Imagine if, having gotten the person you were rescuing on board the rescue helicopter, but you were still just outside the helicopter itself, your rescue chains, holding you yourself to the helicopter, were to be unhooked by others inside the helicopter, so that you tumbled to the waters below with hundreds of pounds of heavy chains falling in on you, drowning you, and imagine you heard, while the chains were being unhooked, those inside telling the person that was just rescued that he had never needed to be rescued, that the incident never happened, that there never was a rescuer who had given his life for him. They were just enjoying a nice day in a non-rescue aircraft. It happened to the Lord. It happened to me too. Has it happened to you, yet? If not, why not?
One of these days I’ll get around to getting around to writing a bit of my autobiography as suggested by my confessor and my confessor/spiritual director (not to mention so many priests and nuns and laity throughout my entire life, actually). This is just one more incident recounted in this post. The names and places and descriptions of events have all pretty much been removed so as to avoid already threatened (out of the blue) litigation should I tell the full truth of the events alluded to here. Imagine that. Anyway…
In my priestly ministry I’ve sometimes been sent as a trouble-shooter into parishes by whatever local bishop it happened to be in the myriad continents and countries and (arch)dioceses where I’ve had to privilege to serve the Lord’s flock. Sometimes, you see, there are bishops who do appreciate that I’m just a bit freakish in that I just will not compromise truth provided in charity. Why should I? Why should anyone? Honestly! No compromise is something bishops can count on when confronted with situations which call for something more than the usual “consensus builders,” who accomplish their task by seeking the lowest common denominator with nothing more than a sometimes violent tyrrany of relativism.
In one particular parish, like Sodom and Gomorrah, there was full intent to continue — how else to put it? – programmatic sexual abuse, putting minors on stage to do strip shows to get money for the parochial school. Incredibly, the parish, almost to a man, almost to a woman, wanted this abuse to continue for the money it made and the sense of sexual liberation it is sure to have provided them. But not incredibly. This is how low mankind can sink. The bishop, having heard of it, wanted it to end, and end now.
Thanks be to God, not only was this stopped (with the bishop also doing what he had to do), but the Lord flooded that parish with his grace, to the point where the parish was to shock itself with the most successful 2nd rite of the Sacrament of Penance that parish had ever experienced in living memory, incomparably so, as I was told by a previous pastor. To get to that point, however, I had to put up with the tires of my car getting slashed and have some threats of violence brought to my attention. Whatever.
Now, some time later, incredibly — but not incredibly – some took it upon themselves to mock me, dancing about and sing-song accusing me of making up the whole story, for, in their view, such abuse could not be possible, and my being a troubleshooter was also just as impossible. Sometimes people with no backbone can’t imagine that anyone has any backbone. At any rate, the mockery, I must say, was horrific. This kind of mockery is tantamount to an attempt to ensure that abuse continues and that no priest will put a stop to it should he come across it. I came to know that this crowd had supported in their own way what I consider to be abuse. Yep. This is just how low mankind can sink.
Is any of this a reason to stop stopping abuse? Nope. Not on your life. I’m sure that the mockery I had to endure on behalf of those being abused was much less than what the victims had to suffer, and that suffering this mockery was the least I could do to be in solidarity with them. So, do I regret any of what happened to me in all of this? Thanks be to God, not for a second. Thanks be to the Son of the Immaculate Conception.
But Father, but Father, what happened to all those hundreds of pounds of chains falling around your neck and drowning you as the rescue helicopter sped away in glee? What happened? What happened!?
You have to know that our Lord is the Lord of history. He does what He wants. He gets what He wants. He rules the day. He. Rules! If there is any lesson in all of this for myself, for my fellow priests and bishops, and for the laity, it is that our Lord can permit evil to happen to us, but only because He knows He will, with the utmost tender solicitation for our welfare, bring a greater good out of it, more than ever could have happened otherwise. Those who whine and mock from the sidelines of the battle need encouragement to join the fight. If we can offer good example by remaining with our Lord in this battle, He who gave His life for us, then all will become an act of intercession for those who presently wimp out to the disgrace of the entire Church Militiant. And there can be conversions, and new-found soldiers in this Church Militant. Our Lord is just that good and just that kind. Really. He is.
UPDATE: And then there’s this (h/t to the Z):
And the trailer: