A senior Vatican cardinal believes Catholics face two choices as the Church experiences a “perfect demonic storm” due to sexual abuse.
“We are at a moment of serious crisis, probably the greatest crisis our Church has faced in many centuries,” said Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, who visited New Zealand from September 13
to 16.

Cardinal O’Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, invested seven new members of the order in Auckland on September 15.

“Today, as throughout Church history, the faithful — you — are offered a choice,” he said in a message to members of the ancient order throughout the world.

“There’s the temptation to flee, to abandon the Church — Satan has won a victory.

“Or we can dig in. Our Faith is not rooted in human beings, but in Jesus Christ. Knights of the Holy Sepulchre have never deserted. They have stood their ground in defence of the Church in times of greatest crises.

“I would urge all our members to dig in: Double-down — return to the God-given resources of our Faith: Prayer, the Mass, Eucharistic devotion, penance and fasting.

“Participate in parish and diocesan-sponsored liturgies and assemblies of prayer in reparation for the deplorable sacrileges by those in holy orders against the helpless innocent:  Scandalous betrayals of trust by those sworn to be other Christs.

“Support the vast majority of good priests in your midst — your priests, struggling daily to be Christ for you. They are suffering greatly.”

Cardinal O’Brien said he had joined with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in requesting a Vatican-sponsored investigation involving lay people with special skills to determine responsibility for Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s promotions within the hierarchy.

(In June the Holy See removed the former Cardinal McCarrick of Washington from public ministry after an allegation against him was found to be “credible and substantiated”.)

“Throughout history,” said Cardinal O’Brien, “God has shown he can bring about good from the worst of evils. Just look at a crucifix!”