I have not downloaded or read the McCarrick Report. I have barely read any news reports about it. This is a big change for this blog. Fifteen years ago, I would have felt it my duty to read and comment on it as soon as it was available, letting all my readers know what I thought important, pulling out all the lessons we should take from it. But not any more. At least not right now.
After two decades of this stuff, including a stint working inside the Church, I just can’t muster up the same old outrage. Maybe I’m mellowing in my old age. In any case, I don’t see how my own kvetching adds anything of value to the discussion. And perhaps I am put off by the over-the-top hot-takes by certain Catholic social media personalities who gin up the clicks by competing with one another to say the most “sure to go viral” thing.
However, there was at least one analysis worth reading and sharing, and that was from my friend Fr. David Barnes. He wrote at his blog, “A Shepherd’s Post” about the spiritual lesson he gleaned from the report and its tales of institutional clerical corruption:
What should the Church do? I have no idea. I’m sure lots of people will have plenty of good suggestions and advice. My initial reaction is more about, “What can I do?” I can read about saintly priests and try to imitate them. I can surround myself with friends who help me to grow in holiness. I can be a whole lot more humble. I can focus my attention less on all of the “big” picture stuff in the Church and focus on the little section of the vineyard that the Lord has entrusted to me.
This is good advice, and not just for Fr. Barnes and his brother priests. Because unless you’re the Pope or a Cardinal or a bishop, there’s not much you can do about any of this. But what you can do is to focus on your mission, your call, your vocation, your corner of the vineyard. The Lord has given you a set of talents specifically for you to be steward of and unless you’re Pope Francis reading this or a bonafide 21st-century St. Catherine or St. Francis or St. Charles Borromeo, then fixing the corruption in the Church isn’t it.
The reform of the Church and the witnessing to the power and glory of Jesus Christ starts with my own personal discipleship in my own life with the people around me. Don’t despair. If the Lord wants to fix the Church, then He’ll have to do it. I’ll just take care of my little corner of it.