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Posts Tagged ‘priests’

PostHeaderIcon Thoughts on the Church and the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

As I write this post, it is August 15, 2018.

Today is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother. Today was a Holy Day of Obligation, and I went to the 8 AM Mass, just minutes after reading the report from the Pennsylvania Grand Jury and the reactions of people, Catholic and not, from across the globe.

This report, which covers the heinous crimes by the clergy, (of which an estimated 90% were from prior to the 1990’s) comes on the tail of the scandals in Argentina and Australia. A bit more personal to me, an investigation has also been launched against the major seminary in my own diocese, after an extremely damning piece on the conduct of some who have attended, was published by an ex-seminarian whom was one of my first JSO Instagram followers.

Considering everything that has been going on, and all the attention the Church has been getting from the major news media, it is safe to say that I, among many others, are beside ourselves, with a storm of incredibly difficult emotions.

I feel sick about the children who have been failed, their innocence destroyed and lost. I am angry about the coverups done to save face. I feel powerless to help clean up any of this mess and promote healing. I feel betrayed because the Church that I have fought for and defended for so long, is now being smeared by the hundreds of men who were unfaithful to the vows that they made. This goes beyond the breaking of promises though. This is pure evil, and it is unfathomable to me that this is the current face of the Catholic Church, especially since we know that our teachings hold us to the highest of standards when it comes to sexual conduct.

I am sad because for so many people I know who are not Catholic, this is only adding fuel to their fire. Whether it be outright hatred towards Catholicism in general, lukewarmness, or the deterrent of a faith journey that has barely begun, the damage has been done. I am sad for the practicing Catholics who are struggling with their faith right now. I am absolutely heartbroken for the many good, faithful seminarians, priests, and bishops (the vast majority of the clergy, actually,) who are being regarded with such hate and suspicion right now, trying to shepherd their parishes while also coping with their own feelings of grief, disgust, and betrayal.

The important thing to remember, and the driving reason behind this post, is that the clergy is not the end-all-be-all of the Church.

Good clergy members are guides for us, support for us in our journey as imitators of Christ. But they are not Christ Himself. It is Him, and Him alone, that we look to and follow. The Church does not contain any less Truth because of the unfaithful. The Sacraments are not any less valid. The Mass is not any less sacred. Lastly, we should not let this devastation damage our own relationship with God, nor our involvement in the Church.

I think this idea was best depicted while I was at church this morning. For an 8 AM Mass, on a Wednesday morning, the pews were surprisingly full. People of all ages attended. The Creed was professed just as loudly as usual. One voice in particular stood out: the voice of a child, no older than 6, proudly reciting the words louder than anyone else, mispronunciations and all.

I watched as my fellow parishioners exchanged glances with each other, no doubt taking note of the irony that this child, who, unknown to him, had been failed by the actions of unfaithful clergy, was displaying such pride in something that there is no way he could possibly understand at such a young age. But I watched it plant hope in weary hearts regardless.

Some are already speculating that the results of the jury are most likely just the tip of the iceberg. They say that more scandals will continue to unfold.

Unfortunately this is probably true, although it is important that they are all made public and are exposed. I think it is also worth noting that many of these abusers are thought to be part of a larger scheme; non-believers who entered the Church with the intention of destroying Its’ credibility from the inside out. This theory comes from a woman who testified as much in front of Congress years ago. (Google ‘Bella Dodd’.) Others though are clearly pedophiles, or living a homosexual lifestyle. (I want to make it very clear though, that pedophilia and homosexuality DO NOT go hand in hand with each other, and are completely separate from each other.)

Now, we are finally uncovering the damage done. The Church will suffer and the numbers of the faithful will continue to dwindle. No matter what happens though, I am staying in the Church because I believe in Its’ teachings, and I am praying that you will too. I am praying for the victims of this abuse. I am praying for my fellow faithful laymen. I am praying for the faithful clergy, who have given their lives in vocation to serve Christ and His people, many of whom I am so blessed to have in my life, including my own pastor. I am praying for those departed from the Church because of these scandals, past, present, and future. As hard as it is, I am praying for the men who have caused all of this wreckage too, with the evil they have done. I hope those still alive will repent, hold themselves accountable, and justice will be served.

Most of all, I will pray that the innocent bishops stop giving us empty statements, and instead work to deep clean and restore the Church once again. To my friends and followers of other Christian denominations, I ask that you pray for us as well, as we call for action and attempt to heal in the coming days.

 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” -Matthew 16:18 NABRE

Keep the faith.
~Alexis Grace

PostHeaderIcon Witness: Why We Marched

GUEST POST
The March for Life is an important Pro-Life event that happens in Washington D.C. and other places around the United States each January. I had the awesome opportunity to interview triplet sisters who went on the March this year, and then got stranded on the highway during the blizzard that stalled many Marchers’ return home. They share their experience below. I hope you enjoy their witness story!

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(Left to right: Alexis, Kristen, and Lauren.)
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PostHeaderIcon The Wish Of 11 Year Old Me (It Came True!)

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Last month I celebrated my 18th birthday. But turning the big one-eight wasn’t the only thing that made this past birthday so special. It was also the fact that my birthday landed on a Sunday this year. I spent a good amount of time thinking about this one night last month, as I held one of our hens and watched fireflies glow in the dusk, on a perfect early July night.

Celebrating my birthday on a Sunday might not seem like much. But for me, it means the world. You see, Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Hurrah For Priests!

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A couple weekends ago, I went on my last high school retreat with my youth group. My youth minister and the CORE members did an awesome job running it, but I think one of my favorite parts (besides Adoration, which is always a great experience,) was the witness talk that was given. Our witness speaker happened to be a seminarian, which I thought was awesome! If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning, or if you know me personally, then you probably know I have a lot of admiration and respect for priests, and the vocation to religious life in general. So you can imagine how excited I was about this witness talk! The seminarian gave a really great testimony about his call to the priesthood, and the different things that happened throughout his life, that he now realized was God trying to speak to him.

The discussion guided by my CORE member, again led me to the conclusion that I often come to when I think about what the priesthood means to me: Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon I Had To Do Something…So I Wrote A Post

A couple of months ago, I found an article that really bothered me.

So much so, that I couldn’t resist the opportunity to pick it apart. (AKA ‘do something’ in the only way I know how.) It first caught my attention because of the title: “No joke this time: Is the Pope Catholic?”.
If you know me, then you probably know I looked Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Thanking God (From A to Z!)

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Sometimes we have days when we just need to stop and think about everything that God blesses us with everyday. He has, and continues to bless us, so shouldn’t we take time to stop and thank Him? In a second, our whole life can change. Think about this:

“What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”

Kind of scary, right? My point is, sometimes we need to stop asking God for things, and start thanking Him for everything He has already given us.

Thanking God from A to Z, starting now in this list!

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PostHeaderIcon Father Mark Murphy

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Father Mark Murphy
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I am happy to present to you, the very first interview for my Witness series here on Just Shine On!

Father Mark and I first met each other through a slightly embarrassing (for me, anyway) Confessional experience, that happened at a God of This City tour in Marshfield. He swears he doesn’t remember a thing. (God bless him.) In a nutshell, I entered the wrong door, in a 2-door confessional, of which I had not previously been familiar with, and found myself in his presence in a very small, confined space. He kindly directed me next door. ; )

Several months later, Read the rest of this entry »

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