Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 29, 2002
Abuse controversy a crisis of soul
Rolheiser says crisis puts church next to the poor, excluded
By ART BABYCH
It is a "dark night of the soul for us as Christians in North America."
- Fr. Ron Rolheiser
It is a "dark night of the soul for us as Christians in North America," added Rolheiser, who has taught theology and philosophy at Newman Theological College in Edmonton, for most of the 28 years of his priesthood.
The Oblate priest said that the "powerful humiliation" caused by the scandals is painful but one that is "not necessarily a bad thing."
The humiliation of Christ being crucified on the cross has been sanitized, said Rolheiser, observing that Christ would have been naked and that "his bowels would have loosed" as he died on the cross. "There's no greater humiliation than that. Crucifixion isn't beautiful."
The Church today is being humiliated but out of that will come a "deeper, richer, resurrected life," he said.
Speaking about vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, Rolheiser said what is needed are saints "who can give their whole lives (to God) in such a way that they have the power and the permission to ask other people to turn their lives over."
He cited Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Jean Vanier, founder of l'Arche community for people with disabilities, as examples. The call to vocation comes from God but it can be communicated through people like Mother Teresa and Vanier who "give a credible presence to the fact of God and to the person in the love of that God."
Another keynote speaker at the vocations congress was Father Donald Senior, an American author and general editor of The Bible Today. He said he has been a priest for more than 35 years and a religious for more than 40 years.
"Never in my life have I experienced a time like this when there has been so much anger and confusion and pain in the Church and among people of good will outside the Church," he said.
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