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Commentary: 'Judas' leaves us shattered, but God still God

Roxane Salonen

FARGO — I've been taking in news about the latest round of priest-abuse scandals and the "lavender mafia," an alleged ring of sexual deviancy among clergy deep within the Catholic Church, with dismay and devastation.

Even though this scourge is happening within a specific sector of Christendom, all are affected as the body of Christ. But as a Catholic, this hits me especially hard.

Despite my great love for the church, desire to share the good news, and intent to defend my faith, I've been standing silent in grief for weeks now, trying to process enough to form words that might help.

Right now, I sense Satan howling in laughter at the havoc and hurt he's caused. I feel the defeat.

For those who take the faith seriously, it is shattering. For the victims whose lives have been forever altered, it is tragic. For the shepherds who have been righteous but nonetheless will be associated and scorned, it is trying.

I have wept, carrying this as deeply as I would any personal crisis. This is my family, and Judas, our long-lost cousin, the betrayer, has stopped in for a visit, and I'm taken aback.

But if faith is real, it will not rest here. Even as we confront this crisis, a still, small voice emerges. "For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light." This passage from Luke 8:17 reminds us that dark deeds keep us bound, and light frees.

Yes, Judas' presence reminds us of evil and defeat, but God is still God, and very much alive and among us, too. Might he have allowed this exposing of evil right now out of love? Is it possible he wishes to bring the world into his bosom once and for all?

It is painful to realize the depth of evil and how many have been ruined by it, and how many more will be damaged because of it. But we must trust in God's timing and in his good will for the world.

Earlier this week, I talked with a young woman whose boyfriend was killed in a car accident this summer. That interview left me in tears, not of sadness, but hope, for this young college student reminded me, even while in the thick of grief, that Jesus holds us in our hurting, and weeps with us. I'll share more soon.

For now, we can use this time of reckoning to look within and rid our own souls of the cobwebs that have collected. We can repent and make things good with God while there's still time. We absolutely must demand justice and full transparency, but not be tempted toward further division. Instead, we must pray for one another fervently, and love always.