I will remain faithful to my Catholic faith
This morning, as the church bells tolled announcing the 9 a.m. daily Mass at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Santa Fe, a remnant of the faithful prayed. They continued to pray silently, awaiting the entrance of the celebrant. Right on time, two (yes two) priests emerged from the sacristy to say Mass, the Rev. James Sanchez, pastor, and a visiting priest.
During Mass, the priest offered prayers for all priests, bishops, cardinals and Pope Francis. He also prayed for the church, the sick, the dying and our government leaders.
Why daily Mass? The Catholic Church is judged by the world through what it sees and what it believes to be the Catholic Church. However, the Catholic Church is much more than the clergy, cathedrals and rituals. The Catholic Church is the life-giving source of sanctifying grace.
Sanctifying grace, which is high-octane fuel for the immortal soul, is received through the seven sacraments (baptism, confirmation, reconciliation, Holy Communion, holy orders, matrimony and anointing of the sick). When the faithful attend Mass, they receive the body and blood of Christ (Holy Communion) and thereby receive their spiritual fuel for the day.
Today, the church is in the midst of an abominable scandal. Truly, the smoke of Satan has infiltrated the church and it must be cleansed. As Jesus cleansed the money changers from the Temple, so too will He cleanse the church of those who are responsible for these sexual atrocities, past and present. Christ will cleanse His church of those who have been identified as committing these vile deeds, as well as those who hide under the mantel of their priesthood. Equally guilty are those in authority who have protected the perpetrators.
If the buck truly stops at the top, then the bishops of the church are equally guilty for any cover-up or perpetuation of this evil within the church.
Might they ask themselves, “What kind of bishop am I?” “Am I truly a Father to my priests?” “Do I offer them spiritual sustenance?” “Can they openly come to me when they are in distress?” “Am I aware of their personal, spiritual and temporal needs?” “Do I love the priests whom Jesus has given to me to love, support and nourish in their priesthood?”
Priests are ground zero of the Catholic Church. Without priests there are no sacraments. Without sacraments, the church is stripped of sanctifying grace.
I, as a Catholic, will remain faithful to my Catholic faith because Jesus is the Catholic Church. It is in Him that I believe, it is Him whom I love, and it is Him whom I trust. He founded the church, He instituted the sacraments, and it was He who endowed the sacraments with his sanctifying grace.
Lorraine Rodriguez is a Consecrated Marian Catechist with the Marian Catechist Apostolate, whose International Director is His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke. She lives in Santa Fe. Its headquarters are at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wis. http://mariancatechist.com/memberships_requirements_forms.html