Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why Not Drop Out

I had been reading selections from various Christian blogs for a while, mostly linked from the New Advent home page. New Advent seems to have some process for going through various blogs and and giving choices from about 30-40 posts, some of which are new and some that have been there a few days. I didn't usually read more than 2 or 3 in a day, but I often read the comments for the blogs. (Although now I am getting more into writing my book again, so I will probably not do it as much anymore.)

Many commenters ask how people can still be Catholic, with all the problems we have had. Many times this refers to the sexual predator crisis, but also has hit upon prejudice against women and other problems. In the last month, more scandal has broken. Reuters reports that a highly-placed Vatican official was transferred out of the Vatican to become an ambassador in Washington because he was allegedly trying to clean up corruption. Supposedly contracts were given out of cronyism instead of the best bid. It is also rumored that a right-hand-man of the Pope is trying to manipulate the number of Italian Cardinals so that another Italian will be voted in as the Pope in the next election. Does this sound like the leaders really care about the flock?

It's not really surprising that people ask why we put up with it. Actually, many don't, and leave the Church. Look at Europe--a great many have left. In Latin America, many are going to Protestant denominations. The problem is, there are human failures that come through in other denominations also. We believe the Roman Catholic Church was the first Church, starting with the Apostle Peter in Rome. And compared to some of the past popes, we're actually probably not doing so badly at the moment (I'm not referring to the popes right at the beginning but for example right before the Reformation when they were trying to sell passes to heaven).

Remember, much love and care comes in the name of Catholicism. We have had hospitals, missions, schools, all meant to help people and improve their lives. These are usually unsung, everyday commitments to follow Christ as well as we can.

Still, to try to hide the bad is to make things worse, as is easily demonstrated by the predator priest fiasco. Many who belong to the Church believe that evil does exist. And evil is very bad indeed. It does not affect only those Church members who have been accused in the news or people who have landed in jail. It can get its hands on any of us. It delights in embarrassing the faithful. It makes every effort to do harm in the worst possible of ways. People can point and shake their heads at how awful things are with the Church. But if they don't recognize sin within themselves, they are the ones who are the worse for it. Because then they don't seek help. If they would think about it a little more deeply, they would realize that the evil they see means that evil exists. We are back with one of the reasons to be in the Church in the first place.

Those in the Church to seek help can find it. Christ died for our sins, and we can go to Him, and only Him, to find redemption.

It is true that while in this life we need to keep trying with all our effort, including prayer, to stay on the right path. Unfortunately, we have trouble with that. We are human, and evil doesn't quit. It keeps trying to get us to the wrong road. It is too often successful. But there is no where like the Church to remind us, when we enter it and kneel within, that something very important is at stake. Then we pray for strength to go on.

Not everyone is in the Church for the right reason. They may have been born into it and decided they want to stay for power, social reasons, pressure from family or whatever. But those who sense God's presence know how overwhelmingly greater He is than any trouble that comes. They know Christ's gift to us of everlasting life, if we only believe in Him (John, 3:16), overcomes any evil we face now.

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