Recently during one of my daily radio programs, I invited listeners to call in with their questions and concerns regarding the current scandals facing the Catholic Church. On the air with me that day to offer advice, perspective and Catholic direction was Father John Riccardo of the Archdiocese of Detroit. In addition to being the pastor at a very large and active parish, Father John is also an author, a much sought-after speaker and the host of one of our most popular programs on Ave Maria Radio and EWTN, “Christ is the Answer.”
The callers were all very concerned, asking about the best course of action they should take individually as well as within their parishes and dioceses. There were a lot of emotions expressed: anger, frustration, feelings of betrayal, as well as a deep sadness for the victims of sexual abuse past and present. One caller in particular was truly despondent; so much so that he told us he was ready to give up and walk away from Catholicism all together. He had had enough, he explained, and just didn’t see much hope for the future of the Church.
Thanks be to God, many other callers came to the man’s rescue, including one man who had been sexually abused by a family member years ago. He shared how, through the sacraments, he was able to find healing for himself and, eventually, forgive his abuser. He also expressed how he didn’t think he would have gotten to that point without the gifts of our Faith.
In addition to that brave caller sharing his story, I also told our listeners that walking away is never the answer because we would actually be walking away from Jesus himself; the same Jesus who founded the Church on the rock of St. Peter and who promised us that, no matter how bad the attacks and whether those attacks come from outside or inside, the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. We would be walking away, Father John added, from the greatest gift we have: Jesus in the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith.
The time on the air with Father John and our listeners gave me the chance to share something that kept me from walking away years ago when I was going through a time of persecution within the Church. While that painful period no doubt pales greatly in comparison to what sexual abuse victims experience, it was definitely a dark and troubled time for me; a time which had me seeking the guidance of the same holy priest that was on the air with me. I shared with the radio audience how a simple question Father John asked back then has stuck with me ever since.
He asked me: “Is the Eucharist real? Are the Church teachings about Jesus in the Eucharist true? Are all the other teachings you write and speak about true?” Continue Reading at OSV Newsweekly.
What you can do spiritually during this crisis – Fr. Larry Richards
Our Sunday Visitor Webinars:
Media Matters with Teresa Tomeo, Co-Workers in the Kingdom: How & Why the Laity Must Boldly Respond to the Current Church Crisis, Part I, with guests theologian and professor Dr. Janet Smith and abuse survivor Faith Hakesley Johnston. (80 minutes)
Crisis in the Church: How Can We Heal Our Broken Hearts? with Dr. Gregory Popcak, director of CatholicCounselors.com (44 minutes)
Ave Maria Radio Shows About the Crisis:
Teresa Tomeo Interviews Fr. John Riccardo, Pastor, Our Lady of Good Counsel – Plymouth, MI
Teresa Tomeo Interviews Dr. Janet Smith, Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. Expert on Humanae Vitae, Author and speaks nationally and internationally on the Catholic teachings on sexuality and on bioethics.
Teresa Tomeo Interviews Peter Herbeck, Vice President and Director of Missions for Renewal Ministries.
Teresa Tomeo Interviews Fr. Thomas Berg, Hurting in the Church: A Way Forward For Wounded Catholics
Al Kresta Interviews Ralph Martin, President of Renewal Ministries, Author, Theologian, Professor and the director of Graduate Theology Programs in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He was named by Pope Benedict XVI as a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.
Al Kresta Interviews Fr Gerald Murray, JCD; Canon Lawyer and Pastor of Holy Family Church in the Archdiocese of New York.
Al Kresta Interviews Matthew Bunson, Author of more than fifty books, a historian, professor, editor, theologian, Senior Contributor for EWTN, Senior Fellow at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and Faculty Chair at Catholic Distance University.
“Dear Troubled Catholics – a Letter From Ralph Martin About the Current Crisis” Renewal Ministries
“A Severe Mercy: Our Time of Visitation” Peter Herbeck, Renewal Ministries
“Truth Is Needed to Free the Church From Sacrilege of Clergy Scandal” Fr. Roger Landry
“Janet Smith to Bishops: Save the Church, Tell Everything” NCRegister.com
“In the Midst of Clerical Misdeeds, a Crucial Moment for the Laity” Msgr. Charles Pope
“An Exorcist’s Perspective on the Sex Abuse Scandal” Patti Maguire Armstrong
“Praying in Crisis, The Sorrowful Mysteries at this Moment“, Elizabeth Scalia