The story is told about a rich and powerful Emperor who ruled over vast lands and countless people. He called together all the wisest men and women and told them, “I am not sure why, but something is causing me to seek a ring that will help bring me balance in my life. When I am unhappy, it will make me joyful. When I am overjoyed, it will make me sad.” After a month or so, the wise men and women present the Emperor with a gold ring on which were engraved these four words: “This, too, will pass.”
Now more than ever, I need to be reminded of the truth of those four, simple words. No words can justify the abuse of anyone, particularly and especially children. Those who do so will answer to God and to the courts (if they are still alive). Our state Attorney General has decided to take the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to court. Even though most of the culprits are dead, we will be forced to relive despicable crimes in lurid details even though it will change nothing. The Church has already offered help to unfortunate victims. The Diocese has already done every thing that can be done to fix a broken system.
When is all of this going to end? I don’t know. But it will pass. The Church will survive. Our parish will continue to be blessed by God’s people. Children and adults will be baptized. Children, youth, and adults will receive First Communion and be confirmed. Sins will be forgiven and guilt will be released through Reconciliation. People will pledge themselves to one another in the Sacrament of Matrimony. The sick will be visited and anointed. The dying will be comforted and the dead buried with the help of loving parishioners.
Our faith must always be in Jesus Christ. We can always count on him because, as the Letter to the Hebrews tells us, “Jesus is the same: yesterday, today, and forever.” Our faith isn’t in a priest, bishop, or pope. Our faith is in God who created, redeems, and makes us holy.