This 15th-century painting from the Royal Library of Turin in Italy depicts the discovery of the empty tomb after the resurrection of Jesus. CNS photo/Bridgeman Images

Editorial: Easter shows the way

By 
  • April 18, 2019

It has been a year of shame and humiliation for the Church. The clerical abuse scandals have scarred thousands of victims and mortified the faithful worldwide. They have also spurred appeals for repentance and renewal, appeals that are appropriate at Easter.

Easter is a call to celebrate the joy and hope that arose from the promise of the empty tomb. But the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus also speak to humiliation and how mercy and forgiveness rise out of humility.

Jesus humbled Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane. After His betrayal and arrest He was insulted, condemned, stripped and tortured by the high priests and Romans. The crowds saved Barabbas, a murderer, and mocked Jesus as He carried the cross and then died on it. His humiliation also saw Him handed over by Judas, denied by Peter and abandoned by His apostles. Yet, on the cross He forgave His tormentors and executioners.

Three days later He rose from the dead in triumph, resurrected, a testament to the joy and hope of eternal life, and a model of how mankind must humble itself before God.

The clerical assaults and coverups by Church hierarchy, abhorrent on many levels, are a betrayal of that humility. The scandals arose out of pride and arrogance by individuals and the institution itself, venalities that insult the Easter message.

If the Church hopes to reconcile with society and restore its moral authority, the path to rebirth is clear. Easter shows the way.

The Church must mirror the humility personified in the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a lesson all of society should heed.

Humility has become a disrespected virtue in a world that is increasingly self-centred. It may not be lost entirely, but humility can be difficult to find in a culture that lauds celebrity, wealth and individualism.

It is in little evidence among our political and business leaders, or among our sports heroes or entertainment idols. Even in the Church, to its shame, humility is not universal.

The Church has suffered a grievous public humiliation because it became so dismissive of humility. But Easter illuminates the path forward. The universal Church must embrace the humility modelled by Christ in His death and resurrection.

Slowly that is happening. Publicly confessing past crimes signals humility. Begging forgiveness signals humility. Changing wrongful behaviour signals humility. But there remains a long way to go.

Pope Francis once said the mystery of Easter cannot be understood — and the Christian faith cannot be lived fully — without humility. If mankind exhibited more of it, there would be less dishonesty, less anger, less boastfulness, less ostentation, less selfishness, less jealousy and less hostility. Easter demonstrates that humility is a non-negotiable Christian virtue.

It takes courage to be humble. Jesus showed us the way. Our Easter duty is to follow Him.


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Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

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