Letter to a Suffering Church

With these scandals in mind, Holy Family Area Catholic Community has decided to share with you a new book by Bishop Robert Barron. The book is titled Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis.  This book was mailed out to all the parishioners at St. Joseph, Montevideo and St. Clara, Clara City in January and parishioners at St. Andrew in December.

"Letter to a Suffering Church" - Parish Announcement from Bishop Barron from Word on Fire on Vimeo.


The Devil’s masterpiece - Lesson One
As our parish reads together Bishop Robert Barron’s new book, Letter to a Suffering Church, this week we’ll reflect on the first chapter, titled “The Devil’s Masterpiece.”
Bishop Barron describes the current sexual abuse crisis as “a diabolical masterpiece,” arguing that this storm of wickedness has compromised the work of the Church in nearly every way.
Watch below as he discusses the landscape today in the wake of these scandals, including the hurt and alienation felt by so many Catholics:

  • Bishop Barron believes the abuse scandal is a “diabolical masterpiece.” Do you agree or disagree?
  • How does the Devil work to draw us into cooperating with him?
  • What is required of us for the Devil to succeed?
What does the Bible say about the sexual abuse crisis? - Lesson Two
This week we continue our parish-wide study of Bishop Robert Barron’s new book, Letter to a Suffering Church, by exploring Chapter 2, titled “Light from Scripture”.
Bishop Barron notes how this terrible abuse crisis has been analyzed from numerous perspectives: psychological, interpersonal, criminal, cultural, etc.
These are each important, but the problem will not be adequately investigated until we see it in the light coming from the Word of God.
As it turns out, the Bible has a great deal to say about human sexuality and the myriad ways that sin twists and distorts it.
Watch this short video from Bishop Barron on how the Bible sheds light on our current crisis:

  • What does the Bible say about sexuality?
  • According to the Bible, what happens when sexuality becomes abused and sinful? 
  • What can we learn from Jesus’ treatment of children in the Bible?
We have been here before - Lesson Three
This week, we focus on Chapter 3 of Bishop Robert Barron’s new book, Letter to a Suffering Church, which our parish is reading together.
Bishop Barron observes that while our present abuse crisis is unique in many ways, the current darkness must be seen in historical perspective.
The Church, from the very beginning and at every point in its development, has been marked to varying degrees by sin, scandal, stupidity, misbehavior, misfortune, and wickedness.
In this chapter, Bishop Barron recounts some of the misdeeds and outrageous sins of priests, bishops, and popes in Catholic history.
But he also shows how the Church still emerged on the other side, since there is nevertheless something good, even indestructibly good, about the Mystical Body of Christ.
Watch this short video for more:


  • Why is it useful to point out and understand prior scandals?
  • Compare the accounts of past Church scandals with the current abuse crisis. What are the similarities and differences?
  • Have there been cases of sexual abuse of minors and other vulnerable people by clergy in the past?