Phoenix bishop calls for ‘humility and courage’ to face difficult years ahead

Phoenix, Ariz., Nov 27, 2019 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- The Church must face the fallout of the abuse scandal with humility and courage, Bishop Thomas Olmstead of Phoenix has said, while predicting “very difficult” years ahead for the Church.

“We need a spirit of humility, but also courage and praise for the mercy of God who is always present and working within us,” said Olmstead in an interview published in the Catholic Sun Nov. 22 to mark the 50th anniversary of the diocese.

“There’s a need for a sense of humility, especially with what we have had to face in the terrible scandal,” said Olmstead. “When those who are ordained to serve others are actually taking advantage of others, that’s a horrible scandal.”

Olmstead said that humility in the face of failures was essential in seeking God’s forgiveness and mercy.

“The Lord works well in a humble heart. It’s fertile soil for Him to work,” he said.

In addition to humility, Olmstead said, the Church today must also be courageous, and look to the Bible for guidance on how to persevere through challenging periods.

“It is especially at times when we looked weakest or when things seemed hopeless, like Good Friday, when the biggest explosions of grace and wonder occur,” he said. “That’s true for us now.”

When people surrender their will to God, the bishop explained, “we find He does things we never expected.” These unexpected answers of God “give us courage to trust Him in whatever comes along next.”

Olmstead has led Phoenix for 16 years–nearly a third of the diocese’s history. He said he had no previous experience of the area upon arriving in Arizona, and was very unsure as to what it would be like to lead the diocese. Despite this, he explained that he feels “very much like the spiritual father” to the Catholic of Phoenix, and that he is “deeply moved by being here.”

Phoenix is the fastest-growing city in the country, something that Olmstead said has caused him to rely more on his trust in the Lord that things will work out.

“We are growing very, very fast, and if the Lord asks us to live at this time in history, we trust that He gives us the grace to respond at this time in history,” he said.

The new people arriving to the area are from all over the country and the world, “bringing gifts themselves that are going to be good for us as a community.” It is important that everyone, regardless of origin, seek to learn from each other. Olmstead said that he believed the influx of new people to the diocese has “brought us a broader sense of being Catholic.”

Catholics “are called to go out to all the world,” he said. “In many ways, a lot of the world is coming to us. The one thing that unites us is Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith, and the Catholic faith moves us beyond where we are.”

Noting that Jesus had ordered people to teach all the nations, Olmstead said that in Phoenix’s case, “a lot of that is to welcome those who are coming here. We go out to those who have come to us, and we welcome them.”

While Phoenix is growing as a diocese, the bishop’s view of the Church in the coming years is decidedly cloudy.

“I think the years immediately ahead are going to be very difficult,” he said. “We continue to struggle with a large part of society that doesn’t believe in God any longer. So, I think that challenge is there.”

To combat this mentality, Olmstead said that the Church has to be one with “an even deeper rootedness in Christ.”

“But you know, the light is most brilliant and most wonderful when there’s darkness. We need to expect that the Lord will ask us to have a real, living faith,” he said.

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1 Comment

  1. I understand that Bishop Olmstead means well, but, ultimately, if all the Church hierarchy do is bend their heads in shame and say ‘ it is all our fault and we are bad’ then nothing will be achieved. The abuse scandal was the result of a massive infiltration by people who were not good or holy men. It is possible to have a singular instance of a priest who betrays his vows with an affair with a woman. This is shameful, but will not have the corrosive effect that organised networks of predatory people will inflict on the Church.
    The information is all there; the John Jay research revealed that the abuse was overwhelmingly homosexual. The sexual abuse exposed by the McCarrick scandal is homosexual- male abuse of adult males. The sexual abuse revealed in South America is homosexual. The sexual abuse revealed by the Royal Commission in Australia was homosexual (although camouflaged by the fact in that inquiry, that the abuse, because it was institutional, was of minors, and therefore characterised as an abuse by ‘Catholic priests’ and ‘paedophiles’ rather than abuse that was homosexual). It was 80% homosexual. The infiltration of the Catholic Church by homosexual networks was revealed by Michael Rose in ‘Goodbye Good Men.’ A priest told me that the situation described by Michael Rose fitted his experience at the seminary.
    We are seeing abusers not being punished and no action being taken against them still, even today. We have a homosexual network in the Vatican and we have priests credibly accused of abuse who are still protected. The infiltration of networks was the result of a modernist distortion of the concept of ‘tolerance ‘ that is still being shoved at us, not only by the main stream media but by the powerful in the Church. Unless bishops and cardinals speak up and call it out, the abusers will get away with it and the only result of exposure will be a persecution of the Catholic Church which will constitute a persecution of the good and faithful priests. The abusers were and are, a small minority. However, they have inflicted untold damage on the lives of those whom they have violated and upon the Church they have defiled. For a bishop to speak as though it is the Catholic Church that is at fault, without pointing to the abuse of trust that has been perpetrated by a calculated course of conduct by a readily identifiable group is simply evasive. It is ultimately destructive to the Church in much the same way that saying or doing nothing is. Of course, we know the real reluctance to delineate the cause is grounded in a reluctance to make oneself a target of those vicious groups who will speak with hate and call us ‘haters’. But, sorry, you are either for Christ or against Him. Those who are leaders of the Church must take a stand – and that is a real stand, not an almost stand.

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