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We are all disgraced

Father Roger Landry’s article in the September 12 issue of The Anchor was forthright and comforting in that it was chock full of truisms. It didn’t gloss over the most egregious scandal plaguing the entire Roman Catholic community of millions and was a valiant effort at consolation for the demoralized.

Nevertheless, with that said, quoting directly from that piece: “Failure to address the larger context of the sexual abuse of minors would be to repeat the inadequacies of the U.S. bishops’ response in Dallas in 2002, which partially led to the problem we’re facing in 2018,” and reflecting on these words, is there any reason whatsoever to assume that the laity can now blindly believe that anything is really going to change? All of the lip service up to this point has been nothing but flatulence. 

We the faithful have endured a lifetime of catechism (now known as CCD) classes) homilies, Bible study, retreats, etc. and have been imbued with guilt over run-of-the-mill transgressions (i.e. lying to our parents, missing Mass on Sunday, lust in our hearts, extra-marital affairs with consenting adults, divorce, even in the case of an abusive spouse because “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” Mk 10:9) — and then somehow now to be expected to accept horrific behavior coupled with cover-ups by higher-ups, which incidentally have been used to euphemistically describe the real issue. Suppressed is the reality of it.

As faithful followers and as a community we are all now disgraced and incensed by these actions. Therefore in these trying times, my trust lies solidly with the old proverb: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Jeanne L. Richard

What would Jesus do?

All I can say is — finally! Father Roger Landry’s column about the clergy scandals (Sept. 21 edition) addressed, among other points, a seeming lack of anger among many leaders in the Church. His response is the first I’ve read that feels authentic. And Father Landry is correct — there is a “lack of sufficient horror at what has been done.”

According to associate professor of Theology Shelly Rambo, “The trauma survivor occupies a space like Holy Saturday, between life and death, between an ending and a beginning.” Further Rambo writes, “the gloss of redemption is the greatest enemy to those who survive trauma; it provides a promise often unaccompanied by forms of life that can deliver on that promise.” For some perpetrators there is a statute of limitations. Not so for survivors.

Church leaders should also be aware that these heinous crimes cast a long shadow. The media coverage of the scandal, as in all coverage of sexual abuse cases, can be a trigger for other sexual abuse survivors. So the damage is more far-reaching than one might imagine.

There is no undoing what has been done. But to move forward there has got to be more than words such as “transparency” and “accountability” in church newsletters. There has to be action — swift removal and appropriate legal judgment of perpetrators, a willingness to listen to victims and their families until they feel heard, and healing services to provide some semblance of solace. Perhaps the leaders of the Church might ask themselves — What would Jesus do?

Joan C. Borgatti

High contradiction

I was shocked to read a letter from a Ms. Laliberte that was printed in a recent edition. First, because, why for the first time in a long time a reader’s letter was printed and second, and more importantly, why this one? Why was a letter attempting to justify an individual’s political views by using a false definition of Catholic free-will which then led into a definition of the Democratic Party playbook? Was this to attempt to justify the beliefs of thousands of New England Catholics who have rationalized their religion’s tenets in favor of their allegiance to the Democratic Party? In this reader’s view, the subject’s letter represents intellectual contradiction in its highest form. 

R F Tobin 

Good needed in our lives

I feel I have to respond to a reader’s response in the August 10 edition of The Anchor. I watch Fox News because they show both sides, Democrat and Republican. What I like the most is that Fox News shows our President Trump wherever he goes and they show his full speeches. I hear what President Trump says loud and clear, but when I turn to other news stations I find they do not show where Trump goes. They do not show Trump’s full speeches and usually none of it. I hear what they say about the speech though and it is unbelievable how they twist what he says and make it as negative as possible. It is unfortunate if Catholics, Christians or God-fearing people only listen to certain stations or read certain newspapers so that they are not getting all the facts, and definitely not getting the truth.

At Fatima, Our Lady said that it will seem like the devil has won and just as he is about to mount his throne, the victory will be snatched away from him. Rather than one great victory it looks like it’s going to be a series of victories. I saw one of these victories when Donald Trump won the election and became our president. Ex-President Obama had tried to do all he could to get rid of God and even persecute Christians. One such example is the Little Sisters of the Poor who were told they had to carry insurance that offered abortion coverage even if this was against the Catholic Sisters’ beliefs. Obama also did not like our Constitution and was trying to change everything he could. Hillary was going to continue what Obama started.

I voted for Trump because he brought God back into our lives and he was bringing the Constitution back to where our forefathers wrote it in the first place. Trump was right in saying he wanted to make America great again. Having God in our lives is very important to me. Jesus said to follow Him.

