Truth, and only truth, must be the mantra of the Church
This week’s editorial
Over the past week, there has been a great deal of talk about the need for reform of the Catholic Church. Recent revelations, we are told, illustrate the need for the Catholic Church to radically rethink its approach to celibacy, homosexuality and plenty else besides, critics tell us.
But the ‘reform’ the Church really needs is for its members to tell the truth—to themselves and others.
Global examples of senior Catholics practising the art of deception have come to light in the past few years—misguided lies to protect themselves; to hide child abuse; and, all too often, to ‘protect’ the Church. What the Church needs is not more deceit, it needs men and women brave enough to be honest.
At this time, as in many others, the words of Christ provide welcoming illumination; “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Too many in the Church have been living, for too long, in prisons of their own deception. That is a tragedy.
What has become increasingly evident after the past week is that there are members of the priesthood who are undergoing profound personal suffering. The Catholic Church is and should be a place of great joy, but joy and deception cannot survive in the same body.
Deception allowed to go on for too long grows and multiplies like a cancer, while joy withers and dies. That deception can lead to some into dark, dark places.
None of us should rush to judgement. We are all sinners. First, foremost and always, our Church is a Church of love and its door is always open.
All of us, at times, have had to repent and there is no one we can or should deny forgiveness too. All of us stumble, all of us are weak, but there is nothing that is made better with lies.
Truth, and only truth, must be the mantra of the Church.
While speaking of truth, the Church would do well to leaven that truth with compassion; compassion for those in the Church who falter and for those outside it as well.
Yes, there are plenty of people gleefully chortling at our distress but the time has come to fight fire with love.
The Church in Scotland will come through this crisis, but it will heal far easier, and more quickly, if we make truth and love our watchwords.
In this way we will find a new beginning for the Church in Scotland, one that is much needed, but in tune with the rebirth that is constantly occurring throughout the Church. This Lent, we await the election of a new Pope; for new members of the Episcopal hierarchy in Scotland and for the new beginning that Christ rising at Easter heralds.