By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

The biggest news stories of recent days expose the human failings in our government and the Catholic Church, really, about the scandal bubbling up in both institutions.

“Scandal,” a word borrowed from Latin and Greek words, means a “cause of moral stumbling.”

Who’s stumbling?

Are the guilty stumbling because of their moral failings? Or are ordinary Catholics and U.S. citizens slipping in the mud and muck caused by clericalism and political power mongering?

Where is our sure footing?

It’s probably not mere coincidence that the moral failings of both the Church in the U.S. (and elsewhere) and our political system are coming to the fore at the same time. People in the pews and average citizens want some accountability, repentance, and action to ensure the moral good and protection of the innocent.

In the unlikelihood that you missed it, here’s the news of recent days that has shaken our country.

The Pennsylvania attorney general on Aug. 14 released the findings of a two-year grand jury investigation into child sex abuse by Catholic priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses. You can read the shameful and horrifying details for yourself here.

Then, one week later, on Aug. 21, in back-to-back hearings in separate federal courtrooms, two men closely allied with President Trump pleaded to or were convicted of federal crimes, in one case implicating him in a campaign cover-up. His former lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, said in his guilty plea that he was directed by the candidate to pay off two women in exchange for their silence about alleged sexual relations with him.

The same day, Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was convicted on eight counts of financial misdeeds. He faces still more federal charges in a separate case.

Church and society may be at a tipping point.

The Gospel message is clear:  do justice, love the poor, seek God’s love and bring about God’s mission. The Gospel mandate of selfless love is a moral compass for Christians who look for clarity in our murky society.

I’ve recently read two articles that offer some guidance as we try to work our way out of the current morass. One is a reasoned political analysis from National Public Radio on Aug. 22.

The other is a clear and passionate call for justice in our Church by leaders among U.S. Catholic Sisters.

Read them and pray that you are not a “cause of moral stumbling” for anyone at anytime, anywhere.