Have the sins of some drawn you away from the Sacraments?
To whom will this question have meaning when the blame of neglect escapes our own adherence? The recent scandal in the Catholic Church has no doubt affected more than a few parishioners. Asking some how they feel regarding the clergy abuse, their response runs from “I left the church” to “no more of my money to them”. Can we always blame the majority for the failure of a few? Of course the response of many reading this will say “it was more than a few”. But it really isn’t all who are guilty, just a small number compared to the many priests that still remain committed to their ordination promises. This is the Church of Jesus Christ, the many who follow Him with honor, personal sacrifice, and a promise of obedience.
Take a moment to reflect on what occurs if one removes themselves from the church. Where will you find the real presence of Jesus Christ if not in the most Holy Body and Blood through Holy Communion? Not without a priest. When the possibility through human weakness you commit serious sin, will you look to the sky and ask God to forgive you, without receiving absolution which Jesus Himself instituted? Need a priest for this Sacrament as well. These are just two of the solid reasons the Catholic Church is what it is. We are Sacramental in essence and without these we are nothing.
Rhetorically speaking; have we reached a point where church attendance has become a personal choice? Do we really need to tell a priest about our failings when he might be as guilty as us? Does Jesus actually exist in that small wafer we pretend to consume spiritually, or are we playing a make-believe scenario to just please our parents?
Of all the bad news that is visible to us via news papers, TV, and constant attacks of politicians against each other without any positive solutions to world problems, the more grievous is the attack on the Pope, the Catholic Church, its clergy, and those who really adhere to the Magisterium, our Catechism, and the Truth we teach. This is where our old-fashioned Baltimore Catechism dictates and grandmas warnings should remind us where it began. It shouldn’t end with new-age philosophy.
Every week another person with one or more reasons for walking away from the church appears and it hurts when he/she has been a staunch church-goer for many years with dedication to their faith. If any one of these persons was directly affected by the scandal we could say their action was understandable. But, it isn’t the church they are getting back at; its their very soul since the Mystical Body of Christ is the church and it is He whom they are taking their animosity out on.
One woman said she isn’t angry with God, just priests. Jesus left us with an obligation under the auspicious of Apostolic Succession. Priests are the hands of the Bishop and this is how the work of God continues. Yes, the anger they attempt to reflect does directly go against God. A subtle decision to hurt the church begins with a slap in the face of Almighty God. It continues with a slow walk away from their faith and may continue into a dark veil that can be removed if they return and Trust in Christ who died for the worst of humanity.
Does this sound like a promotion to keep the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church alive and wholesome? Absolutely! Over two-thousand years years or Sacred Tradition teaches this.
We must pray for those who have been hurt by the abuse from some, and pray also for the many who are leaving the church; hurting and unsure of their faith. They too need the Holy Spirit’s touch and a return to the faith of Our Fathers.
Ralph B. Hathaway, May 2019