Merciful treatment towards those who have left because of the scandal
A follow-up to “I stopped going to Church”
Too many good Catholics who have seen or heard of close friends and maybe their own relatives that were abused have walked out on the Church that gave them Christ. As I have spoken with more than I care to count and no amount of pleading has changed their decision to come back is disheartening.
One woman who I worked with at the trade school told me she no longer was attending church. When I asked her why, she said her best friend’s son was abused by a priest and that was enough for her. The strength for her choice was one priest was guilty so she was holding that as a ransom against all priests. No words from me could change her choice.
Another woman said her husband decided that it would go against his stuborness to enter a church except for a marriage or funeral. When one hears that multiple set of decisions makes one wonder how close their decision is to coming back It makes me think there is room for hope. She, on the other hand, walked away but returned. We can see perhaps a sign of change of heart for her husband. This is one that brought tears to my eyes, and not a little dribble, when my wife related this incident to me.
A relative has another way of getting around his revolt by staying away because of the church seeking forgiveness for those who are guilty, and not holding the sins of a few against the rest. Punishing the church for the mistakes of one or more of the clergy is not how God intends to deal with sin. Yes, the scandal of those who received the anointing of ordination and circumvented this choice of holy orders by ignoring the promises given to a bishop, and consequently to Christ placed a dark mark on the church. Remember, there is no sin that cannot be forgiven except the one against the Holy Spirit.
Dealing with one who corrupts the faithfulness of the Holy Catholic Church is no good reason to change the faith of any one individual. Faith is not a guarantee that there will not be turbulence in the pews, it demands our standing as a rampart against the tide of waves that becomes the direct attack of Satan by causing suspicion of weakness and a termination of our belief in God.
As I wrote in an earlier article, the challenge to each of us must be a stern commitment to stand strong in the assault of any type from enemies of the Church. Have you noticed that when any one person or a well-established entity, like the Roman Catholic Church, becomes a target from jealous persons or other entities? If you are at the top expect those lesser than you will try to topple you or your establishment. Pray for the Catholic Church as it is God’s house.
Ralph B. Hathaway