I find myself more and more depressed by the news about the church, including the increasing tendency to blame the media for the church's problems, as if without The Boston Globe the Catholic church would have ever addressed the sexual abuse crisis in this country with such vigor. Without the Globe's coverage there would have been no bishops's meeting in Dallas and no Office of Child and Youth Protection at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Now there is of course some lingering anti-Catholicism in the media (which I've written about) and the media do get things wrong. But we will make a grave mistake if we start blaming the messenger, as we first did in 2002. Last night, a friend tells me, one bishop told the congregation at the Chrism Mass, of all places, not to read The New York Times.
Beyond the question of blaming the media for our problems, comes something much more important: the overwhelming need for the church to recognize its need to set aside the culture of power, privilege and secrecy that led to the sexual abuse crisis. As we approach Good Friday, the church may need to ask itself what needs to die in order that we might live life anew. And what is needed now are saints to show us the way. To that end, I found this picture, sent to me on Facebook, deeply moving.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Servant of God Dorothy Day, you who embraced a life of humility and simplicity, you who stood outside the power structures of the church, and you who embraced true spiritual poverty, pray for us now and forever.
James Martin, SJ