Saint Theresa Parish

A Roman Catholic Community
5045 E. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 840-0850 Parish Office
(602) 840-0871 Parish Fax  

Parish Email

Parish Office Hours
Monday through Thursday
9:00AM-Noon & 1:00PM-5:00PM
Friday 9:00AM-Noon          Sunday 8:30AM-12:30PM

Closed Saturdays
& most Federal Holidays.

Liturgy Schedule
Saturday Vigil Mass 4PM
Sunday Masses
9:00AM (Liturgy with Children)
11:00AM and
5:00PM (Teen and Young Adult)

Daily Masses
Monday through Friday
6:30AM and Saturday at 8:00AM
Holy Day Masses as announced in bulletin prior to the Holy Day.

Sacrament of Reconciliation
Saturday, 9:00AM to 10:00AM
Wednesday, 5:00PM to 6:00PM and by appointment


Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Parochial Vicar 

(Associate Pastor)

Rev. Joachim Adeyemi

Rev. J.C. Ortiz

Assisting Priest

Rev. Paul Peri


Colin F. Campbell

Mark Kriese

Ralph Ulibarri


Saint Theresa Catholic School
5001 East Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018

(602) 840-0010 School Office
(602) 840-8323 School Fax



« Reflections - December 16, 2018 | Main | Reflections - December 2, 2018 »

Reflections - December 9, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

Recently I had a conversation with a visitor who continues to struggle with the perception that Pope Francis and the Holy See (i.e., the governance of our Church at the level of the Vatican) is downplaying, covering up or failing to adequately respond to the sexual misconduct scandals that have rocked our Church. This sense of frustration and anger is understandable; I can honestly say I, along with the majority of priests and bishops I know, have experienced tremendous heartache, anger and felt a sense of betrayal as the new details about the abuse scandal have come to light along with the knowledge of how the institutional Church has handled (or mishandled) credible allegations of sexual misconduct of priests and bishops in the past.

So, why hasn’t our Holy Father Francis taken more immediate, visible and perhaps drastic action in responding to the revelations? I think that there are some points of critical importance that have to be taken into consideration when we try to assess Pope Francis’ response.

First, we have to realize that – as Americans – we live in a very particular culture at a particular point in history where we are accustomed to fast food, lightning-speed Google search results and “instant gratification” as we are inundated with tweets, social media and a news cycle that is more reactionary than anything else. So, it’s natural for us to wonder “Why didn’t the Pope reply immediately to various questions posed to him about the scandals, or about conjectures about the Pope’s own integrity as he leads the Church through this storm?” and “Why did the Holy Father ask the US Bishops, meeting in Baltimore a few weeks ago, to delay voting on new policies for holding US bishops accountable for their dealing with abusers?”  These are questions that many reasonable Americans would ask.

But in contemplating these questions, we should remember that (according to Catholic belief) Pope Francis is empowered by the Holy Spirit as the Vicar of Christ on earth, responsible for guiding the Church throughout the world – not just in our own country, not just for Americans who are used to instant results. Our Holy Father realizes that crimes of abuse have happened in every country in the world where priests and bishops have used their power to take criminal advantage of the vulnerable – and he has to discern how best ministers of the Church throughout the world can be faithful to their call to reflect Christ in their ministry. Along with his advisors, Pope Francis is charting the course so that policies can be developed that will be applicable in India, in Spain, in Chile, in Uganda, in the United States, Ireland, the Philippines, Germany… everywhere. In order to properly discern the best course of action, the Holy Father has to listen, to pray, to consult and reflect... and call others to do so as well. This is something that requires a great deal of effort and deliberation – and research into how the root causes of abuse can be effectively addressed, as well as how it was possible that an abuser can climb the ladder of power in the Church and end up as head of a religious order or as a cardinal archbishop. Superficial, quick answers from the Pope are not appropriate in matters such as these, nor are hastily-crafted policies or directives from the Holy See or from a single nation’s Bishops’ Conference. While “putting it off” is unacceptable, we must recognize that dealing with this multifaceted issue will take time and deliberation.

Our Holy Father is taking unprecedented steps to heal and to move toward needed reform in our Church: he has summoned the presidents of all the world’s National Bishops’ Conferences to Rome in February to help discern the direction forward. Pope Francis has also called all the bishops of the United States to come together for a retreat in January in order to prayerfully reflect on what can be done so that our Church can grow holier as a result of the pain and scandal.  The Pope has also consistently asked Catholics worldwide for our prayers so that – in dealing with these issues – “we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead.”  What is needed is trust in God.


Advent grace and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer