Abstinence on all the Fridays of Lent is to be observed by every Catholic who is age 14 and over. On Ash Wednesday (and on Good Friday), Catholics (from ages 18 through 59) also FAST, which is defined as eating only one full meal per day, along with two small snacks that don't add up to a full meal. Fasting is a way to unite us with Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the Cross. Fasting and abstaining from meat are the perfect ways to begin the celebration of Lent.
SOUP NITES and STATIONS are held on all the Fridays of Lent (March 8 through April 12).
Soup Nites are in the Hall from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. There will be a free-will offering basket available each week to help support the various sponsoring groups. Stations are at 7:00 p.m. each Friday of Lent.
The scheduled Soup Nite sponsors are:
March 8: Parish Staff & Rosary Makers;
March 22: Saint Therese Carmelite School;
March 29:Knights of Columbus;
April 5:Bible Study; and
April 12: Retrouvaille Marriage Ministry
† GUIDELINES FOR FAST & ABSTINENCE (PER CANON LAW):
Abstinence: The law of abstinence requires Catholics 14 years of age and over to abstain from eating meat on all the Fridays of Lent (including Good Friday) in honor of the Passion of Jesus. Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted, as are animal-derived products such as margarine and gelatin which do not have any meat taste.
Fasting: The law of fasting requires Catholics from ages 18 through 59 to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. Such fasting is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The fast is broken by eating between meals and by drinks which could be considered food (milk shakes, but not milk).
Who can be DISPENSEDfrom fast and abstinence? Those of unsound mind, the sick and frail, pregnant or nursing women according to their need for nourishment, manual laborers according to need, guests who cannot excuse themselves without giving great offense, and those in other situations of moral or physical impossibility.
St. Patrick's Day Party
ST. PATRICK’S DAY FAMILY CELEBRATION!
The Knights of Columbus invite you to a St. Patrick’s Day Dinner on Saturday evening, March 16, in the Parish Hall, after the 5:00 p.m. Mass (around 6:15 p.m.).
There will be two dinner choices:
1) Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes, and Carrots
2) Irish Stew and Irish Soda Bread
· $10 per adult
· $15 per couple
· $5 per child (under 12)
Beverages will alsobe available for sale.
Women's Bible Study
WOMEN'S BIBLE STUDY: Gospel of St. Matthew
Please join the women of St. Therese Parish as we study the Gospel of St. Matthew this Lent. While we journey through reading about the life of Jesus, we will focus particularly on our own repentance and God’s mercy. We’ll be using the book, "Hosanna," by Elizabeth Foss (available on Amazon) and we’ll meet in the Lisieux Room of the Parish Offices from 6:45 to 8:15 p.m., on the following six Thursdays: March 7, 14, 21, 28; April 4 and 11.
For more details, email Micaela Darr at Micaela.firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text her at (626) 236-6147.
Vox Vitae Events
VOX VITAE EVENTS
Thank You to everyone who joined us at the San Francisco Walk for Life on January 26. Vox Vitae was thrilled to take 107 teens and adults! The above photo was taken outside the Cathedral in San Francisco with Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. Fr. Frank is looking forward to speaking with our teens and adults at Vox Vitae Camp 2019.
The 40 DAYS FOR LIFE SPRING CAMPAIGN will take place from March 6 through April 14. Vox Vitae will be at Planned Parenthood in Pasadena during the campaign on Fridays (Noon-5 p.m.) and Saturdays (10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.) All are welcome to pray there any day of the week or join us on Fridays and Saturdays (shown below):
· Wednesday, March 6: First day of 40 Days for Life (prayer and fasting Vigil)
·Fridays, March 8, 15, 22, 29, April 5: 40 Days for Life, Prayer and witness at PP Pasadena. Vox Vitae will be praying there from Noon to 5:00 p.m. each of those dates
· Saturday, March 9, 16, 23, 30, April 6: 40 Days for Life, Prayer witness at PP Pasadena. Vox Vitae will be praying there from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each of those dates.
