I received a letter from St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana recently. This is the Benedictine monastery that is home to about 80 monks, priests, and brothers that organizes and administers the Permanent Deacon formation program from which I was ordained in 2012.
I expected that the letter would be a request for money. But it was a quite different letter. It was from Fr. Dennis Robinson, the colorful rector of the seminary. The letter acknowledges that the Church, “has been bruised by the sinful and abhorrent actions of men we trusted to lead us to Jesus Christ.” (It is a sign of this sad state that Cardinal McCarrick was recently defrocked and is no longer a priest.) He goes on to assure those served by the Archabbey that the next generation of priests, permanent deacons, and lay ministers will be “courageous and authentic shepherds” of the Church. It continues that the people of God deserve ministers of prayer, who are intelligent and willing to “pour out their lives at the altar of this world’s challenges.” He is filled with hope at the men and women who go through St. Meinrad proclaiming God’s reign, justice, and kingdom through their talent and courage. Finally, he notes that “if I have to drop dead doing it” priests, deacons and lay ministers will serve the Church well, provide the ministry it deserves, and represent the Church without compromise.
Let us all work through this crisis in the Church not by abandoning it, but with resolve, hope, and courage. This Church, the bride of Christ, the home of the people of God will not be so easily stopped. It has faced many significant challenges over the years. The Holy Spirit and the strong will of all of us who love the Church will persist.