As writers and artists, it may be many years before we find adequate words to express the grief and sorrow of all people of good will over the fresh wave of revelations about abuse and its cover-up in the Catholic Church. Yet as Catholics, we at Dappled Things recognize that it is impossible for us to remain silent in the face of these facts. At best, silence would neglect to do justice to the gifts God has given us. At worst, it would make us complicit in the failure to address crimes that have already been too long concealed.
In the practice of the art of writing, we have learned to value the telling of truth, even when — especially when — uncovering the full truth is not a simple matter. In an unwavering commitment to truth, the laity and clergy can model the honesty and transparency we hope to see from all levels of Church leadership, from Pope Francis and the College of Cardinals down to the local parish council. The pain of victims in this crisis has been unnecessarily made worse by a lack of honesty and transparency. Abusive obfuscation, like all other abuses, must end. It is time to seek the truth not in silence but in words: both the words that have already been spoken and the words that have yet to be heard.
Some of these words can be spoken by us. Some must be spoken by others. We join our brothers and sisters in Christ who have already called upon the bishops and cardinals in union with the Pope to cooperate with the full investigation of all allegations of abuse or indications of corruption. The truth must come to light, and we must welcome its revelation, no matter how painful. Those who have the knowledge of what has really happened have a duty to come forward in the name of truth. Those who have the care of souls bear this responsibility all the more heavily. Only in this way can there be full healing and reparation.
Let us never lose faith that the truth exists and can be discovered — not despite, but through, all the subjective and refracted accounts of experience. Let us have the patience to attend to these accounts, to sift through them, to hear all those whose voices must be heard, and in this way to let the full truth be known. Let it be known to the world, too, that the united, wounded, but still beautiful Body of Christ stands in total opposition to the abuses perpetrated by some of her members, even some of her leaders. We stand in opposition to the abuse of sexuality, in opposition to the abuse of power, and in opposition to the abuse of truth and of trust.
Catholic arts and letters are not meant merely to decorate the face of the Church. Our art may not and must not be a saccharine distraction from the stench of the “smoke of Satan” in the Church. Rather it will be, in the face of the ugliness and horror of sin, a song of the beauty and goodness of God: sung not in ignorance or denial of the reality of evil, but in defiance of evil’s desire to triumph over us, and in faith and hope that Christ’s victory over death is enough for us.
Words grounded in truth can both expose wounds and heal them. At Dappled Things, we welcome the Spirit of Truth into the words we write and speak. We call upon Him to work in us and through us, rededicating ourselves to His service. We pray that, on the other side of this storm, the Church may be purified and truer to her calling, that the souls of those whose faith is shaken may be comforted, and that there may be healing and justice. And we recommit ourselves to pursuing what our journal has always sought to provide: a place to find rest in beauty, to taste and see the goodness that so often seems distant or nonexistent in our world, and to answer the call to purify and restore Catholic culture from within.
Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross
September 14, 2018
Founder & Publisher
Editor in Chief