Guest editorial: An Open Letter To Parish Priests and Bishops

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by Justin Trefney

I’m writing to you today on behalf of myself, my family and many Catholics who have spoken with me over the last few weeks. I’d like to say I write this from the heart with great charity for the Church and her clergy.

Many emotions have been expressed to, and felt by me in regards to how many of the clergy have reacted to the Covington Catholic High School controversy; anger, fear, sadness, disappointment among others. People are now talking among themselves about switching parishes, withholding funds and leaving the Church over what her priests and bishops have said and done these past 2 weeks.

We are angry that so many priests and bishops would throw these kids under the bus over a 2 minute video clip without looking into it further. Even if the initial reports were true, which is now known to not be the case, these were children, not fully developed cognitively and ignorant. They would have been victims themselves of bad formation and should have been corrected with charity for their well-being and not had their lives publicly destroyed by a mob; a mob many charged with being their spiritual father were quick to join.

We are fearful for ourselves and more so for our children. Catholics are persecuted daily for having beliefs that are alternative to those of the world. When we are attacked we need strong men and strong priests to have our backs. When our children are attacked we need strong men and strong priests to place themselves in-between the world and our children. If this was a student at your school, if this was one of my sons, I and many others now fear you would not help protect them. We wonder if you would be willing to lay down your life for them like Jesus commanded His shepherds to do. We fear our children seeing how the Church and her clergy abandoned children to the mob and wonder if this is a Church they want to be a part of.

We are saddened that the clergy assume half the country are racist, sexists, homophobes and bigots because of the color of their skin and the hart they are wearing. I myself did not vote for Trump as I disagree with both parties but many in our Church did. And to suggest all those Catholics that wear Make America Great Again hats share Trump’s every opinion is like saying those Catholics who wear Hope and Change hats share Obama’s opinion on partial birth abortion. Trump, indeed supports the Pro-Life movement.

We are disappointed in the lack of apologies from the Church and her shepherds. Half-hearted apologies about people misunderstanding you on a now deleted threads is not the same as apologizing for presuming half the country is evil. It’s not the same as apologizing to those kids for jumping to conclusions and ruining their lives. It’s not the same as apologizing to their parents for causing them so much grief. It’s not the same as apologizing to other students at Covington Catholic High School who had nothing to do with this, but are victims of the mob. It’s not the same as apologizing to all Catholics for being a part of scandalizing them.

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