the full season of BBC’s one-season tv series entitled BROKEN. (Available for download on Amazon Prime) As a Catholic priest in the United States I truly appreciate the series’ honest depiction of a priest, his daily life and ministry, the torment of sexual abuse within it and the willingness of the series’ characters to persevere in the reality of Christ -the heart of our faith– while attending to the failures of Church as Institution. I was deeply moved by every episode and amazed at how the writer / producer Jimmy McGowen understands Catholic Christianity—what it is, all that it can be and must be. I also found comforting BROKEN’s assertion that we are all broken in various ways and that one essential choice for health is to claim ourselves as wounded healers comforting others.
The 6-episode series covers the most timely of Catholic Church issues through the experiences of a Liverpool priest and his parishioners. I applaud the series writers and the powerful performances especially Sean Bean and Muna Otura, although all actors were across-the-board excellent. Directors, too, did a fine job.
I am promoting BROKEN today because of the show’s integrity as drama and as a healthy critique of our Catholic institution badly in need of healing. In light of today’s publication of the PA Church abuse cases, it is obvious to so many of us that our Church needs much more transparency and much more dialogue and collaborative leadership with the laity to address its dysfunctions. Clearly, this institution of ours must work together with behavioral scientists and learn more from their collective wisdom about human sexuality in order to reform our moral teachings and praxis, to bring about healing and make further amends.
I hope you will view BROKEN and I welcome your responses to it.