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Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,303 ratings  ·  195 reviews
The sexual abuse scandal has gripped the Catholic Church for the past thirty years, and continues to wreak havoc even today.

It's been a diabolical masterpiece, one that has compromised the work of the Church in every way and has left countless lives in ruin.

Many Catholics are understandably asking, “Why should I stay? Why not abandon this sinking ship before it drags
Kindle Edition, 57 pages
Published July 22nd 2019 by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries
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I was not planning to read this, but a friend bought 100 copies and was passing them out. Many Catholics are hurt by the abuse scandals and this book helped her.

My husband defends the Church almost every day at his workplace, so we read this together in a couple of evenings. It is a quick read.

Bishop Barron puts the crisis in perspective, not minimizing the present catastrophic devastation across the globe in terms of lives destroyed, yet taking the long historical view which includes
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The first part made me angry, the middle part gave me prospective, and the last part was encouraging. In this fight, there is something for everyone to do to cleanse and restore order within the Church.
Julie Davis
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a cri de coeur, a cry from the heart. I am a lifelong Catholic, and I've been a priest for thirty-three years and a bishop for four years. I have dedicated my life to the Church. The sexual abuse scandal has been for me, for millions of other Catholics, and especially for the victim-survivors, lacerating. I have written this book for my fellow Catholics who feel, understandably, demoralized, scandalized, angry beyond words, and ready to quit. What I finally urge my brothers
Jul 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is nothing but "Self Serving."
- bishop says he's invested his life to the church.
Unfortunately, that church is crumbling before his own eyes because it refuses to be Christlike & do the ONE thing the bishop also left out of his book...that is..."To Reach out to those who were Raped(Physically, Emotionally, Psychologically & let's not forget SPIRITUALLY) by self ascribed men of God when they were just innocent children." And when I came foward and spoke of being
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are Catholic this is Required Reading. If you have left the Church and don’t read this then, we’ll just remember God still loves you and maybe you should read it.
Eileen O'Finlan
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Bishop Robert Barron ever since he came out with his Catholicism DVD series. I find his ability to explain difficult topics in ways I never would have thought of extremely edifying and insightful. This man has a powerful gift for teaching and evangelizing.

Letter to A Suffering Church was a huge breath of fresh air. As a devout Catholic, an employee of my diocese, and an online facilitator of courses in Catholic studies, I am deeply immersed in the life of the Church. This
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got a free copy of this in the mail with perfect timing right as I was finished up some bigger reading projects. It is small-sized, large-print, and only 100 pages, so really more of a thick pamphlet than a book (it only took about 45 minutes to read). But Bishop Barron is always an interesting and concise writer, so this slim volume nonetheless packs a punch.

The book is broken into 5 parts. Part 1 discusses the gravity of the sexual abuse crises, characterizing it as "the devil's
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Personally I did not need to be reminded why I should remain Catholic, but there are many people out there who believe they should leave the church over the sexual abuse crisis. This little book may not change their minds, but at least it should give them food for thought and maybe some insight as to why they are Catholic in the first place. Bishop Barron definitely does not defend anyone, but does a lot of revealing and puts some things into perspective.

This quote struck a chord with me, "In
Jocelyn Soriano
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended for suffering Catholics during this difficult time in history. A call for new saints to fight and rise up!
Brian Wirth
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dead on. 100% agree
Miss Sanok
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a must-read for Catholics and really anyone who has issues with the Catholic Church. As someone who has personally struggled with all of the scandals, this short book was so helpful in not only owning up to the faults of some within the Church but also gave so many tangible ways to overcome the conflictions that so many Catholics feel. It also reminds the readers that when you love someone, you cannot give up on them, the Church included. This was a powerful read and continued to ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Disappointingly shallow. If Barron is as angry about this as he ought to be, he gives no indication.
Noelia Carbajal
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading Bishop Barron’s letter isn’t a cure-all for victims, whether direct or indirect, of sexual abuse within the Church, and I don’t think Barron intends for his words to be a panacea by any means either. What it accomplishes, however, is to put suffering and healing into perspective for people of faith. Barron neither sugarcoats the truth about corrupt clergymen nor waters down the reality that you cannot find the Eucharist anywhere else. In a way, his reminder that “there is simply never a ...more
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual
A frank discussion about the sex abuse scandal, and a detailed review of the McCarrick debacle in case, like me, you didn’t want to read about it. We’ve been here before, Bishop Baron informs us, and he reviews Church history without getting buried in it. I liked his inspired application of the story of Samuel and the stay and fight encouragement. He encourages us to speak our mind and clearly empathizes with the anger people feel and the fed-up frustration of the church. His openness was ...more
Andy Fowler
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short, honest, and simple and to the point. That is this “letter” by Bishop Barron to all Catholics. Sometimes it’s repetitive (esp. the “stay and fight” call to action), but some messages need to be repeated. An engaging look at Scripture and almost a crash course of the problems that plague the Church, while providing a way forward.