ALSO! . . . We hope you can join Vox Vitae at these other events in MARCH (see below)!
· Saturday, March 2: Bi-National Pro Family, Pro Life Congress, University of San Diego (6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; $10 each). Vox Vitae will take a day trip to San Diego!! Come join us for a fun day of pro-life learning, followed by a bonfire!
· Tuesday, March 5: Mardi Gras Fun, 7:00-9:00 p.m., in the Guadalupe Courtyard and Avila Room, Parish Offices
· Thursday, March 7: Protest PPLA Fundraiser at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. Vox Vitae will leave St. Therese at 5:00 p.m. and return at 9:30 p.m.
UNPLANNED, THE MOVIE: Vox Vitae is organizing a screening of Unplanned, the movie about Abby Johnson, former Director of Planned Parenthood and now ProLife active. This is a groundbreaking movie that will save lives! It exposes the deceptive practices of Planned Parenthood and its pro-abortion agenda. We encourage everyone to attend the screening (details to come soon!) or another screening near you. More information is available at VoxVitae.org.
For details or questions about any of the above, contact Catherine Contreras or Vox Vitae at (213) 395-8977.
CATHOLIC KARATE FOR YOUTH AND MEN
ABOUT GRIFFON ARTS CATHOLIC DEFENSE:
Self-defense is about learning the value of the human person as given by God and applying mutual respect to yourself as well as any bully or offender. Knowing both how and why to protect that worth, and that of those around you, is important to a healthy lifestyle, great relationships, and providing a safer community. For more information, contact John Wrot at SenseiJohnWrot@gmail.com.
GRIFFON ARTS CATHOLIC SELF-DEFENSE has come to St. Therese Church! There is NO prior experience required!
Classes, for those from ages 7 to 55, are held in the Parish Hall EVERY THURSDAY, as follows:
·Youth (Boys & Girls from ages 7 to 17): 5:15 to 5:55 p.m.*
· Dads & Young Men from ages 18 to 55): 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.*
*Please arrive ten minutes before every class.
· Self-defense and
· Increased discipline
...and have lots of fun!
Attire: Come in sweats;
uniforms are available for purchase in class.
DADS & YOUNG MEN
· How to protect your wives and children
· Increased self-control & stress outlet
· Confidence and leadership
...all while getting a little more fit.
Attire: Your work or play clothes; no uniforms.
No prior experience required!
Good news: You do not need to be “fit”!
WEEKLY CLASS FEES:
· 1st Youth: $9 per week
· 2nd Youth: $7 per week
· 3rd Youth: $7 per week
· Additional Youths:
$5 per week
· Dads & Young Men:
$10 per week
$5 per student
In order to take part in our Baptism Program, PARENTS & GODPARENTS are required to attend a class from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., in the Parish Library. The fee is $25. Your child will then be baptized on a Saturday (normally at 11:00 a.m. but subject to change). Check the calendar for dates.
SELECTING THE GODPARENTS: Canon Law requires you to have at least one godparent (may have two) who: 1) is at least 16; 2) has been Confirmed; and 3) is a practicing Catholic. A form attesting to this needs to be signed by a priest from the parish of each prospective godparent.
UPCOMING CLASS / BAPTISM DATES: To see the dates of the next classes and baptisms, click here X for the 2018/2019 schedule.
YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER! To do so, either call the office at 284-0020, ext. 1, OR click here (X) to download the REGISTRATION FORM. After filling it out, return it to us with your check for $25 for the class. We must receive your RSVP or the registration form before the class date. When you come to the class, please bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate with you (or mail it with the registration form).
LATIN RITE (EXTRAORDINARY FORM) BAPTISM: If you attend the Latin Mass and would like your child to be baptized in the extraordinary form, click here (X) to download the Latin REGISTRATION FORM.
