A whole lot is going on in the Church right now, and the biggest problem Catholics face in today’s world is learning how to deal with Church scandals in a way that doesn’t shipwreck our faith. Scandals have always been present in the Church. Remember, even Judas was a traitor to Christ and his mission. He was stealing from the collections, and ultimately betrayed his Master (Jesus Christ) for just 30 pieces of silver, which was worth about $600 (USD) in today’s money. Anyone familiar with Church history will tell you scandal has always been with us. It is the most preferred way the devil uses to attack the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church he established to preach it.
That being said, the scandals of our time are particularly bad, probably the worst in Church history, which only means the devil has been working overtime lately. So how do we detach ourselves from these scandals, without detaching ourselves from the Church established by Christ. The exact wrong thing to do is ignore the problem. Ignoring the problem will only further blend the Church with scandal in our minds, and ultimately make the two indistinguishable. Instead, the right thing to do is be educated and aware of what’s going on. We have to wrap our minds around it and understand it. Only then can we consciously untangle what is Church versus what is scandal — separating Peter from Judas.
The first thing we have to do is understand where the scandals come from, and it’s really very simple once you know. The scandals in the Church originate from a lack of faith in the mission of the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It begins with a simple word that has been so terribly abused in our time. That word is “mercy.”
Here’s what the word “mercy” actually means according to Webster’s Dictionary: “compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power, also lenient or compassionate treatment.” Mercy is the product of justice. You cannot have mercy without justice. If justice demands the death penalty for a crime, then mercy spares the life of the accused and places him in life-long prison instead. That’s mercy. Without justice there is no mercy. Mercy spares one from receiving the justice that is due. In order for mercy to exist, we must first acknowledge that justice must be served. Mercy doesn’t give anyone permission to do wrong things. It just spares them from the punishment they deserve when wrong things are done. In order for mercy to exist, the merciful must acknowledge that some things are wrong and shouldn’t be done in the first place.
But in today’s world the word “mercy” is mistaken for “license.” Now, according to Websters, license is: “a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful.” License is the freedom to do something, that you normally wouldn’t be able to do, without penalty. License is when an assassin is given permission by his government to hunt down somebody and kill him, without fear of being prosecuted for murder.
In today’s Church, and in the world, the words “mercy” and “license” are considered interchangeable, when in fact, those two words don’t mean the same thing at all. They mean something entirely different. Mercy is not license, but many people use this word as if it were. Church leaders call for “mercy” in dealing with Christians who commit sexual sins, but what everyone hears is “license” to go ahead and keep doing those sexual sins.
This lack of faith in the gospel of Christ, and the mission of the Church, next manifests itself in the tendency to want to change Church teaching so as to accommodate the sins that are already common in today’s society. Thus, there is a real push to give license to such things as premarital sex (fornication and cohabitation), adultery (divorce and remarriage without an annulment), and of course homosexuality (sodomy). We are often told the Church needs to “modernize” and “get with the times,” sometimes even by our own Church leadership.
In all of this is a lack of faith, and by that I mean those who say such things have no faith in what Jesus Christ himself said about these things, which is that they are sins, and people need mercy (not license) because God’s justice demands that they pay for these sins dearly. Mercy would give them clemency for the just punishment they deserve, but at the same time call upon them to not repeat these sins ever again. It would never give them permission to go on and keep sinning as they had done. Mercy is for people who are sorry for what they have done, not for people who want a permission slip (license) to keep doing it. The lack of faith we are dealing with in the Church is a lack of faith in what Jesus and his Church have always taught about sin. It manifests itself in a desire to rewrite the gospel and teachings of the Church, so as to accommodate sinful behavior. That’s where it all begins folks, and if you understand that, the rest starts to make sense too…
- clergy allowing couples to cohabitate before marriage,
- clergy affirming homosexual relationships,
- rampant homosexuality within the clergy,
- clerical pederasty of teenage boys (more common),
- clerical statutory rape of teenage girls (less common),
- clerical pedophilia of little boys and girls (very rare),
- clerical cover-up of sexual abuse within the Church (extremely common),
- and donation money used to cover up crimes, and furnish lavish homosexual lifestyles among clergy.
