I believe the illumination of the sexual abuse and rape crisis in the Catholic Church is a necessary step toward healing our broke-down Body of Christ. I feel the need to express some emotional response to the sickening revelations of rape and abuse – and their root, which I believe is the foundational missteps in sexual formation and spirituality within the Catholic tradition. This psalm intends to express what psalms do: strong emotions and raw reactions.
Lament for the Catholic Church
O Holy Sacred Mystery.
O Foundation of Love.
O Ground of our Being and Reason for our Joy
What have we done?
When I look at the institution that helped me name your mysteries,
illumined your fantastic beauty,
taught me to pray,
encouraged me to dwell in awe,
to seek You among the poor and outcast…
how can it be that this same institution that bore so much fruit for me and many I know –
How can it be that this institution is so very sick?
Parts of our Body have been so malformed, and the malformation is fatal.
Our body now festers with infectious wounds;
The wounds gape in the wind, throbbing with pain for the whole Body
the poison has traveled through our bloodstream to all organs,
and it pumps through our heart.
It’s a virus made plain through the stories of sexual abuse, rape, manipulation.
They are legion.
It’s a sickness rooted in a willful ignorance of the movement of the Holy Spirit.
O God, for a people so well educated in discernment, attention to your Holy Spirit, reading the “signs of the times,”
we sure have fucked up.
Holy One, why do we ignore your scientific message
when it comes to sexuality and gender?
We cooperate when it comes to climate change.
Why not bodies and sex?
O God, we are afraid.
How can we be so afraid of our own bodies – when we worship a human body?
We eat it to commune with the divine.
O Holy Mother – I weep with you for the children and adults who were sexually abused, raped, molested.
By religious authority figures.
I vomit for the psychological torture they continue to endure.
I wail for the people who ended their lives by suicide
because the mental wounds were so damaging.
How could the torture go on for so long – and indeed –
When will we understand that it’s the whole body that is sick now?
Not just one infected limb we can amputate with trainings and psychological screenings – though those things have a place.
We are placing a bandaid on bullet wounds.
What is your Spirit revealing about our body? Where is your medicine for this infectious wound? What do we need to swallow, apply, soothe, and where do we need to amputate?
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
Set us on fire to incinerate all that is proud, self-serving, hiding, ashamed.
Light up the way forward, however, treacherous. Give us courage.
What is our next right move?
How do we heal this tainted body?