Posted by: sisterbernice | November 19, 2010

“My house shall be a house of prayer”

There has been a lot in the news about the sex abuse scandal.  John Allen at the National Catholic Reporter has a piece on the media and the 2010 “crisis”.  The cardinals are meeting.  The German victims haven’t seen payment.  Some former Catholics have created small worship groups as the “Catholic” wave of the future – or at least, that’s why I think the New York Times wanted to print the story.  The former Catholics say it is in reaction to the sex abuse crisis.  As I have thought about it, I have come to the conclusion that the crisis really is in the past.  It is being used in the now for other purposes and I stand by another observation that I made that victims are potentially vulnerable to re-victimization by lawyers and the media.  It is a two-edged sword I realize.

I don’t know about you but I rarely hear about the Church as a house of prayer in any of these articles.  Always it’s about the Church as hierarchy and power.  Arrows are pointed always at the top figure.  Now I know many people hate Ratzinger or at least what he represents.  But many think and talk as if he is omniscient, omnipresent as well as omnipotent.  We all know that he is just as human as the rest of us.   He’s Peter.  We know that he took his time making decisions about laicizing priests.  But we also know that we don’t know much about any of his job, just like we don’t know much about each other’s jobs.  Yet we are quick to judge him and each other, aren’t we?.  But when we are “in the know”, it is much more complex than we ever thought.

We know that he really didn’t get power to do anything until 2002.  So, why do we like to beat him up?  a symbol, a scapegoat.  Oh yes- there is also the Hullerman case – and so, we beat him up because he was just like all the others.  I have a hard time with the Hullerman case because it was old news in the 1980s.  It made the papers then, it was known.  There was no “modern” cover up but well, that’s inconvenient.   Also, inconvenient is the truth that he did what most of us would do.

Please don’t deny that if you were he in 1980, you would have acted differently.  You would not.  Even today, you might not.   If I held up a mirror, our reflections would show how often when we didn’t know what to do, we did what the others do.  But, he did act, of all of them – he did – dare I say it – what if hadn’t? where would we be?  And, why he and others didn’t take action is much more complex than I know or could speculate about.

I do today want to speculate on one thing though – Cardinal Ratzinger wasn’t “in charge” of sex abuse.  He was in charge of the “doctrines of the faith”.  Prayer was his business.  Assuming that I will pass away after Joseph Ratzinger, when I die and get to see the first Peter, I won’t be surprised if Joseph Ratzinger is standing next to him.  Many of you, I realize,  might be surprised.  He has been a good and faithful servant in protecting the faith, protecting the Church from all sorts of onslaughts.  I wonder how many of us can say that we have stood our ground.  Or even, that in the face of biting criticism we have accepted the criticism of self and continue to move forward in the hopes of higher outcomes.  No, I don’t think many of us will be able to honestly say we’ve been able to do this.  I think he can because the Church for him – and please read him – is Christ’s Church and it is a house of prayer.  No wonder his weapons, the one the media dismisses, are all rooted in prayer.

Yes, “my house shall be a house of prayer” – it is part of today’s reading.   Ratzinger is not the pharisee, he is one of the people “hanging on his every word”.  He has led us to do the same in order to heal.  Again, if anyone out there is reading this – please pray – especially the rosary and join in at Eucharistic Adoration.  Remember the victims in your prayers and don’t leave out the Church which isn’t the hierarchy but truly is the Body of Christ.


Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things, saying to them,
“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves.”
And every day he was teaching in the temple area.
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,
were seeking to put him to death,
but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose
because all the people were hanging on his words.
but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose
because all the people were hanging on his words.


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