Holy Week





Tuesday and Wednesday, April 16 and 17, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

There will be NO Confessions on Holy Monday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, or Holy Saturday.

ADORATION CHAPEL:  The Adoration Chapel will be closed during the Holy Week Triduum, as follows:   Closed at 5:00 p.m. on Holy Thursday, April 18;  Closed all day and night on Good Friday and Holy Saturday (April 19 and 20).   The chapel will reopen on E A S T E R  S U N DAY,  April  21,   at   6:00  a.m. The Blessed Sacrament will be in the church tabernacle until 6:00 p.m. on Holy Thursday. Following the Holy Thursday Mass (begins at 7:30 p.m.), Adoration will take place  in the church until approximately 11:00 p.m. 



NO morning Masses Holy Thursday through Holy Saturday 

Holy Thursday (April 18)

7:30 p.m.: Mass of the Lord’s Supper with Service of the Washing of the Feet.  There will be a procession after the Mass to carry the Holy Eucharist to the Altar of Repose, followed by a Benediction service and Adoration until approximately 11:00 p.m.

You are also welcome to attend a 5:00 p.m. Mass at the Cloistered Carmelite Nuns' Chapel at 215 East Alhambra Road, Alhambra (NO Washing of the Feet Service at the Convent Chapel and NO Adoration after Mass).

NOTE: Again, the Adoration Chapel will be closed from 5:00 p.m. on Holy Thursday through 6:00 a.m. on Easter Sunday. 

Good Friday (April 19)


(See guidelines after schedule)

12:00 p.m.: Reflections on the Seven Last Words

1:00 p.m.: Way of the Cross

† 2:00 p.m.: Sacred Liturgy

† 3:00 p.m. Sacred Liturgy at Cloistered Convent

† 7:30 p.m.: Sacred Liturgy (repeated)

  (Includes Veneration of the Cross and distribution of Holy Communion) 


Holy Saturday (April 20)

7:30 p.m.: Solemn Easter Vigil Mass (with Sacraments of Initiation for four persons)

The Easter Vigil is the most important service of the liturgical year, marked by the first use--since the beginning of Lent--of the exclamatory "Alleluia." This Vigil Mass begins with the lighting of the Easter fire in front of the church; the liturgy will conclude at approximately 9:30 to 10:00 p.m.)


Easter Sunday (April 21)

Masses at 7:30, 9:00, 11:00 a.m.; and 1:00 p.m. Latin High Mass

Note: NO 5:00 P.M. MASS! 


Abstinence: The law of abstinence requires Catholics 14 years of age and over to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and ALL the Fridays of Lent 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 to 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 DISPENSED from fast and abstinence? Those of unsound mind, the sick and frail, pregnant or nursing women, according to 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.

Divine Mercy Mission


"Embracing Mercy’s Depths: Going Deeper into the Light of Divine Love”

Given by Fr. Robert Barcelos, O.C.D. 

Mark your calendars now for Thursday, April 25, through Sunday, April 28, for a Parish Mission given by Fr. Robert Barcelos, OCD—a former Associate Pastor at St. Therese Church.  The schedule will be as follows:

  • Thursday, April 25, 7:00 p.m.: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Hour, Conference, and Benediction
  • Friday, April 26: Conference
  • Saturday, April 27: 8:00 a.m. Mass, followed by a Conference; 5:00 p.m. Vigil Mass with Conference
  • Sunday, April 28: Divine Mercy Sunday, as follows: 

·   3:00 to 4:45 pm: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Holy Hour, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and Conference 

·   3:00 to 5:00 pm: Confessions 

·   4:45 pm: Benediction 

·   5:00 pm: Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Robert Barcelos, OCD


Beginning in February 1931, St. Faustina Kowalski, a Polish nun reported receiving visitations from Jesus. One of the things He asked her for was that a painting be made of the vision of His Merciful Heart and that a Feast of Divine Mercy be established on the first Sunday after Easter. When Pope John Paul canonized her in 2000, he proclaimed that the Second Sunday of Easter would be known as Divine Mercy Sunday, thereby widely promoting the devotions associated with Faustina’s visions.

PLENARY INDULGENCE: Our Lord promised that all those would attend Mass and receive Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday, as well as go to Confession and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father would obtain “complete forgiveness of their sins and punishment.”  Alternatively, the promise extends to those who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!") and go to Confession and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father. In 2002, Pope John Paul extended the promise so that Confession can be made up to 20 days before or after Divine Mercy Sunday.

Scott Hahn



Join Scott Hahn and the St. Paul Center here at St. Therese on Friday, June 7, 2019. Grow closer to St. Joseph and learn how we can follow in his footsteps to grow in virtue and love for Jesus and Mary.

Tickets are anticipated to sell out—register for this powerful event today!


7:00 p.m. – "Silent Knight, Holy Knight: St. Joseph and The Mystery of Fatherhood," by Scott Hahn
8:00 p.m. – St. Paul Center Presentation
8:15 p.m. – Books available for sale in the Parish Hall

Tickets are $15 per person.  To get yours, click here X.  

Bible Study



Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.

In this intriguing look at one of the most talked-about books in Scripture, Jeff Cavins explores Revelation to demonstrate how the kingdom established by Christ in His Church is intimately connected with the Kingdom of Heaven, especially through the celebration of the Mass.

