Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 22 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Ndoc Suma
home iconChurch
line break icon

Bishop Barron’s ‘Letter to a Suffering Church’ a worthwhile read

BISHOP BARRON

Word on Fire

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 05/19/19

He's plenty frank about what we're facing, but he also urges us to stay in the Church, and help.

If you had to outline the contents of the “Good News,” what would you include? How many points would be on the list? And in what order? Why is it that Jesus and his Church are worth embracing, even in difficulty?

Giving such a summary of the Good News is a thought experiment that Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, well known for his Word on Fire ministry and Catholicism series, has taken up in a new, short book called Letterto a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis.

The book is a call to Catholics to “stay and fight” — because according to a statistic Barron cites, in the wake of the sex abuse scandals, 37% of Catholics are seriously considering leaving the Church.

To make his case, Bishop Barron provides foundation for what he admits is a blunt affirmation:

There is simply never a good reason to leave the Church. Never. Good reasons to criticize Church people? Plenty. Legitimate reasons to be angry with corruption, stupidity, careerism, cruelty, greed, and sexual misconduct on the part of leaders of the Church? You bet. But grounds for turning away from the grace of Christ in which eternal life is found? No. Never, under any circumstances.

Bishop Barron offers five concrete “reasons to stay.” But these come after a frank summary of the depths the crisis has sunk to, including some of its horrifying details. Barron is not inviting Catholics to turn a blind eye, or to simply carry on with the status quo. He recognizes the anger, knows it’s justified, and nevertheless wants to keep people from abandoning the Eucharist, and all that the Church, and only the Church, can offer.

The five-point outline of the great gifts of the Church is a helpful and clear review, while the chapter on the crisis itself is an overview that is sickeningly familiar at this point. But the two chapters that might be most enlightening are on the scriptural and historical analysis of the scandal.

The historical comparisons — which, Bishop Barron is careful to point out, don’t exonerate anybody today — might be vaguely familiar from school-age classwork, but the scriptural analysis will probably strike many Catholics as new and enlightening information. And the quick line-up of saints who have come to the rescue during particularly difficult eras of humanity’s history will remind you that there are plenty of people to be proud of, too.

A benefactor has ensured that this book can get into a lot of hands, with parishes only paying $1 a copy for bulk orders, and individuals getting it free if they pay shipping costs.

It’s a brief read, and worth it.

See how to make the book into a parish resource here.


POPE BENEDICT XVI

Read more:
Benedict XVI weighs in on causes of sex abuse in the Church

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
KIDS,WATERMELON,BEACH
Cerith Gardiner
New study shows that these 2 childhood habits make you a happier ...
2
EUCHARIST
Philip Kosloski
5 Fascinating facts about Jesus in the Eucharist
3
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
4
HEART OF JESUS
Bret Thoman, OFS
“Jesus, you take care of it”: Prayer of a priest Padr...
5
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
6
PRINCE PHILIP
Cerith Gardiner
The lasting lesson from the late Prince Philip
7
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.