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Dear Friends,

I write to you tonight with familiar anger and sadness. The Pennsylvania grand jury findings demonstrate the failure of those we entrusted to be our religious and spiritual leaders to live and lead with the integrity and fidelity that we rightfully expect. Our communal righteous anger and holy tears are all the more poignant as in this moment, my own child plays just a few feet from me. The weight of the sickness and depravity of people to harm those like him and then to cover it up—resulting in further abuses—is tangible right now. As people of faith and as people of hope, this kind of anger and rage can feel foreign and bitter. But I ask you to sit with this strangeness. Our feelings and reactions to this horror are inspired by our inner moral compass, our conscience, that guides us toward what is right and good and away from what is evil.

Our sacred scriptures teach us that in the face of abundant sorrow, people pray—lamentation, weeping, tearing of clothing and gnashing of teeth. This tradition and history helps us realize that we are not alone in our pain and that such pain is itself sacred and holy. As Mary wept for Jesus, his body broken upon the cross, we weep for our church and its brokenness. Our hopes may feel dashed and our faith rattled, but even in such forsaken times, God is with us. God’s promise to be with us is not contingent upon the church’s holiness or its righteousness. God is with us in the midst of sinfulness, ever calling us to act for justice, to be with the vulnerable and to turn our hearts so we may faithfully adhere to the message of thy will be done as it is in heaven.

When we are in pain, and our emotions run high, it can feel difficult to reach out to one another. Please know that we are not meant to weep and mourn alone—especially when we as a community share in that pain and bitterness. Together we have the gifts, talents, strengths, and skills to remain true to our faith in Jesus and to vision a new future for our church. You can always reach out to me (617-627-2044) or anyone in the University Chaplaincy (617-627-3427). Tufts Counseling and Mental Health (617-627-3360) is open Monday through Friday, 9-5, even when the semester is not in session. Tufts also partners with two online counseling resources Better Health and iHope. These services are available to you any time for text, phone call or chat or video chat.

The new academic year begins in just a short time. We will have opportunities to come together as a community for processing this news and sharing what it means to be Catholic in this moment.

Prayerfully yours,

Lynn Cooper
Catholic Chaplain

Here are two articles that were published in the last few days by Catholic public theologians who are wrestling with these questions.
Virtues of Catholic Anger
Catholic Church Reform