Letter to a Suffering ChurchSuffering Church books

The sexual abuse scandal has gripped the Catholic Church for the past thirty years, and continues to wreak havoc even today. It's been a diabolical masterpiece, one that has compromised the work of the Church in every way and has left countless lives in ruins. Many Catholics are understandably asking, “Why should I stay? Why not abandon this sinking ship before it drags me or my children under?"

In this stirring manifesto, Bishop Robert Barron, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, explains why this is not the time to leave, but the time to stay and fight. Reading the current crisis through the lenses of Scripture and Church history, Bishop Barron shows that we have faced such egregious scandals before; that the spiritual treasures of the Church were preserved by holy men and women who recommitted themselves to fighting evil; and that there is a clear path forward for us today.

For Catholics questioning their faith, searching desperately for encouragement and hope, this book will offer reasons to stay and fight for the Body of Christ.


Parish Resources

5-Part Video Course to Email/Text Your Parish
(via Flocknote)

Want to make sure your parishioners read the new book after you pass it out? So do we. That's why we've partnered with Flocknote to create a free, five-part video course for your parish, which comes with prewritten emails, text messages, and discussion questions to walk your parish through the book, chapter by chapter. Here's how it works:

When you activate the course, parishioners will receive one short email or text message per week, over five weeks--so just five total. Each message corresponds to one of the five chapters in the book, and each message contains a short video reflection by Bishop Barron followed by a few discussion questions to use as a parish through Flocknote's private discussion system--so the conversations will only be visible to parish staff and other parishioners, not the public. It’s a chance for your parish leaders to dialogue with parishioners about this important topic and ensure the whole parish is reading and absorbing the book together.

You simply choose the launch date (i.e., when the first email/text goes out to your parish), and then everything else works automatically, with no extra work. Think of it like a free, turn-key, parish-wide book study—all done through Flocknote, in just a couple clicks.

If your parish already uses Flocknote, you'll find the free video course in your Flocknote Library. If not, sign up now at wordonfire.org/flocknote.

Prayer for a Suffering Church

Lord Jesus Christ, through your Incarnation you accepted a human nature and lived a real, human life. Setting aside the glory of your divinity, you met us face to face in the vulnerability of our humanity.

Though without sin, you accepted sinners, offering forgiveness and placing yourself before even the most unworthy as a servant and a friend. You became small and weak in the estimation of the powerful, so that you might elevate to glory the small and weak of the world.

Your descent into our nature was not without risk, as it exposed you to the assaults of the darkest and most terrifying of humanity’s fallen desires—our cruelty and narrowness, our deceptions and our denials. All this culminated in the cross, where your divine love was met with the full fury of our malice, our violence, and our estrangement from your grace.

You offered yourself to us with innocence and receptivity, and this was met with the abuse of your body, humiliation and mockery, betrayal and isolation, torture and death. All this—even the dereliction of feeling abandoned by God—you accepted. You became a victim, so that all those victimized since the beginning of the world would know you as their advocate. You went into the darkness, so that all those compelled into the dark by human wickedness would discover in you a radiant light.

Grant we pray, O Lord, healing for all victims of sexual abuse. Purify your Church of corruption. Bring justice to those who have been wronged. Grant consolation to all who are afflicted. Cast your light to banish the shadows of deception. Manifest to all your advocacy of those who have been so cruelly hurt, and your judgment upon those who, having perpetrated such crimes, remain unrepentant. Compel those in your Church whom you have entrusted to safeguard the innocent and act on behalf of the victims to be vigilant and zealous in their duties. Restore faith to those from whom it has been stolen, and hope to those who have despaired.

Christ the Victim, we call out to you! 

Strengthen your faithful to accept the mission placed before us, a mission of holiness and truth. Inspire us to become advocates of those who have been harmed. Grant us strength to fight for justice. Impart to us courage so that we might forthrightly face the challenges to come. Raise up saints from your Church, and grant us the grace to become the saints you desire us to be. This we ask of you, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. 


Timeline of the Crisis

2002 – 2018
2018 – Now

Further Resources


Bishop Barron Discusses New Book

Why Remain Catholic? (With So Much Scandal)

Q&A about the Sexual Abuse Crisis



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