Today we entered the final week before Christmas, the week of the O antiphons. In the Church’s prayer, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Vespers antiphons of the Magnificat, named for their beginning with the exclamation “O”, look towards the coming of the Lord with fervent hope and prayer, and they do so by using Old Testament titles for the Saviour. Father Z created an informative page about these antiphons.
Today we pray:
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
[O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.]
May the incarnation of God, who is Wisdom, guide our path and our actions. May He teach us the way of our salvation in Him.
Looking back at yesterday’s events, I can’t help but feeling somewhat relieved. Not at the contents of the Deetman report – the events and the errors it describes are terrible – but at the way the report has been received and the bishops responded. Hours after the press conference in which the report was released, Archbishop Eijk held a press conference as well – the fact that it was the archbishop speaking is an indication of how serious this is being taken by the bishops. Later, he appeared on national television, with Mr. Deetman and several victims of abuse. His words of regret and apology were once again well-received, I gathered.
The bishops also published an official statement in both Dutch and English. I link here to the English text. This also shows an openness of what the bishops plan to do to prevent such horrific crimes happening again.
All parishes in the Netherlands have received a letter from the bishops, which will be read out in Masses tomorrow. I have translated that letter in English as well.
With this start, I think we, clergy and laity alike, must work decisively together, not with our eyes to the past, but firmly ahead of us. We have a great chance to show that we can make a new start, that the mistakes of the past, however serious, need not dictate what we are today and in the future. But I think that some gesture from the Church, ideally from the top down, of sorrow, regret and repentance is very much welcome. I don’t pretend to know what form that should take, but there is more than appearing in television shows and holding press conferences to show our intentions. We Catholics must step out into the world, show our heartfelt regret for the crimes that were committed and our serious intention to prevent them in the future. The basis for that has been laid yesterday. Let’s move forward in unity with one another.