Early on, Harton, a monk and Vocation Director for St. Benedict’s Abbey, stressed that it is important to love the Church while still living the reality of being called to live in the Church even during time of trial.
The trial Harton is referring to is the revelation beginning in 2002 about high ranking members of the clergy covering up the sexual abuse of minors by priest that lasted over sixty years.
Harton cautioned the group not to brush off this reality and turn a blind eye to it which has been going on for the past sixty years or so.
“You’re being in the Church at this particular painful, shameful, and embarrassing moment is somehow mysteriously important. It is somehow mysteriously significant,” Harton said.
In encountering the effects of the sex scandal though living at the Abbey, he sees how it has transformed his Order and the Church with more guidelines and precautions set in place to prevent such a scandal from happening again.
“Many people have suffered because of our church and the silence imposed on them. And on behalf of them, we have a sacred duty to acknowledge this pain and stay with it,” Harton said.
Mary Bade, junior, appreciated Harton’s personal witness on this topic.
“Just his passion for it and looking at it and saying like, ‘okay I’m not going to be the one to fix this whole problem. I’m not going to be the one to change this in the Church,’ but say, ‘this is my role just as an individual, my role as brother in the community and here in my role I can take this pain and do something with it,’” Bade said.
After the talk a Q&A session followed talk.