February 24,2019


I am writing these words on Saturday, February 16 (before the Bishops’ meeting, which will take place in Rome February21-24). You will be reading these words just as the Bishops’ meeting is concluding.

We did receive a letter from the Massachusetts bishops for all of our parishioners, but it arrived too late for last week’s bulletin, so you will find it inserted into this week’s bulletin.

I wrote a letter to Cardinal O’Malley and to some other Church leaders about a month ago, expressing my hopes for the Bishops’ meeting. I received a note from Cardinal O’Malley, thanking me for my ministry and my advice.

I realize how angry and frustrated many Catholics are about the entire sexual abuse crisis and the lack of accountability shown by Church leadership. Most Catholics are very aware of the February meeting and are hoping that trust and respect can be restored in the Catholic Church. Some believe it is too late.

Our first concern must be to acknowledge and support all victims of sexual abuse everywhere, and especially those who have been violated by priests and others in ministry in the Catholic Church. They are truly “survivors” and deserve to tell their story and have it heard. Our continual prayers are with them as they continue to pursue recovery and healing.

There are organizations and movements in the Church and the world today that have convinced the hierarchy and leadership of the Church that every decision they make will be analyzed and evaluated. Years ago, the faithful of the Church entrusted all decision-making to those in authority. Those days are now gone, because so many feel betrayed by Church authorities. I know some wonderful Catholic people who are working hard 24 hours a day to convince those in leadership positions in the Church to be faithful to the Gospel and accountable to their congregation.

Catholic people today, I believe, are the reason the Bishops are meeting this week. Normal, everyday Catholics have now decided that they will walk away physically, spiritually, and financially if they are not heard. There is a lot of attention being paid to the conversations and dialogues that will take place February 21-24. For many Catholics who want to continue to celebrate their faith and the sacraments in their parish, they need a reason to believe that our leadership is as committed to the Church as they are. They question that. Crimes have been committed, and the normal, average Catholic needs to see that the consequences are being pursued.

Those decisions are presently in the hands of the leaders of the International Bishops’ Conference under the leadership of Pope Francis.


Father Coyne


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