The Bocca della Verità, a symbol of truth-telling, stands outside Rome’s Basilica Santa Maria in Cosmedin. (Adobe Stock) images)
The Bocca della Verità, a symbol of truth-telling, stands outside Rome’s Basilica Santa Maria in Cosmedin. (Adobe Stock) images)

In the Gospels, Jesus places a great emphasis on the truth. In St. John’s Gospel he states, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). In his conversation with Pilate, Jesus says, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate responded, “What is Truth?” (John 18:37-38). Jesus declared himself to be the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6). So we should have no fear of the truth.

As the sad crisis in the Church over sexual abuse and misconduct and its cover-up continues to unfold, I have been thinking a lot about the truth. We need the truth, however painful it may be to hear it. We must, in a sense, answer Pilate’s question, “What is the truth?” Only the truth in this matter will make us free.

Full investigation

That is why I continue and will continue to advocate for a full, thorough and objective investigation into those things that have been alleged. We need to get it all out into the light now. The letters and emails I continue to receive confirm that the people of God demand it, and I firmly believe they have a right to it. Transparency and full accountability are the only way forward. Things need to change and reform is desperately needed. God willing, I have 17 more years as your archbishop, and I do not want to spend these years living through a slow trickle of these horrific accounts. We need to lance the boil. Only then can true healing in the Body of Christ take place.

Archbishop Viganò

The former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, has made some startling allegations in the midst of this whole tragedy. I have known Archbishop Viganò for quite some time, and I can only say that I have always known him to be a man of honesty and integrity. His assertions cannot be simply dismissed or ignored. I fully agree with the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who has publicly stated, “The recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò brings particular focus and urgency to this examination [of the case of Archbishop McCarrick]. The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past.”

We must not fear the truth, wherever it may lead us.

Cleansing of the temple

This may sound strange to some, but I have prayed long and hard over this crisis, and I have come to the conclusion that God is powerfully at work in his Church right now in the midst of this horrible situation. God does not cause evil, and he has certainly not caused this current evil in our midst. He allows evil, but only to draw a greater good out of it, even if we can’t see it at the time. I believe we are in a time of profound purification, a rooting out of the evils in the Church. It will be hard to go through this, but I firmly believe that we will be a stronger, more faithful and more fervent Church as a result of this cleansing of the temple of God.

In the meantime, we cannot let Satan divide us. That is what I fear is happening in the middle of this tragic time for the Church. He wants to pit us against each other and exploit this crisis for his own ends to divide and conquer. The only “camp” we should be in is the one that seeks the truth. We must cling fast to Christ and his promise to the Church to be with us always. As he also promised, the gates of hell will not prevail against his Church, but that implies that the gates of hell will nonetheless try.

Christ is with us

This brings me to the Holy Eucharist. No matter what has happened, or what may still unfold, Christ is with us in his body and blood at every Mass. We still have many wonderful and faithful priests who bring us to Jesus every day. Let’s not lose hope. As angry and discouraged as I can become during this painful crisis, every time I approach the altar, I am deeply consoled by knowing that Jesus still walks with us and will never abandon us. Jesus, I trust in you!