“The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.”
St. John Chrysostom attributed
I just wanted to say a few words about the breaking scandals in the church. From the one with Cardinal McCarrick, to the Pennsylvania situation, all I can say is my heart is broken, though I am not surprised.
“Scandal” comes from the Greek word skandalon. It’s essence is that it is a trap. Something that causes you to fall down while trying to walk with Jesus. This is why what church authority has done is SUCH A SCANDAL. It has caused the flock to fall because it has caused the flock members to leave the church. It has caused the flock and society to question even good and holy Priests who had nothing to do with abuse. It is a tragedy.
When I think about it words like “horrified” come to my mind. An anger rages inside of me. How can we remain faithful when those whose care we are entrusted to abuse us? The answer of course lies in Christ Jesus. He is who we keep our eyes on.
The other day while at work I had a stunning moment with the Lord. I can only describe it as feeling like I was taken to the Garden of Gethsemane to the precise point where Christ fell on his face and stated; “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39). The feeling I was given was that Christ was not imploring the Father to stop His physical pain, but to stop seeing OUR SIN. Like the moment Christ was shown by the Father that our Shepherds would abuse children and adults, and all of the worlds other sins, THAT WAS TOO MUCH. Specifically sexually abusive Priests and Bishops were shown to me as ripping people’s souls out. What I felt I was shown was that it was seeing all of this that prompted him to speak. That is the cup he wanted to pass. And he would endure the physical pain to give us victory over these sins. But here we are 2000 years later in a deep abyss clinging to sin and not having victory over the devil. Some Church authorities have handed themselves to the devil, and the “smoke of Satan” has entered the church. The sorrow I felt in this moment with the Lord was so immense and intense I broke down crying. I couldn’t contain the sorrow. What have we done? We continue to scourge, spit in His face, and crucify our Lord Jesus Christ. He has not abandoned us. Sinful men have abandoned Him. And just as Christ died for the man who was nailing him to the cross, Christ too died for those abusers. Let us pray with all of our might that they repent and return to the Gospel. Let us also pray for complete and total healing of all those abused who have borne the brunt of this tragedy.
For all of us, all I can say is, Keep your eyes on HIM. Do not be fooled, this is the Passion of the Church. And just like Jesus exposed the leaders of His time, He is exposing those of our time too. Justice will be HIS. We must remember though, don’t leave Jesus because of Judas. The church with all her flaws contains the bread of everlasting life. The Eucharist. It is said that Judas stopped believing when Jesus gave the bread of life discourse. It is precisely in the Eucharistic Lord that we will find the gates of hell shall not prevail.
Thankyou Susan for another thought provoking post.
The Church here in Australia is in no better situation unfortunately, but as you mentioned we must focus on Jesus, it can be easy to take our eyes him some days.
It is easy also to say this or that should never have happened, but what we say to the men we deal with in our Ministry work, what are you going to do about it?
We try and empower the men to become leaders in the Parishes not just passengers.
God Bless you and your ministry. I think we’re in for some rough days ahead, but Christ is already there so we must just keep focusing on him.
Sue, if you did not see it at Charlie Johnson, look at Father Z today. More waves of purification coming.
I will look. Thanks James
In the Bible, “cup” is often used figuratively of God’s will, or the “assigned portion,” for a person. Jesus no doubt felt great concern over the reproach that his death as one charged with blasphemy and sedition could bring on his Father, moving him to pray that this “cup” pass away from him. Jesus warned that a great apostasy would arise to mislead even the chosen ones (Matthew 24:24). The Apostle Paul reminds us at 2 Timothy 3:13-15 that “wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled. You, however, continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from whom you learned them and that from infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” The actions of bishops and priests should not cause us to lose faith in Jehovah God. We need to focus on Him and continue to worship him in spirit and truth. However, we must remove ourselves from institutions that allow this behavior to continue (Revelation 18:4,5).
Are you saying to remove ourselves from the Catholic Church?
That is a decision that we all must personally make. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 says, “In my letter I wrote you to stop keeping company with sexually immoral people …But now I am writing you to stop keeping company with anyone called a brother who is sexually immoral or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man. For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Do you not judge those inside, while God judges those outside? ‘Remove the wicked person from among yourselves.’” This is a direct commandment. So this raises a question, if the wicked person is supposed to be removed from the congregation and that doesn’t happen can you trust that this institution is following God’s commandments. That scripture in Revelation 18:4 tells us to get out “…if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.” We can be viewed as condoning this abuse if we ignore it. Again, removing yourself from the Catholic Church is a personal decision. But the condoning of this behavior for decades is something I cannot be a part of.
Well you either believe the gates of hell shall not prevail or you don’t. If you leave the church you are abandoning the Eucharist and that’s exactly what the devil wants. We cannot condone the evil behavior but we cannot abandon the Eucharist. There are still many good Priests.
You’re right. There are still good priests out there. However, this problem of abusive priests is much larger than a few bad apples. The abuse has been going on and allowed to continue for decades all over the world and the amount of Christ’s sheep that have been abused numbers into the tens of thousands. The problem is prevalent and continues because the issues are systemic. The very leaders of this organization, Pope after Pope has condoned this or are too afraid to really address it for fear they will lose their position. When Jesus Christ was on earth he established truth and taught his followers how to recognize it. With the leaders of the Catholic Church I see more similarities with the Pharisees and Sadducees than I do with Christ’s disciples. We serve a loving, gracious and understanding God. We are directed to abhor what is wicked and cling to what is good (Romans 11:9). Do you think I’ll be sent to hell for refusing to support abuses that no doubt God himself hates more than I do? Also, Matthew 9:13 reminds us that mercy is more valuable in God’s eyes than any sacrifice, or the observance of any ritual. Proverbs 15:8 says, the sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to Jehovah. Therefore, any observance including the Eucharist if performed by those that practice sin is of no value in God’s eyes. There are several other institutions that observe the Lord’s Evening Meal. The Catholic Church does not have a hold on this observance. Until this issue is cleaned up within the ranks I cannot believe that the Catholic Church has God’s Holy Spirit or approval.
Actually the last part of what you said isn’t true. The sin of the Priest does not affect the efficacy of the Eucharist as Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, as long as the proper word and form are used. And it’s the faithful who benefit from the very DNA of God. The observance of the “Lords evening meal” isn’t the Eucharist. Only the Catholics and Orthodox have Apostolic succession, anything else is just a symbol and not the very essence of God.
But I agree we should in no way condone the behavior and it should all be made transparent.