Sunday, May 26, 2019


 Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles said his new book addressing the church’s sexual abuse crisis and urging Catholics to “stay and fight for the body of Christ” comes from his “pastor’s heart.”
“It is simply my statement coming out of my whole life as a  Catholic - 33 years as a priest, almost four years as a bishop,” he said in a podcast posted on YouTube May 13. The release date of his book “Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis.” The book was published by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, which was founded by Bishop Barron. He gave an overview of the 125-page book in the podcast with Brandon Vogt, Word on Fire’s content director.
It is his attempt, he explained, to respond to the pastoral needs of Catholics demoralized by the abuse crisis and who are grieving over what it is doing to the church. He said he wants to give them encouragement and hope and show “that there is a clear path forward for us today.”
 In the podcast, Vogt tells viewers that Word on Fire’s goal “is to get this book out to as many Catholics as possible and to do that we’re trying to make it as cost effective as possible.”
Bishop Barron said that as the Los Angeles Archdiocese’s regional bishop for the Santa Barbara area, he has seen firsthand the grief of many Catholics over the abuse scandal. In the wake of the scandal over former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick last summer and fall, as he visited parishes in his region, many people “came up to me not so much in anger but in deep grief, I would say, with tears in their eyes, in grief over the church.”
There are five chapters titled: “The Devil’s Masterpiece,” “Light from Scripture,” “We Have Been Here Before,” “Why Should We Stay” and “The Way Forward.” There is a concluding section followed by a “Prayer for a Suffering Church.”
U.S. residents can get one copy free by going to the website Recipients must cover shipping and handling; the site also has instructions for a digital download for those outside of the United States.
Vogt added that parishes and Catholic groups that order 20 or more copies can get them for $1 apiece with free shipping. Other resources include a parish “launch kit,” an FAQ for priests and parish staff, and a five-part video series by Bishop Barron.
Asked his response to a recent Gallup poll revealing that 37 percent of Catholics are considering leaving the church due to the sexual abuse crisis, Bishop Barron said in the podcast that “it broke my heart … but there is never a good reason to leave the church.”

“I understand emotionally, I understand why people feel deep frustration. I feel it,” said, “but there’s never a good reason to absent oneself from the font of grace, to leave the mystical [body] of Jesus [no matter] how badly church people behave or how grave the sin is on the part of church people.”
He added: “My prayer is that these reflections might encourage Catholics who are attempting to navigate today in very choppy waters.”

1 comment:

  1. I confess that as the former employee of a bishop, I am skeptical of any bishop who appears to be more concerned about the suffering of the church than about the suffering of those who were abused. I -- and presumably the 37% of Catholics who are considering leaving the church -- will be more impressed when I see the church taking steps to alleviate the causes of the abuse instead of just worrying about diminishing coffers and congregations. But then, I believe the body of Christ extends beyond the doors of the Catholic Church, so I'm not convinced those who leave are "absenting themselves from the font of grace." God's grace is infinite and everywhere.