For more information, contact the DRE, Rhonda Storey, at (626) 284-0020, ext. 225.
BRIGITTINE CARMELITE ROSARY
Prayed After the 8:00 a.m. Mass
The Rosary is prayed Monday through Saturday after our 8:00 a.m. Mass. We have recently begun using the Brigittine Carmelite Rosary instead of the regular Dominican Rosary. This Rosary came to the Discalced Carmelite Order through the travels of St. Teresa of Avila. While she was visiting a Brigittine Monastery in Spain (the Brigittine Nuns were founded by St. Bridget of Sweden) and there she learned to say their six-decade Rosary. It was later adopted as the Rosary of the Discalced Carmelite Order, with an added medal of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Each Mystery in the Brigittine Rosary has an extra decade for an additional mystery. It has a total of twenty-four decades instead of the usual twenty.
The additional decades in each Mystery, all related to Mary, are inserted chronologically and are as follows:
Joyful: The Immaculate Conception of Mary (prayed immediately before the Annunciation);
Luminous: The Obedience of Jesus to Mary and Joseph (prayed first, before the Baptism of the Lord);
Sorrowful: The Pieta (when the Body of the Lord was placed in the arms of His Sorrowful Mother (prayed last—immediately after the Crucifixion); and
Glorious: The Patronage of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel (prayed immediately after the Coronation). The other mysteries remain the same as in the Dominican Rosary.
If you would like to obtain a Brigittine Rosary and a pamphlet showing the extra mysteries, you may pick one up at the Religious Goods counter in the back of the church for a free-will offering. You may also download the pamphlet by clicking here X.
COR JESU CARMELITE YOUTH MINISTRY
Cor Jesu Youth Ministry has its own link (see the links at the top of our web page).
FIRST FRIDAY MASS
The next First Friday Mass will be Friday, April 5, beginning with Mass at 7:30 p.m., followed by confessions and benediction. You are also invited to continue praying in our Adoration Chapel following the Mass (open 24 hours a day).
ST. THERESE CARMELITE SCHOOL
WATCH OUR LATEST SCHOOL VIDEO,
"LITTLE THINGS"! X Click on the link "Video's" (from the panel to the left) for more videos.
· February 28th (Thursday): Student Confessions at Noon
· March 1st (Friday): First Friday Mass at 8:00 a.m.
· March 5th (Tuesday): Student Confessions at Noon
·March 6th (Wednesday): Ash Wednesday Mass at 10:00 a.m.
·March 8th (Friday): Mass at 8:00 a.m.; Stations of the Cross at 12:30 p.m.
·March 9th (Saturday): 1st Reconciliation for STCS Students Preparing for 1st Communion at 10:00 a.m. \
Please contact the office at (626) 289-3364 or admin@sttheresecarmeliteschoolto arrange a SHADOW DAY for your child. See the school'swebsite for more info!
We encourage you to visit the school office to learn more about our wonderful school, to take a tour, or to spend a day with our amazing teachers and students. Please feel free to contact us at (626) 289-3364 or by email at email@example.com.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY
Saint Therese Carmelite School (School), mindful of its mission to be a witness to the love of Christ for all, admits students regardless of race, color, national origin, and/or ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, disability, medical condition, sex, or national and/or ethnic origin in the administration of educational policies and practices, scholarship programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs, although certain athletic leagues and other programs may limit participation and some archdiocesan schools operate as single-sex schools. While the School does not discriminate against students with special needs, a full range of services may not always be available to them. Decisions concerning the admission and continued enrollment of a student in the School are based upon the student's emotional, academic, and physical abilities and the resources available to the School in meeting the student's needs.
For Elementary & High School Grades
DAYS/TIMES: Classes for both elementary and high school are held on Sunday mornings (one Sunday and one Tuesday per month for Confirmation and normally two Sundays a month for elementary (check the calendar for dates!) from 9:00 to 10:45 a.m., including the 11:00 a.m. Mass. Class drop off time: Between 8:45 and 9:00 a.m. The Tuesday class for each Confirmation grade is held on the Tuesday following the Sunday class.
