My good friend Fr. Gerald Murray of the Archdiocese of New York posted an Open Letter to ex-Cardinal McCarrick, also originally a priest of the same Archdiocese.
Fr. Murray really lays it on the line, in spiritual terms. It’s strong medicine, friends. I can only hope that McCarrick will read it, that someone cares enough for McCarrick to give it to him.
It is important, as Catholics, that we foster the virtue of charity, concretely expressed. When we deal with people like McCarrick, and we consider the devastation that they caused, we may have a knee jerk reaction to want them to be crushed, ground up, brought down so far that they they even wonder where their next meal will come from. That, however, isn’t an authentic Christian reaction.
Charity compels us to desire that which is the true good on another, our neighbor. McCarrick remains a neighbor. He has an immortal soul. We should never desire Hell for anyone. We should always desire conversion and repentance from objective sinners. We should also desire authentic mercy for the sinner. Think about the rejoicing in heaven at the conversion of a sinner. The greater the sinner, the greater the conversion, the greater the joy, the more God’s glory is magnified. God brings good from evil.
Authentic mercy does not obliterate justice. True mercy does not ignore the truth.
Mercy mitigates justice. Mercy does not abandon truth. Mercy exalts the truth and then shows forth the love and might of God in setting aside something of what delicts deserve.
“Behold! Here are the horrible facts. Behold the truth! Now consider the magnificent love of our Savior who bore all of that, loves of still, and always offers grace and forgiveness!”
With the love of God in mind, we should long to preserve always the truth when we are concerned even with the more complicated situations we little people can get ourselves into.
God’s justice we are going to get whether we want it or not. Mercy, however, must be and can be asked for. God will be merciful, but we must ask for it. Mercy won’t entirely mitigate justice and will in no way obscure the truth. But mercy will attenuate what our sins have truly deserved.
Mercy is honored even more when the truth is preserved. Hence, the greater the fault to which we apply mercy, the greater God’s love is shown to be. Mercy underscores God’s omnipotence. In this earthly life, wounded by Original Sin, there is no perfect charity. There is, here and now, no perfect justice, no perfect mercy. Yet, we must strive for it, so that we always have a foot in the City of God even while we still sojourn in the City of Man.
Fr. Murray has offered good priestly advice – openly and for all to read – to ex-Card. McCarrick. He rightly points out the role of truth for him now, in light of the mercy that God will show in his judgement… which, at his age, will be very soon.
Remember, dear readers, that we are going to be judged soon. Even if in earthly years you are still among those considered “young”, your judgement, in the grand arc of salvation history, is going to be soon. Life is fleeting. Our years pass like the burning of dry grass, like the whipping of the loom’s shuttle.
Some of you reading this are really close to your judgment, because of age, health or unforeseen accidents that can strike at any moment.
GO TO CONFESSION!