If, in 1947, the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania had rent its garments over the first case of priestly abuse, parading its ugliness in front of the world, the next 70 years in that Church would have been different. There are a thousand practical reforms that can and should be undertaken to prevent future abuses — many have already been put in place. But first the concomitant sin of pride needs to be addressed, embroidered vestments traded for sackcloth and ashes — perhaps literally. Spiritual and moral leadership from the American Catholic Church in the foreseeable future will need to be of a radical kind — a Christian kind, you might say. The Church will need to become an institution sui generis in American society, humbly open about the human filth ringing its central spiritual and moral treasures. The Church Penitent. Keeping up the appearance of holiness will no longer work.
This change would be beautiful in a dark, illuminating way. Our society is drowning in self-acquittal, even — especially — in this age of perpetual, disingenuous, PR-composed apologies. Could the Catholic Church be the first institution to present itself as containing simple, undeniable wickedness, and swathed to the point of immersion in the ugliest fluids of our condition? Could it present itself as sibling to sinners, pining for a grace it in no way deserves, wounded but pointing toward the light? This would be a new kind of Church, and also very old. If this is indeed where the American Church is headed, all people of good will should hope that she succeeds and comes back from this self-inflicted wound stronger, because openly, unabashedly, and beautifully weak.
9. Christine Rosen reflecting on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous upon the death of Robin Leach.
10. It makes me feel better about the world knowing this exists:
It’s September! And that means that “Buy a Nun a Book Day” will soon be upon us. (It’s “the most wonderful time of the year” for some of us…) Our novices, especially, need some newer titles in Scripture study for their bookshelves; https://t.co/X2MST4WTCG#StHildegard#Sept17 pic.twitter.com/JdeprTWfNC
— Sister Anne (@nunblogger) September 4, 2018
By the way, that letter to Pope Francis from women who love the Church and her doctrine has over 30,000 signatures.
And: Here’s my latest syndicated column: “The Tears of a Grieving Church”