Millennial Catholics Want Transparency, Truth, and Action in Wake of New Sex Abuse Crisis

Millennial editor Robert Christian writes:

While a small group of ideologues have tried to hijack the crisis to promote their preexisting agenda against Vatican II, gay priests, or celibacy, the general response among millennial Catholics has transcended the many internal divisions that exist within the U.S. church. The anger is palpable. There is anger at the injustice that was perpetrated, anger at the pathetic response by members of the hierarchy across decades, and anger at the secrecy and cover-ups that kept it all quiet. There has also been anger at the way current bishops have responded—the feeling that their initial statements were disconnected from the experiences and sentiments of the people in the pews.

There is widespread sorrow, as well. Above all, there is sadness at the suffering of the victims and at the decisions made by church leaders that not only denied these victims justice, but continued to expose others to harm and exploitation. There is disgust. For younger millennial Catholics, the sex-abuse crisis of the early 2000s was more history than lived reality; the current crisis is a jarring, difficult, and sometimes nauseating experience to many….

Among millennial Catholics, there seems to be a strong sense that this must be a turning point, that this must mark the beginning of a new era of transparency and accountability. Calls for reform are being articulated by young Catholics with all different types of worldviews and backgrounds. In the highly polarized U.S. church, where partisan affiliation and political ideology often matter more than the demands of the faith, this deserves attention….

They know the status quo must change. There is a need for prayer, but also action. Maintaining what little credibility the church has among millennials depends on it.

Catholics, millennial or not, must remember that the church is more than the hierarchy. It is the People of God. All Catholics can bear witness to the best of their faith by living it authentically—fathers and mothers caring for their children and sons and daughters caring for infirm parents, workers at Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services helping to lift up the poor, pro-life and environmental activists fighting for human dignity, teachers carefully explaining the faith to a new generation, and countless others trying to follow Christ in their daily lives. And we can all be there for the survivors of sexual abuse, working for a church and society that better protects children and anyone else who might be exploited or harmed. The temptation to wallow in despair remains, but the call to build a better church is more important now than ever.

 


No Amount of Alcohol is Safe for Your Overall Health

via CNN:

If you’re one of the third of all humankind who drinks alcohol, take note: There’s no amount of liquor, wine or beer that is safe for your overall health, according to a new analysis of 2016 global alcohol consumption and disease risk.

Alcohol was the leading risk factor for disease and premature death in men and women between the ages of 15 and 49 worldwide in 2016, accounting for nearly one in 10 deaths, according to the study, published Thursday in the journal The Lancet.

For all ages, alcohol was associated with 2.8 million deaths that year.

Those deaths include alcohol-related cancer and cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, intentional injury such as violence and self-harm, and traffic accidents and other unintentional injuries such as drowning and fires.

“The most surprising finding was that even small amounts of alcohol use contribute to health loss globally,” said senior study author Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. “We’re used to hearing that a drink or two a day is fine. But the evidence is the evidence.”…

The Lancet study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, used data from the 2016 Global Burden of Disease report, which captured information on premature death and disability from over 300 diseases by sex and age in 195 countries or territories between 1990 and 2016.

Researchers analyzed the impact of alcohol on 23 health conditions and alcohol-related risks on people between the ages of 15 and approximately 95 for the year 2016….

In independent comments published alongside the study, King’s College London alcohol researcher Robyn Burton called the study “state-of-the-art.”

“The conclusions of the study are clear and unambiguous: alcohol is a colossal global health issue,” Burton wrote, suggesting that policy makers put a priority on programs that focus on decreasing alcohol consumption….

Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, agreed, saying in a statement, “While there may be a slight benefit to heart and circulatory health from modest drinking, many studies have shown that the overall health risks of drinking alcohol outweigh any benefits.”


UN Panel: Myanmar Generals Should Face Genocide Charges

via NY Times:

Myanmar’s army commander and other top generals should face trial in an international court for genocide against Rohingya Muslims and for crimes against humanity targeting other ethnic minorities, United Nations experts said on Monday after a yearlong investigation.

Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the commander in chief of Myanmar’s army, is one of six generals named as priority subjects for investigation and prosecution by a United Nations Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar in a report detailing military campaigns involving atrocities that “undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law.”

The three-member panel leveled the most serious charge, genocide, over the ferocious campaign unleashed by the Buddhist-majority security forces against Rohingya Muslims a year ago. That campaign, in the state of Rakhine, sent more than 700,000 fleeing across the border to Bangladesh….

The panel found evidence of genocidal intent in the operation, citing the prevailing rhetoric of hate directed at the Rohingya and statements by military commanders as well as “the level of organization indicating a plan for destruction; and the extreme scale and brutality of the violence.”

The panel said estimates of 10,000 deaths in the Rakhine campaign were conservative and cited harrowing witness accounts of mass killings, gang rapes of women and young girls and the wholesale destruction of villages by the military, known as the Tatmadaw.

Myanmar’s civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and other civilian authorities “contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes” by failing to use their positions to stop them, the panel said.


Barack Obama on the Passing of John McCain

via Barack Obama:

John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics. But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed. We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world. We saw this country as a place where anything is possible – and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way.

Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family.



Pope Francis on Sex Abuse and Cover-up: We Must Respond to These Atrocities with Solidarity

via Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis to the People of God:

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26). These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike. Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults….

We have realized that these wounds never disappear and that they require us forcefully to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death; these wounds never go away. The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced. But their outcry was more powerful than all the measures meant to silence it, or sought even to resolve it by decisions that increased its gravity by falling into complicity. The Lord heard that cry and once again showed us on which side he stands….

The extent and the gravity of all that has happened requires coming to grips with this reality in a comprehensive and communal way. While it is important and necessary on every journey of conversion to acknowledge the truth of what has happened, in itself this is not enough. Today we are challenged as the People of God to take on the pain of our brothers and sisters wounded in their flesh and in their spirit. If, in the past, the response was one of omission, today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history….

It is impossible to think of a conversion of our activity as a Church that does not include the active participation of all the members of God’s People. Indeed, whenever we have tried to replace, or silence, or ignore, or reduce the People of God to small elites, we end up creating communities, projects, theological approaches, spiritualities and structures without roots, without memory, without faces, without bodies and ultimately, without lives. This is clearly seen in a peculiar way of understanding the Church’s authority, one common in many communities where sexual abuse and the abuse of power and conscience have occurred. Such is the case with clericalism, an approach that “not only nullifies the character of Christians, but also tends to diminish and undervalue the baptismal grace that the Holy Spirit has placed in the heart of our people”. Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today. To say “no” to abuse is to say an emphatic “no” to all forms of clericalism….

May fasting and prayer open our ears to the hushed pain felt by children, young people and the disabled. A fasting that can make us hunger and thirst for justice and impel us to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary. A fasting that shakes us up and leads us to be committed in truth and charity with all men and women of good will, and with society in general, to combatting all forms of the abuse of power, sexual abuse and the abuse of conscience.


American Catholics Don’t Want Easy Answers

On Twitter, Susan Reynolds writes: