I could be a truck driver.
There’s a shortage, you know, so someone would probably hire me. I like solo, cross-country driving; already in my varied career I have driven a dump truck, a garbage truck, and a fire truck. I’ve never managed a ‘big rig,” but I am a quick study. So I think I could be a truck driver.
Besides, nobody ever thinks very much about truck drivers; they’re not controversial. Except when a truck is in their way on the highway, nobody talks very much about truck drivers. That would be nice.
So, yeah, when that starts to sound good to me, it’s been a tough week.
No matter how much time you have spent on it, it’s probably not as much as I have. Reading the articles, hearing to the reports, listening to reactions, and enduring pronouncements has filled large swaths of my summer schedule these last two months, and that’s not even counting the time my brain has ground away at the ramifications and realities of this new eruption of the moral and sexual sepsis in Christ’s Church.
And no matter how much time I have spent on it, processing the information, absorbing the anger, and separating helpful from hurtful amidst all the recommendations and resolutions made in response, clearly it has not been enough to undo one evil act by one of my brother priests, or to salve one wounded soul shattered by abuse.
I read one article in the local paper criticizing a pastor for, among many things, having nothing in the bulletin responding to the crisis. Well of course not; our bulletin for last weekend were already printed when the Grand Jury report was published last week; I would imagine her parish’s was too. It’s a small thing, but a good example of how willingly people have cast aside reason, not to mention charity, in tarring with brush of their rage all whom they see as deficient or defective.
I apologize; it was in this environment that I was away from the parish last weekend, not to avoid contact with you or anybody else, but rather to seek it, albeit elsewhere: I was in Birmingham for long-planned family events. And in a truly rare turn of events, this weekend I am away again, this time for a wedding in Newark, New Jersey. Of courseI was back at work here during the weekdays between the two trips; school starts on Wednesday and there are a million things to do.
While helplessly and seemingly endlessly stuck at airports (not a bad metaphor for the whole groundhog-day sexual-abuse replay, now that I think of it), I began writing to you. You won’t be surprised to know that I have more thoughts, and more text, than I can put in a bulletin page. What of that can be saved, I will present in coming days. In the meantime, I have already heard quite a lot from people, and I understand. I will continue to listen to what you have to say. And I am dressed identifiably as a priest everywhere I go, too, so I hear a lot from other people as well. Some of what I have heard may surprise you; some of it may even cheer you. We could all use that.
But one of the best things I have heard said is that the Catholic faithful want to DO something; something that will purify and restore the Church; something that will make a difference for future sons and daughters; something that will be good and holy and life-giving, like the Church is supposed to be.
I am working on just that, and I will share it with you soon. And no, it does NOT involve driving a truck.