17 April 2019, The Tablet

This Easter we need to walk and chew gum at the same time

This Easter we need to walk and chew gum at the same time

We did not need to go looking for penance this year. It visited us with a vengeance. Shaming government reports and official investigations; a defrocked cardinal and a convicted prelate; and then a scurrilous book revealing Vatican hypocrisy and sexual duplicity. We have endured a Lent of discontent. Something feels right about celebrating Easter as we in the southern hemisphere descend into winter.

It has made us yearn for Easter’s message of hope and new life more than ever before, survivors, victims and their families especially, and also all the lay women and men who were neither passively or actively complicit in abuse or its cover-up but who have suffered so grievously. They are also innocent victims of the institutional dysfunction and the malignant clericalism that has seen the Church rightly lambasted for its sins of omission and commission.

This Easter, we need to walk and chew gum at the same time. While not trying to deny or spin the bad news stories that continue to shame us, we have to say, too, that we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song. As the author of Ecclesiastes reminds us, there is a season and a time for everything. We are immersed in a dark night of the soul, yet we can glimpse the Light of Christ piercing through the gloom.

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