If you’re at all curious about the Church and why you should not only stay, but join, read this “letter.”
Matt Mitchell
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bishop Barron's meditation on the way forward for the Catholic Church out of the sin of the sexual abuse scandal. It is, in some ways, a plea to stay faithful to the tenets which the Church professes. This is sagely advise for a time when society has a tendency to ascribe veracity based on the vessel and not the message the vessel contains.
Additionally, this is a book by a Catholic meant to be read by his fellow Catholics. It should be read in that light, and no other.
Eliza Sims
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Insightful and inspiring response by Bishop Barron to the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. Bishop Barron reads the sexual abuse in light of scripture such as Lot, Eli, and David from the Old Testament.
In the section, ‘why should we stay’ Bishop Barron presents the ‘treasure’ available in and through the Church despite fragile and compromised earthen vessels.
A moving account , I recommend to any catholic or any person scandalized or angry at the church.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
How is a devoted Catholic to respond to the horrendous sex abuse scandal ricocheting through the Church?
That is the question Bishop Barron is addressing. He isn’t presenting an exhaustive argument, rather he is joining the ranks of the hurt and suffering Catholics who are lost in response to this horrific scandal. He stands in solidarity with us, and explains why he believes we should have hope and stand with the Catholic faith even amidst this corruption.
We do not serve or follow a fallible,
Klaudia Rychlicka
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A short, concise and necessary read.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Make sure you read to the end!
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this in one sitting! Do not walk away halfway through. In order for it to mean anything, you must sit with all of it.

No new ideas are presented, but true and important realities are stressed.
Monica Nachman
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This small book touched me so deeply as no less than three priests in our parish were on the PA list!!! And I knew, personally, all three!! Bishop Barron's thoughts and encouragement has touched me like no other insights has. I've been feeling forsaken, devastated, and that the church was at a level of doom. Bishop Barron gives me great hope for our Church the Catholic Church. In the past year I read a book on the Lives of the Popes, by Richard McBrien. Bishop Barron mentions the lives and times ...more
Chris Bertrand
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bishop Baron has laid it bare and taken a stand in a way no other bishop level Catholic has done.

Now we have to stand up, speak up, clean OUR house and move on. Thank you, Bishop Baron for taking this step!
John Droesch
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. A welcome and much-needed response to those considering (or who have left) leaving the Catholic Church over the sex abuse scandal. Bishop Barron provides a thoughtful and compassionate plea to remain and fight for the Church at a time when she is most wounded. Without diminishing the grotesque and nauseating reality of this scandal, he helps place the critical role of our faith, our Church and the sacraments in perspective and how we can’t allow the despicable acts of fallen human ...more
Bill Roth
This book is written for Catholics only. And I find the case that he makes rather weak and unconvincing. The fundamental argument is that the reason to stay in the church is because of Jesus and the Eucharist. He makes an interesting analogy to Saint Augustine and the Donatists, which well interesting is a fairly thin 1200 year old logical reed upon which to base an argument. The argument is essentially that the sacraments are good even though those that practice them are flawed. He seems to be ...more
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: catholic
I respect the Bishop and what he does. It seems that he tried to express his anger over his brother bishops but it came off as too little. He may have done all that could be done.

The devil is at work.

All I can do is pray and pray and pray.
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'll admit that my reaction to the announcement of this publication was mixed - part of me was already preparing to be disappointed by carefully crafted, trite platitudes. At the same time, I dared to hope that someone in authority would finally voice their sincere heartbrokenness over the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. After reading a review copy, I think Bishop Barron successfully achieves the latter. In this short volume, the Bishop compassionately gives an overview of the crisis, a ...more
Vincent Pham
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I heard about the sexual abuse revelations of then Cardinal McCarrick and the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report last summer, I was more than disappointed with the state of the Catholic Church in many areas of the world. I was also asked by a non-Catholic friend if these sexual abuse revelations were true and I embarrassingly admitted so. For that reason, I wrote a column last October for The Catholic Register, titled, Staying Faithful Amidst Crisis in which I reflected on the events of that ...more
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully honest view of what is happening in the Catholic Church! A truthful recollection of not only what has been uncovered in the past few years but also the unfortunate history of this in the Catholic Church.
That being said, it is also an honest look at how we as The Church should lean into the Eucharist for strength and as a whole church focus on the sacraments to heal! Face our problems head on, starting from our families, our ministries, and our communities to be more Christlike to
Margaret Kasik
Aug 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
This is exactly why we’re in the position we’re in as Catholics! Are you kidding me!!
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Bishop Robert Emmet Barron is an acclaimed author, speaker, and theologian. He is the former Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago and also is the founder of Word On Fire (

Bishop Barron is the creator and host of CATHOLICISM, a groundbreaking ten-part documentary series and study program about the Catholic faith. He is a
“The Emperor Napoleon is said to have confronted Cardinal Consalvi, the secretary of state to Pope Pius VII, saying that he, Napoleon, would destroy the Church—to which the Cardinal deftly responded, “Oh my little man, you think you’re going to succeed in accomplishing what centuries of priests and bishops have tried and failed to do?” 0 likes
“seems so thoroughly thought through, so comprehensively intentional. Certainly,” 0 likes
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