The Catholic Sun

July 30, 2019

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted

We come now to the sixth and final column of this series addressing the recent scandals that have so hurt the Church. The title of this series comes from the words of the Second Vatican Council which eloquently explained that “the Church, however, clasping sinners to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal” (“Lumen Gentium” 8). These prophetic words issued in a time of relative calm and stability more than 50 years ago speak truth that can stabilize and encourage us today.

Having looked squarely at the scandals and underlying causes, then at current questions regarding the priesthood, signs of renewal as well as the work being done to ensure the safety of youth and vulnerable adults, I would now like to look toward the renewal of the priesthood in light of one underlying virtue that will be important for its healing: the virtue of reverence.

While the word “reverence” may recall ideas about attire or behavior at church, it includes much more. In a broad sense, reverence is the virtue by which we acknowledge mystery in creation, ourselves, our neighbors and, most especially, in God. Reverence is a fundamental disposition of anyone who is seeking life’s deepest meaning. It is the humble recognition that there is more to life than we can see and feel and control.

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