Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another Idea Besides Public Penance

A deacon in Alaska, Deacon Charles Rohrbacher sent a letter to Deacon Greg Kandra who writes the popular blog for beliefnet called "The Deacon's Bench," with the idea that bishops (with deacons alongside them) should do public penance to atone for the sins and horrific acts of sexual abuse caused by some priests. Pope Benedict has called on the Church to do penance. Here is what the Deacon specifically suggests: "So here is my question for you. What if our bishops chose to do public penance? What if they lay prostrate or knelt in front of their cathedrals as penitents before each Mass on the weekend closest to the feast of St. Peter and Paul or on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or some other approrpriate day or days? Or, even better, on the first Friday of every month for the next year starting with the feast of the Sacred Heart or Sts. Peter and Paul? And what if we, as their deacons, as an order in the Church, in all humility, not only called on our bishops to do public penance, but offered to join them in it?" (Deacon Rohrbacher)
It's an interesting idea and perhaps some bishops will respond to the idea. In a previous blog, I noted that needed reparation, healing and settlements that were made to the victims of child abuse are necessary and important. Reaching out to console, as Pope Benedict did in Malta is also crucial for healing. The Church is working hard and has instituted many new policies to ensure this never happens again.  But there is something else that is needed, in my opinion, something more tangible.  I believe that added reparation or atonement is necessary for God. After all we are the Body of Christ, when one suffers, we all suffer (on some level) and we are all united to Christ. 
So my idea is that some kind of reparation that would help the poor, help struggling families and those in need.  A Reparation Fund-a fund whose sole purpose is to help the unfortunate, marginalized, the hungry, homeless etc. Of course, the Church already has Catholic agencies  that do great work in this area, but I'm speaking about a specific fund, to be set up within the agencies (perhaps), so that some tangible good for the poor, could come of this horrific crisis. Then bishops who felt compelled to donate could, or priests, or anyone else, could contribute to the fund to help the needy. It's just an idea I had. 
I keep wondering, "What is God's will in all this?" Our God is a God of goodness, unconditional love and truth. How can we make amends to God for the failures within the Church that hurt children and others? I don't know the answer but I think about it a lot.