Please arrive on time for all our classes!
SEEKING VOLUNTEER TEACHERS AND CATECHISTS
If you enjoying teaching and have the experience and ability to “connect” with children, teens or adults, we need you! You must be a well-formed Catholic with all your Sacraments, familiar with the Catechism, and have some experience in the classroom. We are looking for teachers in the following areas: *Eucharist prep for both E1 and E2 adults; *Teen Confirmation classes—for both C1 & C2 Sunday classes; *Adult Confirmation classes for both C1 adults and C2 adults; *Substitutes for Elementary Religious Ed classes; *Aide in the E1 Eucharist prep; AND *Help with registration and paperwork.
CONFIRMATION'S "PEER MENTOR" PROGRAM: We are working to improve our current family confirmation program. In today's society, it is of the upmost importance that our parents remain the first and foremost teachers of their children. It is vital that parents work to connect on a deeper level with their teens, and for teens to feel free to share their thoughts and experiences with their parents.
Our goal for the confirmation program is to have recently confirmed students return for a peer-mentoring program in order to give back to their younger peers. They would do this by sharing personal testimony about their experiences in having to defend their faith to those who are engaging in immoral or questionable anti-Christian behavior. For example, why do we as solid Catholics teach chastity? Why are we pro-life? How do we combat the contraceptive mentality? In today's society, these are the types of things our young people are facing every day of their lives at school, through social media, television and music, and at teen social events.
Our program goes beyond simply teaching about the Sacrament of Confirmation; the new mentoring program will enable the former confirmation students to guide the current students to becoming more open to sharing their faith as well as giving them the tools and confidence to make solid faith decisions throughout their high school and college years.
To be able to make this mentoring program a reality, we are seeking young people who live their lives as strong committed Catholics able to withstand the pressures of today's society. Along with the youth peer program, we envision the program to include a component that involves the parents of the youth mentors who will connect with the other Confirmation parents for the purpose of both learning from and offering support to one another. If you and your teen are interested in joining our program or would like more information, please contact Rhonda Storey at (626) 284-0025, ext. 1, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about teaching in any of the Religious Education areas, please contact Rhonda Storey, DRE, at 284-0020, Ext. 1, or RhondaLStorey@gmail.com.
PARENTS! Religious Education is an extremely important part of the faith life of every Catholic family! If your children are not attending Catholic School, then they NEED to be enrolled in a Religious Education program. At St. Therese we offer classes from Pre-school through 8th grade, which then continue into a 2-year Confirmation program for high school students. Our classes are based on solid catechesis: the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the liturgical year, and Church Solemnities.
ADULT BIBLE STUDY
Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.
All adults are encouraged to join our next Bible Study session. We are studying "Matthew: The King and His Kingdom," on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. in the Parish Meeting Room (began September 5th).
This twenty-four week study will show you who Jesus is and what His life and teachings mean for you today. After completing reading assignments and questions to prompt deeper thought, small group discussions will heighten your understanding. Then at each session we will watch a presentation by theologian, Jeff Cavins. There is a program fee of $30 which includes a study guide.
For more information, contact Debbie Robles at (626) 679-6370 or email@example.com.
Guido the Cathusian wrote in the 12th century, "Seek in reading and you will find in meditating; knock in mental prayer and it will be opened to you by contemplation.
FORMED: The Catholic Faith on Demand
St. Therese Church has purchased a subscription to the Catholic media website, FORMED.ORG, and is making it available to ALL our parishioners! Discover all the best Catholic content in one place: Entertaining movies, enlightening programs, inspiring talks, audio dramas, and a great selection of popular e-books--all just a link away! To register, click on the image below. Simply enter your name, your email address, a password, and your zip code--and get started enjoying all they have to offer!