You see, one thing leads to another. A lack of faith in the gospel of Christ and the mission of the Church, leads Church leaders to excuse the sin of others, giving them license, while they give themselves license to sin as well.
Combined with all this is poor liturgy and poor catechesis, which serve to keep the Faithful in the dark about what the gospels actually say about sin, so as to keep the charade going for as long as possible. As long as Faithful Catholics are ignorant of what the Bible and Church actually teach about these things, the easier it is for corrupt clerics to fool them into thinking everything is “normal.” Ignorance of the truth is necessary to perpetuate the scandal, which is one major reason why Catholics have been fed a steady diet of poor catechesis and sloppy liturgy for the last fifty years! Both catechesis and liturgy are responsible for teaching Catholics the truth. Thus, in order to keep Catholics ignorant of sin among the clergy, Faithful Catholics must be kept ignorant of what the Faith actually teaches, and that means giving them horrible teaching and watered-down liturgy that is devoid of tradition and reverence.
This is the core of all scandals. This is what’s going on in the Church today. This is the battle of our time. So now what?
Once we understand the problem, the solution fairly easily presents itself. Some bishops have faith, and you can see this in their actions. Other bishops have no faith, and you can see this in their actions as well.
|A Faithful Bishop…||A Faithless Bishop…|
So now that we understand the difference between a faithful and a faithless bishop, here’s what to do about it…
If your bishop is faithful, continue to support him and his parishes, but do not support the USCCB, CCHD or Peter’s Pence. All of these have proved to be corrupted beyond measure. If you have a good bishop, support him. He’s earned it and he needs it.
If your bishop is faithless, then you need to strategically reconsider your giving habits. You should never financially support a faithless bishop. If you send him money, in any way, you’re a big part of the problem in the Catholic Church. You’re financially supporting faithless management of your diocese and your funding everything from criminal activity, to sinful behavior, to heresy. It’s no different than sending your money to a mob boss. You simply MUST STOP THIS. The fifth precept of the Church, and Canon Law, mandate that lay Catholics support the material needs of the Church, but they don’t mandate HOW you do that. You can easily send your financial support to another bishop, in another diocese or jurisdiction, and fulfill your giving obligations that way. You don’t even have to send your donations to a bishop. You could just as easily send them to a traditional fraternity, ordinariate, monastery or institution. These might have a bishop, or they might not. It doesn’t matter, because they are part of the Church and supporting them qualifies as supporting the Church.
About the only thing left to do is take control of your own destiny within the Church. If you’re under a faithless bishop, and the parish life in your diocese is suffering because of it (immorality, bad liturgy, heresy, etc.), then there really is nothing left to do but remove yourself, and your family, from the situation by going to a reverent mass. Fortunately, Catholics in the United States now have a resource to help them find good parishes, that are orthodox, and offer good liturgy. You can find them here…
These options are lawfully available to any Catholic who seeks them, and they can serve as a safe refuge for those in need while riding out the storm of scandal and uncertainty within the Church. Based on the failure of many Church leaders to repent, and the possibility of federal RICO action against various dioceses in the US Catholic Church, some Catholics might find a safe refuge very appealing during these troubled times.
Beyond that, you can do your own research (in your state or region) to determine where good bishops might be. If you find one nearby, support him. Keep this in mind, when you just support your parish alone, 10% of your donations will go to the local bishop anyway. So supporting your home parish, in the general fund, is the same as supporting the bishop of that parish. The question is, if you have a good home parish, but a bad bishop, how do you support the good parish without supporting the bad bishop? This is a tricky one, and the answer is this. Offer to pay all, or a portion of, the Church’s bills instead. For example, ask Father what the monthly electric bill for the parish is. Then make out a check for all (or some) of the amount, with the words “electric bill only” in the memo-line of your check. That’s the only way you can do it. If the electric bill is already paid by somebody else, offer to pay the gas bill, or the water bill, or maintenance bills, or the gardener bill, etc. If there is nothing specific to support, or Father won’t let you do that, then the only thing left is to find another parish or jurisdiction to strategically support.
Strategically reinvesting our donations is about the only power we, the laity, have at fighting faithless bishops who are abusing the Church. Beyond that, all we have left is prayer. So don’t neglect that either. Pray the Rosary for the deliverance of your diocese from a bad bishop.