Hillary Clinton herself said she wanted to change the deep-rooted beliefs of Christians. She did not want God in our lives either because it clashed with her beliefs and her agendas. I believe that God allowed Trump to win and for Hillary to be defeated because of this. Everyone was stunned to see that Trump won, even Trump himself. Trump called Hillary “crooked Hillary” because of all the things she did and which to this day has not been addressed and justice has not been served. Democrats have gone to great lengths to cover things up. Hillary did terrible things to make sure Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race and I believe she with her co-conspirators were doing things to make sure she won the presidential election. This is why she and others were in shock when Trump won. However she did not count on God’s intervention.

What most people do not realize is that the real battle going on is between God and the devil, the good spirits versus the bad spirits. How do we handle hate? How do we handle bad spirits? Out of love we pray for our enemies. Love must increase and hate decrease. Hate makes the bad spirits increase and love makes the bad spirits decrease. It is good to pray for wisdom and discernment asking God to help us see the truth.

Ann C. Levasseur

Answers needed

I have spent the greater part of my life in the Pro-Life movement protecting the born and the unborn and I feel that I have a voice to speak to the unconscionable damage inflicted on our children, in the past and the present, by Roman Catholic clergy (priests, bishops and cardinals). Prayer and reparation go a long way but until full disclosure is made, there will be no healing.

We the laity are suffering. We are saddened and sickened. But we need to have a voice — not through another council or committee of bishops, but through the faithful laity who will expose without fear the damage that has been done to the victims and to the Church.

No more cover-ups. No more concessions to homosexual men who have hidden within the confines of our seminaries. No more Cardinal McCarricks who have risen through the ranks and been protected by other bishops who are equally culpable. 

We the laity need answers and we respectfully request that answers be given. No more obfuscation! No more equivocation! We deserve more and will monitor these investigations and hopefully find healing when the perpetrations have been revealed and sanctioned. 

We are the faithful and we believe that the Church will survive this horror because God promised to be with us always.

Doris Toohill

Beg for God’s mercy

In recent weeks, our Catholic Liturgy has focused on an essential teaching of our faith, that the bread and wine consecrated at Mass by a duly ordained priest, is miraculously transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, truly God and man. During this same period, our newspapers, including The Anchor, have reported yet another horrific chapter of the sex abuse scandal involving Catholic priests, this time extending up the hierarchical ladder to a cardinal and far beyond the American boundaries. Since 2002, public disclosers have shocked us.

How could these evil incidents happen and on such a wide scale? We know that the Sacrament of Holy Orders instills in a priest an indelible mark, originating with the Apostles and passed on to him through the laying of hands by bishops in an unbroken line since the time of Christ enabling him to consecrate the Eucharist. That Sacrament also opens a flow of special graces promoting his Sanctification. At every Mass he holds the Almighty God-Man Jesus in his hands and consumes Him, another source of holiness.

I submit this priest who then engages in repetitive mortal sin without repenting has lost his faith in the Real Presence in contradiction of the dogmas of our faith, or, he is possessed of the devil. In either event, they are acts of the devil and the consequences to the victims of the abuse and to the Mystical Body of Christ are devastating. More than two generations of youth have been lost, many predating the public disclosures because of the scandal was already well known even though not in the news. Many of those fallen away Catholics conflated the meaning of “Church” with the evildoers.

Which leads to another egregious evil, the cover-up by our ecclesiastical leaders who failed to recognize the work of the devil. I wonder if they believe that the devil is real. Thus those who left the Mystical Body have good cause for their disaffection. Faithful Catholics are dwindling in number and are becoming a remnant. The works of Satan pervade our culture. The wrath of God may come upon us.

It is time for the whole Catholic Church to beg for God’s mercy. We, including the entire hierarchy, should follow the examples of the people of Nineveh in the Book of Jonah!

Raymond V. Picard
Fall River

Support for our Church

 Another Church crisis. It is not the first, it will not be the last. A greater cleansing will come, and the Church will be better and stronger. Only God knows why we are going through this, but just that fact that He knows is comforting. Jesus Himself chose rascals, Peter and Judas, for example. One honored Him, one betrayed Him. 

And so it continues to this day. Some of Jesus’ own disciples left Him after the Last Supper, for reasons various and sundry, just as good people today will do the same. However, and it is a major comforting however, others will not only keep the faith, but will fight to cleanse it and protect it as they have the courage and empowerment by the Holy Spirit to do so. God’s Will be done, and God bless our faithful Church, consisting of all levels of clergy and laity. We are many, and we will prevail.

Daryl Gonyon
Fall River

FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR: As I mentioned in the previous edition, this will be the end of political letters for now, but letters regarding the crisis in the Church are still welcome. The editor reserves the right to condense or edit for clarity if deemed necessary. Letters should be typed, and include name, address, and telephone number. Letters do not necessarily reflect the editorial views of The Anchor.

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