JOIN THE 11:00 AM CHOIR!
The 11:00 Choir will begin rehearsals Wednesday, September 5, at 7:30 p.m. The choir rehearses weekly on Wednesday evenings from September through June, and sings at the 11:00 Mass on Sundays. For more information, contact the Director, Charlotte Lansberg, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 626-807-8611.
We welcome anyone to attend who has suffered the loss of a loved one. It does not matter how long ago you suffered this loss or what your relationship was to the person (spouse, child, parent, friend, etc.). Please feel free to come and join this new group and meet new friends. You may have something to share that will be of help to someone else.
The Grief Support Group meets in the Parish Offices on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. For additional information, please contact the office at (626) 282-2744.
NOTICE REGARDING THE CHURCH BULLETIN BOARDS
The bulletin boards in the vestibules of the church (front of the church and the two sides, as well as the bulletin boards in the sacristy AND at the bottom of the stairs leading to the sacristy, etc.) are FOR THE USE OF THE CHURCH STAFF ONLY.
Please do NOT put any flyers, photos, announcements, etc., on these boards. Again, it is only for the hired staff to put things there. You MAY put these types of things in the little pamphlet/flyer boxes located in the main vestibule—on the walls on either side of the main church doors. We thank you for your cooperation and your understanding.
RESPECT LIFE MINISTRYLet’s Pray, Get Active, and Save Lives!
FAST & PRAY: Please us in fasting and praying every Wednesday for the needs of increasing Respect for Life in this world.
VOX VITAE: For more information about Vox Vitae, including the upcoming Pro-Life Youth Camp and Pro-Life Adult Camp (both in July), go to the website at www.voxvitae.org.
RACHEL’S VINEYARD RETREATS—For Healing After Abortion: A Rachel’s Vineyard retreat is for men and women struggling with the emotional and spiritual pain of abortion. The retreat is designed to help participants work through repressed grief and anger in a safe, nonjudgmental setting and come to acceptance, healing, and hope for the future. Developed in the Roman Catholic Tradition, it utilizes spiritual exercises and rituals to help grieve the loss of unborn children and to accept God’s forgiveness. All inquiries and registrations are confidential. Cost is $215 per person. For dates, registration, and more information, call 866-2-RACHEL (866-272-2435) or go to www.rachelsvineyard.org.
T-SHIRTS: Respect Life and Vox Vitae have a variety of ProLife T-Shirts available! Stop by the Parish Offices and check out the designs expressing support for Life!
GENERAL WISH LIST: Respect LIfe Ministry is always in need of donations to keep our ministry going strong! We need funding for the following: 1) Vox Vitae Camp; 2) Waterproof Posters: Winter is approaching and our posters will not be able to handle rain; 3) Prenatal Wall Posters: Needed in both English and Spanish; 4) Vox Vitae tri-fold pamphlets; 5) Website and ProLife Radio Show: We need funds to keep these up and running; and 6) Transportation to other ProLife groups to assist them in promoting life at their events and activities.
Presentation Chapel of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration
HISTORY: In December of 2012, the Carmelite Friars moved out of the former rectory—freeing up a lot of space for other purposes. After much discernment, Fr. Philip decided to move the Chapel to the former rectory and to restore the current Adoration Chapel back to a Baptistry, as originally designed by the architect. A beautiful new Chapel has now been created in the spaces that used to be the priests’ dining room and Fr. Jerome Lantry’s room; it has been named the “The Presentation Chapel,” and is dedicated to the Loving Memory of Fr. Jerome Lantry, OCD.” (Note: Eventually, the Baptistry will be refurbished and will be dedicated to the Loving Memory of Fr. William Fenton.)
ELECTRONIC KEYS: Over the years, we have had security issues at night. To prevent these problems, Adorers using the chapel between 5:00 pm and 6:00 a.m. need to register for their own electronic keys (for a small deposit of $20 each). All registered users need to refrain from lending their keys and from allowing unknown persons to follow them into the chapel.
