I know it’s not news anymore, but there is another scandal in our Church. I’m not writing this post to defend the Church. I’d like to share a little, then what I have read that has helped me begin to understand what’s happened.
In 2002, when the scandals broke here in the US, I was an arrogant, self-absorbed 18 year old (as most 18 year olds are), so I didn’t get it. I didn’t even stop my inner dialogue of angst long enough to grasp the problem. I didn’t care about God, didn’t care about the Church enough for this scandal to matter to me.
Eight years later, I am a woman now, and deeply love this Church which is my home. So naturally, this is heartbreaking. Only heartbreaking for me by association, because I willingly am part of this Church. I have not been abused or had family abused by a priest (or anyone else). How much more so for those whose lives have been shattered by learning that their son or daughter was abused by someone they trusted. How much more so for a mother or father who learns in old age just what their son really was, despite wearing the collar. How much more so for the God who walked among us and started this Church. How much more so for the immaculate heart of his mother, pierced with a sword again and again. My heartbreak is small in comparison.
Yet I have struggled to put words to it, to explain how I feel about this travesty and tragedy. Others have said, much more eloquently than I, why they stand by the Church. All I have to add is this:
I am Catholic because I believe with every fiber of my being that Jesus knew what he was doing when he looked at Peter and said, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
I believe that Jesus knew that just a few minutes later he’d be saying, “Satan get behind me” because Peter wouldn’t get it. Peter would fail to grasp the truth of how salvation must be accomplished. Yet Jesus built the Church on him. He built the Church on a man who he knew would desert him in his hour of despair, and would even deny knowing Him.
Jesus trusted his earthly Church to a very weak human with as much free will as anyone else. Peter did not get it until he “got” the holy Spirit. Then the first servant of the servants of God understood what it was all for, and he laid down his life for the Church. The holy Spirit entered the Church that day, and has not departed from it.
I remain a Catholic for this: “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
Jesus Christ is present, body, blood, soul and divinity on the altar during Mass. That is not to be found anywhere else.
Articles on the scandal that are helpful:
Safe Miracles – Jen@Conversion Diary
Why I Remain A Catholic – Elizabeth@TheAnchoress
Thank You Sir, May I Have Another? – Mark Shea@Inside Catholic