Confronting Evil in the Church

A letter from our Spiritual Director, Fr. Patrick Fiorillo:

Dear Pure in Heart community,

It has been a painful past few weeks for Catholics in the United States. The revelations of widespread abuse by clergy and subsequent cover-up by Church leaders stir deep within us feelings of anger, shock, and betrayal.  For me personally, it has been a time of great sadness as I see brought to light not only egregious violations of basic human dignity, but actions that are outright sacrilegious, opposing every ideal of the priesthood known in the Church. 

Having been part of the Pure in Heart community now for just under a year as spiritual director to the leadership and board, I have come to admire deeply your devotion to the sacraments, your commitment to prayer, your love of the Church, and your heartfelt desire to share the Good News of the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.  But now your faith is shaken as you see revealed an ugly stain of impurity marking the presbyterate and episcopacy.  In writing this letter, I understand full well that no amount of words or heart-felt expressions of empathy can provide an adequate response for those hurt in any way by this crisis; the amount of evil perpetrated by abusers as well as the scandal of its subsequent cover-up by certain Church leaders is truly beyond words.

Nevertheless, I want to encourage you to stand firm in your faith and in your commitment to be pure in heart.  The mission of Pure in Heart and the witness you bear is indispensible to the ongoing renewal of the Church.  It is during these seemingly desperate times when great saints are born.  No saint was made because he or she lived during an ideal or peaceful time in the Church.  Rather, the saints are most often the ones who pursued holiness in spite of the complacency, worldliness, and evil they experienced around them, including within the Church.

Unfortunately it seems likely that the bad news about the Church in America will continue for some time.  Please feel free to contact any of our leaders if you would like to share any concerns on this matter or if you have any suggestions as to how we might address this issue as an organization in a way that is open, honest, and helpful.  But above all, let us support one another, pray for the victims of abuse, pray for the all bishops and priests, and remain anchored to Jesus Christ, our true and only hope.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Patrick Fiorillo

Spiritual Director for PIH Board of Directors and National Core