The more things change, the more they stay the same. Yes, we have a new pope, His Holiness Pope Francis. People all over the world are trying to decide what kind of pope he will be. Well guess what? He will be an awesome pope because God has appointed him! Will he make mistakes? Sure. Will he lead the people of the Church Universal and people of good will on earth towards holiness? Absolutely!
The usual chorus of detractors are doing what they do best: doubting and maligning the Catholic Church. Some organizations, and you know who you are, will never be happy until the Church falls. You will go to your death and not see that happen. The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.
There is such a need for reform (and the Lord told St. Francis, after whom our pope is named, to reform the Church), and we have been seeing reform in recent years when it comes to abuse. That said, there is much more room for improvement. So much outreach needs to be done.
The road to healing for the abused is different for each one of us. Somewhere along the line, there needs to be a sense of justice and letting go. My abuser met his justice. It is called particular judgement. He faced the Lord on an August day some 14 years ago. He is the one who abused me, not an institution. They did not enable it. I am still working on letting go, of forgiving. Just when I think I have completed that process, a surge of anger rises within me and I’m sent reeling again. Time to let go A-gain.
To hang on to it is destructive to me. To do something to help the problem from within the Church is both therapeutic and helpful to other victims. I have completed one project aimed towards victims who are sitting in the pews – alone, in shame, and not knowing where to turn. It is getting in the hands of every victim who goes through the diocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection. It is also in the hands of diocesan priests and going to parishes. Another project is in the works, and potentially two others on the national level. A difference is being made from within, a difference that is already making a difference to victims.
Healthy victim outreach from within the Church can start victims on the road to true healing through Jesus Christ. It is not the kind of outreach that breeds anger and resentment that is so destructive.
You can make a difference to help lead the abused to our Healer, where true peace can be found. Don’t wait for the pope alone to do it, or the bishop, or some “victim group” (that will keep you as a perpetual victim rather than a survivor). Help others move towards Jesus, and you will help yourself move towards peace.