“Lord, to Whom Shall We Go?”

We are deeply saddened by the news that comes in daily about the sexual abuse involving the hierarchy (cardinals, bishops, and priests) in the Catholic Church. We certainly believe that those found guilty should be punished and live out their lives in prayer, penance, and reparation. We hope and pray that the persons who have been abused will find support, love, and healing.

Our thoughts turn to all of those wonderful men in the hierarchy who love the Church and are faithful to her teachings, who must be going through their own Calvary with each report of the above. We think of the religious who have given their lives to the Lord and who were helped in their vocation discernment by some wise counsel of a priest. We think of the laity who are trying themselves, and also trying to raise their children, to love the Church and live by her teachings in a culture which gives very little or no support for so doing.

There will probably be many, weak in the knowledge and living of their Catholic Faith, who will use clerical abuse as an excuse to leave the Church, but hopefully [it will] make others stronger in the Faith. “Lord, to whom shall we go?” The Catholic Church has the fullness of faith, with all the means to lead men and women to holiness of life and to eternal salvation. The history of the Church has always been through crises, and at these times great saints were raised up. A good example of this was St. Thomas More, who was martyred for defending the Church of Rome when many of the hierarchy were defending King Henry VIII, who declared himself the Head of the Church in England. Thomas More is the one who has Saint before his name. Or we look to St. Catherine of Siena, who worked so hard to help bring Pope Gregory XI from Avignon to Rome.

In 1969, when Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was Professor Joseph Ratzinger, he gave a radio talk, “What Will the Future Church Look Like?” I will quote a few sentences from this talk. “From the crisis of today a new Church of tomorrow will emerge—a Church that has lost much! She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning…. But in all [this] … the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the son of God made man, in the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world.” I certainly think that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s words are surely applicable today.

So what should our response be to this crisis in the Church today? It calls us all to strengthen our own faith, to pray, practice virtue, fast, and sacrifice not only for those who have been abused but also for those who have caused this scandal in the Church. We desire all to receive the love and mercy of God.

The tree is being pruned radically only to put forth more healthy and stronger shoots. If we are looking at a smaller Church, perhaps the best example we could take would be the mustard seed—the smallest of all seeds, but when grown becomes the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so big that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches. (MT 13:31,32). So if all of us in the smaller Church are planted deeply in the belief and practice of our Faith, the Church will grow stronger and stronger and many will come to be embraced in the loving arms of their Mother.

 

Mother Mary Assumpta Long, OP
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
Ann Arbor, Michigan
www.sistersofmary.org

Mother Mary Assumpta Long, OP About Mother Mary Assumpta Long, OP

Mother Mary Assumpta Long, OP, is the Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She holds a STL in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, and has taught at the elementary, secondary and junior college levels. Mother Assumpta is a former President of the Forum of Major Superiors; in the early 1990s she was invited by John Cardinal O’Connor to assist with the initial formation of the Sisters of Life in New York. In 1997 she, along with three other Sisters, founded the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist; in the intervening 17 years the Community has grown from four Sisters to over 120. The Sisters currently teach in elementary and secondary schools in Michigan and six other states across the country.

Comments

  1. EDWARD G STAFFORD says:

    Mother Mary Asumpta Long, Thank you. A wonderful and wonderfully refreshing perspective. As a former diplomat, I’ve always felt a special affinity to St. Thomas More. His faithfulness to a higher law, the law of God and Nature’s God, instead of the arbitrary law of man, Parliament and King is a fitting model for the laity as we face the struggle of being faithful to the Church while some in the hierarchy demonstrate shallow or even absent faith and moral. Again, thank you.

  2. Thank you Mother and thank you St. Dominic for breathing new life into the branches of your vine here in America thru her and her Sisters. May Jesus Christ be praised. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  3. In a way, we are living in exciting times because we know that thing’s must change not only in the World, but in our holy mother Church. Yes, we are beginning to go through the ‘birth pains’ that is described in the Bible and we must stay close to the Mother of Christ. Who do children run to when they’re in trouble? Their mother…… we must continue to pray w/out ceasing especially the Rosary, Sacraments and do Penance. The Barque of Peter has seen many Storms in her 2,000yrs. and its no different in our times because ‘Sin’ doesn’t change. This is the Devil’s last stand and he has intensified his hatred for God’s creation. We must stand firm in our Faith no matter what for the Time is growing closer!

  4. Joseph Valenti says:

    Mother: God bless you and your sisters for your commitment to and revival of Catholic elementary and secondary education. You are engaged in the most important work being done in the Church today. Your dedication to our youngsters is the beginning of the rebuilding of the Church. Out of your work the Church will be reborn.

  5. Loretta Hoffman says:

    Thank you Mother, Mary Assumpta for your beautiful article in HPR which balances justice, truth and mercy in dealing with those clerics who have betrayed, rejected and abandoned Jesus and His Church by committing such egregious and immoral behaviors, including sexual abuse among other things. Many are angry and grieving, myself included; however, as believing Catholic Christians; i.e., faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, we must also be balanced in our response to these evil events and deceived perpetrators with justice, truth and mercy, lest we sin, too, by developing any hatred for the offenders and the Church itself. As members of Christ’s Church, we must defend the Church, not its sinners. We must “hate the sin, but not the sinner.” I also believe that we should pray and do acts of reparation for all of them. If we do this, we will continue to follow the teachings of our Savior regarding love for our neighbor, even for our enemies in the Church and elsewhere. Thank you for your wise advice. Jesus Christ is Lord and He appears to be purifying His Church, separating the “wheat from the chaff”. We must trust Him for the outcome.