Rain couldn’t keep a small, but passionate, group of some of Cleveland’s bravest Church reformers from turning out at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist to pray for justice for victim-survivors of clergy abuse, transparency from the hierarchy, accountability for abusers and those who covered up abuse, as well as desperately needed reforms to dismantle both clericalism and patriarchy. As the prayer service began with the opening song, Christ Be Our Light, the rain stopped and the clouds scattered, giving way to bright sunshine – a sure reminder that God was with them and listening as they lifted up their prayers and hopes for a more just, healthier and holier Church. A powerful witness, the group raised their hand in blessing over the cathedral – as a sign of the entire Church in Cleveland – and prayed:
O God of compassion, open our ears, to hear and respond with love to the anguished cries of victim-survivors of clergy sex abuse.
O God of vision, open our eyes, to see clearly the systems and structures that that sustain injustice and envision a bold way forward to becoming your Holy People.
O God of truth, open our lips, to speak the truth to all and especially to power — plainly and without impediment: the truth about clergy sex abuse, about the cover up, about our experience.
O God of creation, open our hands, to courageously take up the difficult, prophetic work you set before us and work to build your reign of truth, justice, and love.
The prayer service in Cleveland is part of a nationwide effort, “Time’s Up: Catholics Demand Truth,” sponsored by several Church reform organizations including FutureChurch. The groups are organizing and supporting similar prayer vigils and protests in cities throughout the country on the first weekend of each month September through February, when the presidents of each of the world’s national conferences of bishops will gather in Rome to meet with Pope Francis.
To learn more about the effort, to find other witnesses, or to download a kit to organize your own witness, visit www.catholictoo.org.