On one occasion Abba Moses of Patara was engaged in a war against fornication, and he could not endure being in his cell, and he went and informed Abba Isidore of it; and the elder entreated him to return to his cell, but he would not agree to this. And having said, “Fr., I cannot bear it,” the elder took him up to the roof of his cell, and said unto him, “Look to the west,” and when he looked he saw multitudes of devils with troubled and terrified aspects, and they showed themselves in the forms of phantoms which were in fighting attitudes. Abba Isidore said unto him, ”Look to the east,” and when he looked he saw innumerable holy angels standing there, and they were in a state of great glory. Then Abba Isidore said unto him, “Behold, those who are in the west are those who are fighting with the holy ones, and those whom you have seen in the east are they who are sent by God to the help of the saints, for those who are with us are many.” And having seen this Abba Moses took courage and returned to his cell without fear.
For two thousand years, in season and out of season–mostly out of season–the Catholic Church has been fighting a war against principality and powers.
Our collective wisdom on battle tactics, if used in cooperation with the grace of God, which we enjoy in full sacramental measure, should be more than enough to overcome any malevolence, including the spirit of fornication.
Let’s face the fact that the 20th century was a century of total war on every level, and that wise fathers were hard to find even in the Church. Some were not fathers at all but perverse and perverting uncles.
Sexual abuse is not a Catholic problem. It is a human problem. But the Catholic Church is unique.
Because we have the solution.
We are called to be a city on a hill, attracting others to Christ by the authenticity of our re-creation by the water and the Blood. We have the call, and the means, to be a singular oasis of goodness and freedom. We have hard-won solutions to problems of loneliness, shame, compulsion, bad friendships, gluttony, sloth, curiositas–all of the handmaids of fornication. And we have a superabundance of grace if only we avail ourselves of it. If only we ask for it.
If only we put our faith in God.