THE Catholic Church in America is undergoing a crisis of trust in the clergy – priests, bishops and cardinals – after the scandal involving sex abuse by homosexuals, cover ups, protection, purveyance and payoffs were confirmed by the government. Some months ago, Pope Francis told all the Bishops of Chile to resign for similar offenses. Their violation of Church laws and their vows indeed shamed many Catholics. In his opening prayer at the start of the Mass in Ireland last week, the Pope diverted from the liturgy and asked forgiveness. He has earlier declared “zero tolerance” for sex offenders.
The attacks in media are massive and many Catholics, including Filipinos are confused and have even expressed misgivings and criticisms against their pastors in particular and the Church in general. Anti-Catholics are having a field day.
An article by Tom in The Catholic Thing (August 24, 2008) “Beware of Adding Scandal to Scandal”, is a sobering thought for Catholics who are dismayed, even angry at these scandals.
“In responding to the real scandals in the Church we must strive to avoid contributing to new ones by how we speak and act (CCC 2284-87). We can become occasions of sin to non-Catholics and Catholics including those not well formed in the faith, who may – in part because of our misguided witness – stop practising their faith or seek to serve God outside the visible boundaries of the Church. Righteous anger is legitimate, as St. Paul says, but we must avoid sin in expressing that anger, lest the devil magnify the scope and impact of sin, as he is wont to do.”
Nash admits that those who “egregiously betrayed their sacred trust” must be removed from office and even charged criminally. He echoes demands for their removal or resignation and stripping them of their faculties. The Church has procedures for this as has been done through the centuries. The Church survived worst crises.
Moreover, Nash warns of “yielding to temptation…to call into question the God given authority and mission of the hierarchy and thereby set ourselves against Christ and His salvific mission in our precipitous attempts to foster reforms in the Church.” Truly the sins of these wayward pastors are not the sins of the Church which is sinless as established by Christ. God works through men with their weaknesses and imperfections even from Abraham, Moses, David and St. Peter and many saints, but the Church remains unsullied because She is the Bride of Christ.
The Church has undergone purification throughout history and She grows strong and vibrant because despite the weaknesses of their pastors, real Catholic remains in the faith. In fact, real Catholics can find heroic virtues when their faith is challenged by satanic forces, a test of their faith. Throughout Church history, many pastors have left because as the Gospel last August 26, 2018 tells us, many of Christ’s disciples found His teachings difficult and they left Him. At the beginning of Christianity and even while they were with Christ, many of His disciples already betrayed Him; true believers remained to the end.
Nash quoted Pope Benedict XVI who must have foreseen what is happening today and what its outcome would be:
“The future of the Church can and will issue from those whose roots are deep and who live from the pure fullness of their faith. It will not issue from those who accommodate themselves merely to the passing moment or from those who merely criticize others and assume that they themselves are infallible measuring rods; nor will it issue from those who take the easier road, who sidestep the passion of faith. . . . The future of the Church, once again as always, will be shaped by saints, by men, that is, whose minds probe deeper than the slogans of the day, who see more than others see, because their lives embrace a wider reality.”
Cardinal Raymond Burke commented to LifeSiteNews last week, “The corruption and filth which have entered into the life of the Church must be purified at their roots.” The roots of these demonic scandals are deep, the purification will be painful but satan will not prevail.