LAST PERSON IN THE CHAPEL?: A photochromic glass has been installed in front of the monstrance. If at the time you are leaving the chapel there is no one else in it, please TURN OFF THE LIGHT (LOCATED TO THE LEFT OF THE EXIT DOOR AS YOU FACE IT) on your way out. This will cause the glass in front of the monstrance to turn dark so that Our Lord will not be exposed in an empty room. Likewise, if you are the first to re-enter, TURN THE LIGHT BACK ON, and the glass will clear.
MAKE A COMMITMENT: If you haven’t already done so,please commit to coming to the Chapel at the same hour and day each week.The goal is to have at least two adorers signed up for each hour of each day (24 hours a day, seven days a week), so that if one is absent, at least one other person will still be present. To sign up for an hour, please call the Coordinators (contacts on the front of the bulletin). May God bless you for your dedication and love for Him!
PRAY FOR VOCATIONS: Ever since our chapel opened in 1988, one of its primary purposes is to pray for vocations to the consecrated life, in particular to our own Archdiocese and Carmelite Community. We thank our Lord that the Carmelites have been blessed with so many vocations that a new house had to be built to make room for all our seminarians!
GUIDELINES: Using the chapel requires following the Guidelines. If you did not receive a copy, you may read them on our website. Just go to MINISTRIES > PRAYER & DEVOTION MINISTRIES > PERPETUAL EUCHARISTIC ADORATION.
EXTRAORDINARY EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION TO THE HOMEBOUND
Would you like to minister as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion to our sick and homebound parishioners? You would visit them either on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday every other month—only six times a year. Remember . . . at some time in the future, YOU may need this help, too! If interested, please call the coordinators, Fred or Margaret Padilla, at (626) 282-0943. Thank you in advance!
If you would like to honor or memorialize a loved one AND help to beautify the altar at the same time, then take advantage of our Floral Dedication Program. You may choose the kind of flowers and the colors for not only memorial remembrances, but also for anniversaries, birthdays, engagements, weddings, baptisms, get-well wishes, etc. For each dedication, a notice will be posted in the bulletin (on the Mass intentions page) under “Floral Dedication” and will include your loved one’s name and the occasion. Bouquets start at $90 for two (we charge only the actual cost of the flowers). In order to schedule a memorial or a dedication, please contact Giovanna Setiady at 281-9049.
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUSld-id
FIVE REASONS TO JOIN THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS: If you are a Catholic male over the age of 18, here are five reasons that will encourage you to join this great fraternal organization of the Catholic Church—founded on the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism: 1) The Heartbeat of the Knights of the Columbus is Service; 2) the Knights Support the Catholic Church; 3) the Knights support the Catholic Church; 4) the Knights are strongly and devoutly Pro-Life; and 5) the Knights are Faithful to the Catholic Church.
For more information, call the current Grand Knight, Ramon Burce, at (626) 695-2842 or the National line at (888) 869-3124. Ramon will answer any questions you may have!
NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING (NFP)
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you."
KEEP CALM AND LEARN ABOUT CREIGHTON: Did you know that Married Couples benefit from learning about Natural Family Planning? And that NFP can be used to achieve or postpone pregnancy and to uncover and treat women's health problems or infertility? It can also be used to diagnose and treat repetitive miscarriage, infertility, PMS, post-partum depression, painful cycles, and so much more!
