I am a devout Catholic 19-year-old, and I know the church has been, is now, and will be full of sinners, and that you must remain focused on Christ and the teachings of the Church, not sinful acts by followers.
One thinking about, I’m a fan of the Catholic Charasmatic Movement, and I know some very holy Catholic Charasmatics, but reading the above article it mentioned how those paedophile priests spoke in toungues, then did the laying over hands, and one victim attest that when he’d wake up after fainting, the candle lit room seemed like an orgy.
Another thing that got me thinking was when I was talking with a guy I know, and he said very confidently St. Patrick wasn’t one person, but his character was based on three people, one of whom was a lying missionary who said that God ridded Ireland of it’s snakes, when there were no snakes in Ireland to begin with.
If the Holy Spirit protects the church from teaching error, and if the St Patrick thing was true, then you see my point.
With the paedophile priest article, the school where that happened was described as a paedophile paradise. It’s so sad to think what went on for decades while Jesus’ Eucharastic presence was there in the chapel within the school grounds.
No real crisis of faith with me, but it’s just annoying to run into all this stuff from secularists, whether in the media or from some wise man with many stories to tell at the pub.
However, remain focused on what the Church teaches, as you said. The Church itself is guaranteed to be free from error…that doesn’t necessarily mean that those who do the teaching are free from error. Sadly, we need to look for ourselves at what the Church actually teaches, and the best place is the Catechism.
The paperback is only around 10 dollars, and you can find it online here. The church has gone through many trials…however, if you check on it - comparisons - you might find that the worst years of the Church produced the best Saints, and the most insightful teachings.
God always does His thing, and keeps His Word, protecting the Truth from fallacy.
it is sad indeed. but Jesus said: Let those without sin cast the first stone.
as far as i am concern we are still sinners to this day. we are no better than those than… keep this in mind. anyone condemning Catholics are considering themselves better than us and worse yet considering themselves without sin. this is a danger assumption, it leads to pride and our Lord resists the proud.
"I should not believe the Gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church."
Saint Augustine (354-430), Against the Letter of Mani, 5,6, 397 A.D…
If a Church leader is guilty of gross immorality, does his sin invalidate his position or authority?
Many, if not most, Protestants would say that it does, and they often use this line of reasoning to justify their denial of the authority of the Catholic Church. They cite historical events such as the Crusades, the Inquisition or reign of the Borgia Popes as evidence that the Church has lost its claim to moral and spiritual authority.
Such a response, however, is unbiblical. For example, Scripture states that Jesus knew “from the beginning” who would betray him – namely Judas, whom Jesus calls a “devil” (cf. John 6:64–71). This fact is significant, since Judas was selected as an apostle even though Jesus knew that he was corrupt.
Another example would be found in Jesus’ teaching on “Moses’ seat” found in the opening verses of Matthew 23: “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: ‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.’” (Matthew 23:1-3)
“Moses’ seat” is a phrase that referred to a position of legitimate teaching authority held by the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. Later, Jesus condemned these men as “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “blind fools,” “serpents,” and a “brood of vipers.” But in the passage above, Jesus specifically instructed the crowds and his disciples to obey these leaders – despite their corruption – because of the authority of their position. That is sobering stuff.
If it were true that immorality invalidated a religious leader’s authority, then why did Jesus command his followers to “obey and do everything” the scribes and Pharisees tell them? Jesus merely admonished his followers not to follow their hypocritical example. There is not even the slightest hint that their positions had been forfeited or abrogated because of their hypocrisy or immorality. If anything, the reverse is true because Jesus validated these leaders’ office by telling people to obey them. From this, we see that sin and corruption found in the individual office holders has no impact whatsoever on the authority of the office itself.
In the Parable of the Weeds found in Matthew 13, Jesus tells His disciples to anticipate corruption within the Church. He said:
Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. "The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ (Matthew 13:24-30)
Notice it is not the world at large that is being described but rather the “kingdom of heaven” or Church that is portrayed as the field containing both wheat and weeds. Jesus does not indicate that weeds (sinners) should be uprooted from the field (Church) until the separation done at the time of the final harvest.
The Church is not a paradise for saints who are already perfected but a hospital for the spiritually sick who are being healed.
Jesus clearly taught that sins of individual Church leaders do not invalidate the authority of the positions those leaders hold. These sins, whether real or imagined, do not undermine the legitimate authority of the Catholic Church and do not provide an excuse for those who refuse to acknowledge and obey her. The authority given by God to the Church and the office of the Papacy is the same today as it was in the days of Peter, Linus, Anacletus and Clement because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Two things in regard to this-- 1) having received gifts from God (including charismatic gifts such as tongues through the person of the Holy Spirit) does not indicate holiness. Everyone human who has ever lived has received at least one important gift from God–life itself. This does not mean that we will heed His commandments, that we are never tempted, or always manage to resist our sinful desires. And even very holy people fall terribly sometimes. So the fact that someone might receive these gifts, says nothing about what temptations he may face or fall to in the course of his life. 2) People who attend charismatic prayer services, which are somewhat unpredictable and unusual, for the first time are often confused and even frightened by what they see, especially if they are not aware of what sorts of things to expect.
Aside from stories of somewhat legendary character, we have limited historical knowledge about details of St. Patrick’s life. However, there is no such hard historical evidence against traditional accounts that I am aware of either.
Traditional stories regarding St. Patrick and his ministry have little to do with the core teachings & doctrines of the Church, so this would not be the sort of “error” the Church is referring to in claiming the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
It is indeed horrendous that such things have happened, even at the hands of priests. In some ways the Bishops are between a rock and a hard place. Of course,once discovered, action should be taken to prevent the recurrence of such abuse. But there is no totally reliable screening method to prevent someone form hiding these sorts of desires through the formation and ordination process. Pedophiles are typically quite skilled at hiding their desires and crimes. And if something is brought to light through the confessional, the seal of the confession cannot be broken.
