Posted by: sisterbernice | June 11, 2010

SNAP – a fitting acronym???

The Year for Priests comes to an end officially but I hope we will all keep praying.  Praying for, and with, priests was my inspiration last week and so I will add that prayer intention in my prayers. 

I entitled this entry:  SNAP- a fitting acronym???.  It really is a question.  SNAP refers to the group of survivors of priest sexual abuse (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).  Today, when the Holy Father once again asked for forgiveness, SNAP members weren’t ready to forgive.  An apology is not enough.  And, one member said that the apology was one of many and we’ve reached “apology fatigue”.  Given the media abuse of the Holy Father that he hadn’t apologized enough and that SNAP is almost always quoted by the media, I began to get agitated.  I didn’t like becoming agitated.  I think the victims have every right to their pain, their anger, their righteous call for justice. 

I also think that there is nothing that will satisfy them or anyone else because it cannot be undone, cannot be policed and will happen again.  Changing the church doesn’t stop the problem because it is not just a church problem – it happens in Protestant communities, schools, families etc.  Replacing bishops and having a global policy won’t stop it either.  So their cause is noble but their solutions will not meet their intention.  Many will remain angry.  There is only one thing that can heal – forgiveness and vigilance.

So, SNAP:  is it a fitting acronym? -one could say yes as they SNAP at the church with angry sounds.  Yes,  they make demands – ‘Snap to it Pope – give us a global policy, get rid of the Bishops, etc..’.  They want to bite at the church.  But a snap is also a small cookie that is easily consumed by others.  Are they also that kind of Snap??? – caught up in a larger and more complex phenomenon in which they are unwittingly used in a larger battle? Will they be consumed in this larger battle???  And if this is the case, SNAP is the sound we hear when something breaks.  Will SNAP in the future refer not just to an empowered group of people fighting for justice but also – the sound of people breaking?     The impossibility of their goals and the conjecture that they are caught up in something much larger than themselves leads me to think we will see their souls even more fractured.  And, I fear without healing that is what will happen to them. 

Healing as forgiveness and vigilance – What are we to be vigilant about – well – I think it is faith – we must really be faithful.  To put it another way – man and woman are capable of great evil – let’s not hide it or forget about it.  Let’s not dismiss “evil” as an old-fashioned label or idea.  It exists.  We see it every day.  Sexual abuse is just one of its many forms.  We can’t police it but we can drive it away from our neighborhoods by being vigilant:  watching, discerning, testing, etc.  We need to believe in the power of prayer and trust God when we ourselves think of doing evil – Let’s trust in the power of that prayer – the Our Father to keep us from temptation and to deliver us from evil.

I will continue to ponder.  There is so much hurt — Let us all pray for healing.   As always, I pray all the prayers on this blog, I abstained from meat and am thinking of adding Friday fasting as I find in my weakness I give myself permission to indulge in other foods on Fridays now and that is not a penance, I will pray the sorrowful mysteries and I will add the following prayer by St. Therese of Lisieux for priests:

 ‘O Holy Father, may the torrents of love flowing from the sacred wounds of Thy Divine Son bring forth priests like unto the beloved disciple John who stood at the foot of the Cross; priests: who as a pledge of Thine own most tender love will lovingly give Thy Divine Son to the souls of men.

May Thy priests be faithful guardians of Thy Church, as John was of Mary, whom he received into his house. Taught by this loving Mother who suffered so much on Calvary, may they display a mother’s care and thoughtfulness towards Thy children. May they teach souls to enter into close union with Thee through Mary who, as the Gate of Heaven, is specially the guardian of the treasures of Thy Divine Heart.

Give us priests who are on fire, and who are true children of Mary, priests who will give Jesus to souls with the same tenderness and care with which Mary carried the Little Child of Bethlehem.

Mother of sorrows and of love, out of compassion for Thy beloved Son, open in our hearts deep wells of love, so that we may console Him and give Him a generation of priests formed in thy school and having all the tender thoughtfulness of thine own spotless love.’

(prayer can be found here


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