NFP hosts free Introductory Session of the Creighton Model Fertility Care System of Natural Family Planning. This session is for married and engaged couples or single women who would like to learn more about their health and fertility. To register or for dates of future sessions, call Jack and Katrina Crow at (626) 292-1906 or email email@example.com; or for Spanish, Martha Lacayo at (626) 372-0808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADDRESSING ABUSES AND COVER-UPS IN THE CHURCH
Recent revelations about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s scandalous behavior have brought the emotionally sensitive subject of the priest abuse scandal back into the limelight. This scandal, as those revealed over the last couple of decades, was not due only to the fact that children were abused, but that Catholic clergy who knew about the improprieties failed to report the cases to the police. Combining other obstacles that people have about the hypocrisy of believers, Christian teachings on sexual morality, and a suspicion of hierarchical religion, this one is indeed a mountain. And it is impossible to get around or over it. The only way is to drill a hole right through it.
One strategy is to put the scope of the issue into perspective. The media coverage led many to think the numbers were far greater than they were. In 2004, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York to conduct a study analyzing allegations of sexual abuse in Catholic dioceses in United States. The study covered the time period from 1950 to 2002. The final report identified 6,700 unique accusations against 4,392 clergy, or four percent of the 109,694 clergy active during the period. Of those accused, only 252 were convicted, which is less than one-tenth of a percent of the total clergy.
To be sure, even these numbers are too many. But they do show that the scope of the scandal, despite the coverage it received, was very small—surely too small to be a basis for rejecting the Church completely. It’s also important to point out that this kind of problem is not confined to the Catholic Church, but it is found among Protestant clergy as well. In his book, Pedophiles and Priests, Philip Jenkins, a Protestant and expert in the study of pedophilia, writes, “The most-quoted survey of sexual problems among Protestant clergy states that some ten percent are involved in sexual misconduct of some kind, and that ‘about two or three percent’ are pedophiles, a rate equal or higher than that suggested for Catholic priests.”
Sexual abuse is not only found within the boundaries of Christianity, but is also a problem in virtually all settings where adults have care of minors. Consider, for example, the 2014 scandal concerning USA swimming coaches, ninety of whom were banned for sexual misconduct. In January of 2018, Larry Nassar, former doctor for the USA Women’s Gymnastics team and a sports medicine physician, was sentenced to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing over 150 women over the past two decades of his practice.
The abuse of children is a horrible crime and needs to stop. There is no one that a child should feel safer with than a person who represents Jesus Christ. But to think this is solely or conspicuously a Catholic problem, which is the narrative the media created, is simply not true. For the same reason that we shouldn’t reject Christianity because some Christians are hypocrites, the presence of sinners in Catholicism doesn’t mean that the religion is false.
Let’s say you found out that certain doctors at several different hospitals were guilty of malpractice. Would you refuse to go to any doctor ever again? The malpractice of a few doctors doesn’t undermine the basic value of medicine—because we know that doctors heal people and save lives. Likewise, just because a few priests were guilty of spiritual malpractice doesn’t take away from the spiritual goods that the Catholic Church has to offer: the healing and salvation of souls. All the members of the Church, including its ministers, are sinners who are “still on the way to holiness” (CCC 827), and “always in need of purification” (CCC 827). Even Jesus teaches this on several occasions. For example, in His parable about the good and evil sower (Matt. 13:24-30), He says that the weeds will grow alongside the wheat until the Master comes at harvest time. But He assures us that the wheat will then be separated from the weeds.
To those who cause scandal in the Church, Jesus gives a severe warning: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a millstone fastened round his neck and be drowned in the sea” (Matt. 18:6). It’s important to recognize that the Church is made up of human beings like any other institution, and human beings are sinners. At the same time, the Church is not merely a human institution. It has Jesus as its Founder. He has promised that “the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18) and that the Holy Spirit will animate and guide it into truth (John 16:13).
These promises and others reveal that Christ has been and always will be with His Church, preserving it in the truth and life that is necessary for us to be saved. We don’t have to reject the Church just because one of the apostles was Judas.
In response to the abuses, the Archdiocese of L.A. began the VIRTUS program to help keep children safe. For more info about the program and/or to attend a class and/or be fingerprinted, see the Article above or contact our DRE, Rhonda Storey, at 284-0020, ext. 1.