After the announcement of serious allegations against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick at the end of July, many Catholics, myself included, wondered when the other shoe would drop. Well, you might say a boatload of shoes were dropped on Tuesday at the press conference of the Pennsylvania attorney general and his report on the abuse perpetrated by 300 priests on 1000 victims over the past 70 years in six dioceses of that state, that had been covered up by superiors, some of them, now in higher levels of church leadership.
As much as all of this creates knots in our stomachs, none of this can be swept under the rug–not now, not ever! We are seeing that while actual incidents of abuse/predation are down since 2002, there has been, in a sense, only a bandage applied to the gaping wound. For the Church to be healthy and holy, the wounds have to be sterilized and cauterized and there will most likely need to be some debriding and even amputation!
That will start with each one of us. Let’s confess where we’re complicit: not praying like we should, not living like we should, not having any noticeable difference between our lives as Christians and the pagan world around us. When we have taken care of our own household, we can call our leaders to account and we must.
Last evening I attended Mass at the Basilica in Philadelphia to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As I prayed with knots in my stomach I remembered that our Lady is the “undoer of knots.” Back in the second century St. Irenaeus in his classic work “Against Heresies” presents a parallel between Eve and
Mary, describing how “the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.”
We need the prayers and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this time of great knots. Blessed Virgin Mary, take into thy hands today this knot. I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all! In thy Immaculate Heart I place my hope! O Blessed Virgin Mary, undoer of knots, pray for us! In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.