America News Analysis

St John Vianney’s incorrupt heart is touring the US. It couldn’t come at a better time

The heart of St John Vianney (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)

Amidst the crisis, we need a reminder that the Church is the fount of grace and the vehicle of salvation

The new sex abuse crisis has brought the American Church to the centre of the world’s attention. People can’t take their eyes off the carnage left by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, his fellow predators and their enablers.

It’s too easy even for faithful Catholics to forget that the Church is more than the sum of its parts, and certainly more than the sum of the “lavender mafia”. One can mistake the institutional Church – the fallen, sinful, sometimes downright evil men who make up the priesthood – for the mystical Church: the Bride of Christ, our Holy Mother. We need a reminder that the Church is the fount of grace and the vehicle of salvation.

The Knights of Columbus have given us just that. They’re sponsoring a six-month tour of the incorrupt heart of St John Vianney across the United States. The tour began on November 16 at the Knights’ birthplace of New Haven, Connecticut.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson understands this need. As he wrote to the Knights and chaplains who are participating in the tour: “We – like all Catholics – are painfully aware of the wreckage that ensues when elements of this leadership are abdicated by evil actions whether directly perpetrated or covered up.” It was, Anderson said, a “providential” opportunity to invoke a saint whose “holiness and integrity is a singular model for clergy”.

Just last year, the Saint Pio Foundation sponsored a tour of Padre Pio’s relics that drew massive crowds across the country. Catholics throng to these holy objects and the graces they promise. For many, the grace they need most is simply perseverance in the faith. But those who seek the saints’ help will be sure to find it.