Since my recent post on the clerical abuse scandal, I have been alerted to good homilies on the issue which were delivered last November, when the Royal Commission was announced.
I was on holidays at the time, so although I watched the occasional press conference, I wasn’t plugged into the blogosphere and related media. I probably wasn’t even aware of the low morale of the time. That’s the context of these homilies.
The first homily was delivered by Fr Greg Morgan, a Sydney priest who like me was ordained in 2011. Unlike me, he is still in his mid-twenties, and I think he currently holds the title of ‘Australia’s youngest priest.’
His homily is something of a rallying cry. It’s not my style, but I like it nonetheless. In fact, there is only one major point on which I would diverge. At 5:40, Fr Greg declares “I love the Catholic Church not for any bishop or priest or layperson, but because I love Christ.” That’s probably sounder theology than my own, but to be honest, I love the Church not just for Jesus Christ, but also for her saints. I never tire of reading the lives of canonised saints. And I’m also edified by “living saints” — that is, people whom I meet whose faith and holiness is almost tangible. It is largely (though not exclusively) through them that I have come to love Christ and his Church.
This is the single most compelling reason I know for all of us to aspire to sanctity. So that each of us can, in a similar way, attract others to Christ. (It’s also why even the most private sin committed by a Christian damages the whole Church.)
In the end, it’s only a minor divergence, since Fr Greg finishes his homily by expounding the universal call to holiness.
The other homily is quite different in style. It’s much more sober for a start. That should come as no surprise to anyone who knows Fr Justin, whose comments on this blog share the same sobriety, and whose clear thinking betrays his extensive background in philosophy. I think philosophers tend to be more sober and cautious in their expression, by training if not by temperament.
A parishioner requested a copy of this homily after it was delivered, and from there it quickly circulated through various online channels. I received it three times in 24 hours from independent sources.
Both these homilies serve as a counterbalance to my previous post. I like them both. But that’s not a disendorsement of Fr Rolheiser’s article. These homilies do not contradict his article. In fact I think they complement it, insofar as they elaborate upon a very complex issue.