Abuse and crisis within the Catholic Church I call home are unfortunately nothing new. But every time abuse previously unknown to the public comes to light, it is a reminder of a festering, rotten, wound that has not yet been fully healed. We’ve learned recently of decades of evil abuse. And understandably, many of my fellow Catholics are feeling powerless to make this change. What can we do? Where should we start?
To begin with, let’s pray. Prayer is more powerful than it feels. And prayer is always essential to rightly order ourselves in determining concrete action moving forward. We need to commit to fervent prayer for our Church, the people tasked to lead it, and those who have failed us. When I pray for other people and causes, I like to have specific intentions. So I present to you:
If you’ve not prayed a litany before, it’s a style of prayer with a list of intentions and responses. The response for each group of intentions is given in italics after the first line and is repeated after each individual intention. It can be prayed individually, or in a group where one person reads the intention and other say the response. It is meant to be prayed slowly as we reflect on each specific intention.
A Litany for Our Church in Crisis
Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us.
In the midst of darkness, confusion, and outrage, God we ask for your guidance and right judgement in revealing what is hidden, righting what is wrong, and healing what is broken.
From apathy when faced with evil. DELIVER US, O LORD.
From covering up of sin within our Church.
From systems which allow the continuation of abuse.
From cowardly and sinful leaders.
From despair and hopelessness.
For every individual who has personally suffered at the hands of a clergy member or lay leader. LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER
For every victim not taken seriously.
For every family member and friend of those who have suffered.
For healing and restoration.
For those who groom individuals to become victims of crimes and commit grave sin, particularly abuse, rape, and molestation.
For those who abuse the power of their office to violate the dignity of other people in an effort to placate their selfish and sinful appetites.
For those who violate the trust of those they vowed to lead to Christ.
For those who aid and abet grave sin among our clergy and lay leaders.
For justice to be served.
For sincere repentance and conversion of heart.
For those coerced and blackmailed into silence.
For those who remain silent in the face of evil.
For good and holy clergy and lay leaders working to heal the wound of abuse and prevent it in the future.
For good and holy clergy as they continue to perform their duties and provide access to the sacraments.
For good and holy lay people working in parishes and religiously affiliated organizations.
For courage on the part of all leaders entrusted with the protection of members of the Body of Christ.
For the formation of current seminarians.
For parents concerned for their children’s safety and wellbeing.
For those tempted to leave their home in the Catholic Church because of abuse and scandal.
For those experiencing feelings of betrayal.
For perseverance in combating evil.
For renewed faith in Jesus Christ.
For renewed hope in the saving power of a life lived for heaven.
For renewed charity towards our brothers and sisters.
For renewed commitment to rightly ordered sexuality through the virtue of chastity.
For purity of heart and action.
For transparency and collaboration in forming a solution.
Jesus, giver of life, purify your Church plagued with the rot of sin. Spur on faithful leaders to courageously take decisive action knowing full well the personal sacrifice required. Give the grace of humility in admitting wrongdoing and working towards a long term resolution. Enkindle in the hearts of our laity the perseverance to endure the scandal of sin and the faithfulness to defend all that is good about the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit, Divine Comforter, be with your children who are suffering. Inspire the reform needed so desperately in your Church. Be with every faithful member of the Body of Christ as we determine how to move forward. God the Father, remind us of your goodness. Bring peace to every weary soul and justice to every hidden corner of sin. Shine your light on all that is hidden and wash it clean with the blood of your Son offered in reparation for the sins of your children.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. AMEN.
You are welcome to share this litany and pray it with other people or your parish. I’ve created a PDF for easy printing, which you’re welcome to use for that purpose. Click below to download and print.