With all the news about Cardinal McCarrick and the Pittsburgh grand jury report, the harsh criticism in today’s first Mass reading from Ezekiel seems perfectly directed against Church officials:
Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves! Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep? You have fed off their milk, worn their wool, and slaughtered the fatlings, but the sheep you have not pastured. You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick not bind the injured [nor we might add – protect the children]… Thus says the Lord God: I am coming against these shepherds. I will… put a stop to their shepherding so that they may no longer pasture themselves.
The time for simple apologies and promises to do better have long past.
Convening a panel of bishops is not an adequate response.
Nor is it an answer to say that the laity should pray and fast in reparation, as I have heard a number of people suggest. I’d be happy to hear that the bishops are all fasting and praying in reparation for their sins. But all I have heard is suggestions that the laity do so. Don’t get me wrong. I already pray for the church and its victims every day. But the reparation has to be on the part of those who committed the wrongdoing.
Only a real structural change that removes the conditions that invite and allow the shepherds to pasture themselves rather than act for the good of God’s people will restore the credibility of the Church.