A little over a year ago, when yet another horrible headline was released like so many other American Catholics I was shaken to the core. I was angry and hurt that men who had made their way to the hierarchy of my beloved Mother Church could have misused and abused their positions to misuse and abuse people they were supposed to be shepherding. I was so angry and even angrier because they didn’t seem to understand the damage done to the trust among those of us in the pews.
During a car ride when I read yet one more post or article, I shared with my emotions with my captive family. My children are all in their 20’s so I was comfortable with this sharing. My youngest child was about to enter his third year of minor seminary. He tried to tell me that the church had survived other scandals. I couldn’t even stand to listen at that point and was convinced this was the absolutely worst thing ever to happen in the church.
But as the weeks went by, I chose to stay as committed to my faith as always. As I heard repeatedly and came to accept for myself: you don’t leave Jesus because of Judas. So I started an Avila group in my parish to pray for vocations. We pray for grace and strength for existing vocations and for an increase in vocations. And I have kept studying and learning more about the faith. I have listened to some interesting and informative speakers.
During this prayer and study, one thing has become so obvious to me. There is scandal, because there has always been. There is crisis, because there has always been. There are heretics, because there have always been. And the Church is “dying” just like it has been since the middle ages. I don’t know why I allow myself to get so upset about it. Not that it’s in any way acceptable because it’s not. But the Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus founded. It’s the earthly home of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Since that’s true, it is obviously going to be Satan’s biggest target. Satan will work tirelessly to harm the church and he will do whatever he can to ruin as many souls as possible. It makes sense then that the hierarchy and seminaries have been a favorite target for the evil one.
So yes, my son was right and I should have listened to him. The Church is in the midst of a challenging time but she’s been here before and probably will be again. A year ago in my frustration, anger, and pain I forgot to step back and remember what Jesus promises. Our time on earth is going to be difficult and often painful but in Heaven all will be good. Until then we have this promise: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).