Saturday, November 10, 2018

She Wrote that She is Worried about the Church…

by Steve Ray on November 10, 2018

In response to a concerned convert to the Catholic Faith.  What to think about all the scandals and the confusion and the divisions in the Church under the current Vatican? Here is my short response…

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You’re not the only one distressed by what’s going on in the Church today all the way up to the pope. There is confusion and division swirling everywhere, much of it instigated up to the highest levels and that is not a good thing. Plus we have Cardinals, bishops and priests who are acting scandalously — although in the big picture, I must say — there are only a very few in relation to the great ones that predominate in the Church.

This is a time where knowing church history is a big benefit. When you study the history of the Church you find out that there have been times much worse than now, many more scandals and awful popes. Discovering the lives of some of the popes of the past is enough to curl your hair.

But at this time, as a convert, I love being Catholic and I know this is the Church and I know that it has always been filled with sinners and often with some leaders who care more about their own well-being, agendas, and desires (even lusts) than they care about the sheep. That’s why God is always warning the shepherds because he knows their propensity towards self-interest.

But this is a great time to be a Catholic because we have a battle to fight and as far as I’m concerned, I feel I was born for a time like this. Yes, it often makes evangelism difficult but at the same time, it gives us a chance to talk with people about the Church that we may not have had before. People may want to bring up the issues and I always say, “Great, let’s talk!”.

The first one to sit on the Chair of Peter denied our Lord and of the other 11 “bishops” one of them betrayed Jesus and the rest of them fled. Later St. Paul confronted the first Pope Peter for being a hypocrite (Gal 2:11). We were never promised perfect leaders (nor perfect fellow sheep). From beginning to end Scripture warns us that many of our leaders will be problems and some even “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” So we should not be surprised.

Should we leave? Where else can we go?  Peter said to Jesus, “You’re the one who has the words of eternal life.”  Jesus is the one building his Church (not “churches”) and we know the end of the story already because the Bible tells us. In the end, we win and the Church will be triumphant. Those who have remained faithful will be rewarded, and those who have caused little ones to stumble will be punished severely.

If one thinks a pope or prelate is above criticism, read that section in my new book The Papacy: What the Pope Does and Why It Matters (released this month by Ignatius Press).

So, don’t be too discouraged but just pray and keep living out your Catholic life in a faithful way. Remember it’s not our job to fix it — though we pray and work toward that end. This is Jesus’ Church  — it’s built on him and he is building it. The pope is simply the successor of Peter. They come and go, good ones and bad ones, but the Church continues to march forward. Onward Christian soldiers!

God bless you!

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