You will learn what all the mysterious figures and images of Revelation represent, as well as what will happen during the Second Coming of Christ, what has already happened, and what is happening now in salvation history. 

Join us for Revelation: The Kingdom Yet to Come at the Parish Center beginning Wednesday, April 24, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., and continuing every Wednesday for a total of 11 weeks.

For more information, contact Debbie Robles at (626) 679-6370 or debrobles@me.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.

Catholic Karate



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 will start SEASON TWO on Thursday, April 25. Learn self-defense and anti-bullying, increase your discipline and self-confidence—and have lots of fun! YOUTH Class fees are: 1st Youth-$9 per week; 2nd/3rd Youths-$7 per week; additional youths-$5 per week; MEN'S Class fees are $10 per week. REGISTRATION FEE: $5 per student. 

NEW CLASS TIMES will be as follows: NEW STUDENTS (Girls and Boys from ages 7-17): 5:15-5:55 p.m.; YELLOW BELTS: 6:00 to 6:40 p.m.; ADULT MEN (ages 18 to 60): 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. 

*Please arrive 15 minutes before every class to REGISTER.



· Self-defense and


· Increased discipline

· Confidence 

...and have lots of fun!


Attire: Come in sweats;

uniforms are available for purchase in class.



· 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”!



 · 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

Registration Fee:

$5 per student



Men's Retreat-EC


Some of our past retreatants have made the following comments: “El Carmelo Retreat House is...

1) a place where I can set aside time to find peace and refreshment with my Carmelite family;"

2) ...my home away from home"

3)...an extension of St. Therese Church."

The men of St. Therese Parish are invited to an Annual Men's Retreat from May 31 to June 2 (Friday through Sunday) on the beautiful grounds of El Carmelo Retreat House in Redlands. Take the time to refresh and renew your spirit! The theme will be: "Be Holy as I am Holy" (1 Peter 1:16). 

For more information, contact Jack Day, Retreat Captain, at (323) 722-9339 or (323) 403-8768.

Shower of Roses



To Benefit the Cloistered Carmelite Nuns

The SHOWER OF ROSES Annual Benefit Luncheon, featuring Guest Speaker Lian Dolan, will be on  Wednesday, April 24, beginning with a Social at 10:30 a.m., followed by a Luncheon at 12:00. 

This event will be held at the San Gabriel Country Club, 350 E Hermosa Drive, San Gabriel, California 91775. The donation is $65 per person, payable to the Cloistered Carmelite Nuns Auxiliary. Your reservation must be received by April 15 by mailing your check to Sue Fulps, 8729 East Ardendale Avenue, San Gabriel, California 91775. For additional information, you may call (626) 285-4649.

Vox Vitae Events



NATIONAL "PRO LIFE T-SHIRT DAY"Remember to wear your pro-life t-shirt on FRIDAY, APRIL 12, to BE A VOICE FOR LIFE!

NATIONAL "PROTEST PLANNED PARENTHOOD DAY"  is SATURDAY, APRIL 13.  Go to www.voxvitae.com for details!

UNPLANNED, THE MOVIE: Vox Vitae encourages you to attend the new movie, Unplanned, which is 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.

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.darr@gmail.com or call or text her at (626) 236-6147.



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 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


Cor Jesu Youth Ministry has its own link (see the links at the top of our web page).

First Friday



The next First Friday Mass will be Friday, May 3, 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). 

PLEASE NOTE that, due to a speaking engagement by Scott Hahn at St. Therese on Friday, June 7, there will be no evening First Friday Mass that day.  You may attend any morning Mass to fulfill your commitment to attend Mass on the first Fridays of the month.  




"LITTLE THINGS"! X  Click on the link "Videos" (from the panel to the left) for more videos.

Upcoming events: 

· April 14th (Sunday): Family Mass at 9:00 a.m.

· April 17th (Wednesday): Mass at 8:00 a.m.

· April 18th (Holy Thursday): Noon Dismissal

· April 19th (Friday): Good Friday – No School

· April 22nd-April 26th: Easter Vacation

· April 29th (Monday): School Resumes


Please contact the office at (626) 289-3364 or admin@sttheresecarmeliteschool to 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 admin@sainttheresecarmeliteschool.com. 


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! 


May 14 & 16, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: First Communion practice in the church (NO HOLY HOUR!) 

May 18, 10:00 a.m.: First Communion Mass for students of both the St. Therese Religious Education Program AND the  students of Divine Mercy Home School. 



April 28, 11:00 a.m. Mass: Rite of Presentation 

May 28 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.: Confirmation Practice in the church with your Sponsors! 

June 2: Rite of Confirmation at the 5:00 p.m. Mass (with Bishop David O’Connell).  



May 19: Mary’s Crowning at the 9:00 a.m. Mass—FOR ALL STUDENTS 

May 19: Last day of Religious Education classes until the Fall

Note about Vacation Bible School:  We are sorry to announce that, due to a shortage of staff, we will NOT be holding Vacation Bible School this Summer. 

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.


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!




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 cjlansberg@choochoorecords.com, or 626-807-8611.

Grief Support

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.

Bull. Bds


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. 

Adoration Chapel


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.   



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.  



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!



“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 PlanningThis 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 jkcrowsnest@hotmail.com; or for Spanish, Martha Lacayo at (626) 372-0808  or email malacay@aol.com. 

Church Abuses



From CatholicAnswers.com 

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. 

Published in the Bulletin of August 19, 2018

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