I am writing this on the day when one of the few Catholic Conservative Antipodean cardinals is convicted of sex with underage boys. (It was the second trial, and the verdict is questioned and appealed). We should all pray for Cardinal Pell: that he has the courage to repent of his sins (for he may be innocent of this, or not, but we have all sinned) and that he preaches the raw gospel.
That he does not fall into despair, for our enemies are trying to bring down the church of Christ -- not merely the Catholic church -- one fallen prelate, priest, or minister at a time.
Hopkins did not fall, but standing he was tested to breaking point. Know this: if you fall you will not be left alone, but you will be paraded as an example of the hypocrisy of the faithful.
By those who accuse, and do not this: we are all fallen and broken.
Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?
Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.
Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, fóot tród
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.
Gerard Manley Hopkins
The critics, and many there are, say Hopkins was alone, isolated, probably depressed: his friends, deep friends, were in England and some would see sexuality in a time that discounted this. And there are those who think that he merely needed mindfulness: that this despair is easily mended.
This is not the case. The dark night, the working against one's nature, when the earth is brass and the sky iron, is an expected part of the Christian life. It is a paring away. Christians have always lived through such.
And for this there is no medication: for there the saints meet with God and wrestle as much with their fated growth as with the darker reaches of their soul.
I suggest Hopkins lived through such. Many have: a minority have been, as he was, in the religious orders. For most their calling is to work: to raise a family, and to enjoy the comforts of the day. We should give the trials of the day to Christ, sacrificing our ambition for service.
For the Church is builded of people, not credentials. And our accusers? We should not in any way be like them.