Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Bishops' Keeper

Dom has a very interesting point in his post about the Diocese of San Diego declaring bankruptcy. I'll let him do the talking first:

However we got here, with whomever the fault lies, the fact is that it is the whole Church that must dig ourselves out of this mess. The solution isn’t just found in the Pope or the bishops or the priests, but in all of us because we are all the People of God, the Body of Christ, a Universal Family.

I’m afraid the worst may be yet to come, but I believe that it behooves the rest of us to continue to pray, repent, and reform. Yes, I said repent, because if there’s one lesson we learn in the Scriptures, it is that the sins of my brother are indeed my responsibility. For whose sins did Christ climb that cross? His? Of course not. It was our sins He carried and for which He suffered and in that He taught us a valuable lesson about how to conduct ourselves. We are our brother’s keepers and our duty is not just to point out faults and complain and demand that someone else clean up the mess, but for us to start with ourselves and to pray and sacrifice. And, yes, to point out the problems and complain too. No one says we have to be silent about the problems we see, but we can’t be passive observers either.
Now if that isn't a Lenten message, I don't know what is. I, for a variety of reasons, have begun flipping through Genesis recently which is the reason for the post title. We cannot be the Cains of the modern world asking God, "am I my brother's keeper?" and acting as if there was never anything we could have done differently, even in the slightest way.

Someone, somewhere will tell me this is suggesting the laity are to blame for the abuse scandal. Remeber Dom's words: "we are all the People of God, the Body of Christ, a Universal Family." You are your Bishop's keeper, and that duty starts with prayer for him and continues with repentance and reform on our parts to help him do his job. As a liturgical nit, I often have thought that the "in union with XXX our Pope, YYY our Bishop..." section of the prayer was always under-valued. Yet another opportunity for good catechesis.