One must also keep some other basic facts in perspective. The percentage of pedophiles among the priesthood do not statistically exceed the same percentage among Protestant clergy. (In fact, in the U.S., they are lower.) Nor does it exceed the apparent percentage of pedophiles living among the general population or among elementary school teachers, etc. However, the fact that this scandal has occured in what is likely the most well organized and hierarchical Church in the world, it makes for good ammo for a massive multimedia attack. Those who prefer not to accept Catholic teachings can then easily use all this scandal as an excuse to avoid any guilt over their own lack of faith.
Priests, just like the rest of us, are human beings who struggle with sin and temptation. The sinful actions of an individual priest does not diminish the truthfulness of Church teachings any more than my own personal sin does. However, it does make a bad impression, and obviously should be avoided as much as possible.
It would help it the person invoking St. Patrick was totally aware of the culturual background and that all the major Irish saints have a host of legends surrounding them. We do not take them all literally. For example St. Kevin was well known for his love of animals (this is actually quite a common trait among Irish saints but Kevin is particularly noted for it) there is a story that while he was saying mass he held out his hand and a bird laid an egg in it. Rather than remove the egg Kevin kept his arm stretched till the egg hatched and the bird had grown. It’s not to be taken literally, it’s a rhetorical device and the bit about St. Patrick and the snakes is in the same style. But his biography can indeed be read and he comes across as a rather humble man who has a tendency to be a bit too harsh on himself.
Here’s a rather good prayer attributed to St. Patrick but again probably not written by him I am afraid early Irish christianity is like that, people blend in and out of each other and things are very fluid:-
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s hand to guard me.
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.
Christ shield me today
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in me.
I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of Creation.
It’s an useful prayer I feel to say at the beginning of a day. And ignore lads down the pub, your own wisdom tells you that you are hardly likely to hear the most accurate bits of spiritual wisdom there. And just cause I couldn’t resist a wee bit of nationalist pride - the same prayer in Irish:-
i nDúilemon dáil.
niurt gene Chríst cona baithius
niurt a chrochtho cona adnacul
niurt a esséirgi cona ḟresgabáil
niurt a thoíniuda fri brithemnas mbrátho.
niurt gráid Hiruphin;
i n-aurlattaid aingel
i frestul archaingel
i frescisin esséirgi ar chenn fochraicce
i n-ernaigdib úasalathrach
i tairchetlaib fáthe
i praiceptaib apstal
i n-iressaib foísmedach
i n-enccai noebingen
i ngnímaib fer fírían.
niurt Dé dom lúamairecht;
cumachtae nDé dom chumgabáil
cíall Dé dom imthús
rosc nDé dom remcisin
clúas Dé dom étsecht
bríathar Dé dom aurlabrai
lám Dé dom imdegail
intech Dé dom remthechtas
scíath Dé dom immdítin
sochraite Dé dom anacul
ar intledaib demnae
ar aslaigib dúalchae
ar airrechtaib aicnid
ar cach nduine mídúthrastar dam
i céin ocus i n-ocus
i n-úathad ocus i sochaidi.
Tocuirir etrum indiu inna huli nertso
fri cach nert n-amnas fristaí dom churp ocus dom anmain
fri tairchetla saebḟáthe
fri dubrechtu gentliuchtae
fri saebrechtu eretecdae
fri imchellacht n-idlachtae
fri brichtu ban ocus gobann ocus druad
fri cach fiss arachuili corp ocus anmain duini.
Críst dom imdegail indiu
condomthair ilar fochraicce.
Críst limm, Críst reum, Críst im degaid
Críst indium, Críst íssum, Críst úassum
Críst dessum, Críst túathum
Críst i llius, Críst i ssius, Críst i n-érus
Críst i cridiu cach duini rodomscrútadar
Críst i ngiun cach oín rodomlabrathar
Críst i cach rusc nomdercadar
Críst i cach clúais rodomchloathar.
A few different issues here.
One – snake story – The only people who would be able to verify that there were no snakes in Ireland while St. Patrick was alive would be those who went to Ireland or talked with people who had been there, and those people would also learn immediately that there never had been snakes in Ireland. Whoever first said he got rid of the snakes it wasn’t St. Patrick himself. It would have to be someone who lived after everyone alive in St. Patrick’s lifetime had died, at the earliest. St. Patrick can’t be held responsible for replying to rumors launched after his death, can he?
Two – orgy at charismatic meeting – Not at the ones I’ve been to, which are very orderly, very reverent and very Christian. We just pray, sing and chat, with the lights on and doors open and everything. It’s as aboveboard as it can be. Everyone’s welcome.
Three – priests and sexual abuse – With the exception of intrinsically illegal occupations and the sex industry itself, the occupational group most likely to abuse children sexually is public school teachers, followed by psychotherapists. These are among the least religious and especially least Christian occupations, statistically speaking. Priests are far less likely to abuse children than men in general are. Still, the Church has always addressed abuse according to the scientific knowledge of the times. Today the results of the 90’s outpatient treatment style are in and it doesn’t seem to work, so the Church is abandoning outpatient treatment and using other methods of ending abuse. Sexual abuse was never particularly common in the Church compared to the world at large, and was never, ever condoned or encouraged in any way. The reason there has been even the relatively small amount of abuse there has been is that a shortage of priests in the 20th Century made it easier to get into and through seminaries. That also is being dealt with today, very seriously.