Defending the Catholic Church (against my parents)

Hello,

I am a catholic and I am very into the catholic faith. My parents are catholic (only on paper) and think the Church and everything is nonsense. Today my father said it is stupid for me to participate in this institution. He said the Church has abused children sexually (which I know) and he also said that skeletons of children were buried in the walls of monasteries (which I didn’t know). I didn’t know how to response and I remained silent. I have googled it and found out that the Church has done many other horrible things. When doubts arise about the Church I have also thought about what Jesus said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her and that He will be with her until the ending of the world. But how do I have to response against my parents and other people who tell me this?

Thanks,

THE IMPACT OF SIN ON CHURCH AUTHORITY

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.

Of course, sin and corruption in Church leadership should never be condoned but neither should they surprise us. 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 sin would be present in the Church, but He also 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.

First, the best response is to be loving towards them. Your parents won’t take your opinion and beliefs seriously if you don’t behave as a Christian should. Always show them proper respect that is due to them as your parents. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop being Catholic, or stop going to Mass. But you should always be respectful to them and not respond with uncharitable or nasty things.

If you want to know how the learn to defend the faith, you have to learn it, and learn it well. You need to know it inside out, and you need to partake of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession, and do so often.

Something else you will have to realize, some people have objections to the Church because of intellectual objections to some teachings of the Church, others object to the Church because they were hurt by someone in the Church, others object to the Church because they don’t want to abide by specific teachings of the Church, and object to Her authority.

So, learn the faith, partake of the sacraments, be loving to your parents, and calmly ask them questions about hteir objections. If you don’t know a particular answer to their question, just table the question until you have time to research it some more. The Church has existed for 2000 years, every question possible has been asked and answered before.

God bless on your journey!

It’s true that people in the church have had problems, terrible sole ripping problems. But the fact is these are the problems of individuals, not the Church. It seems like everyday your hear a new story about some church and scandal. The Catholic Church isn’t the only place you see them. One thing that touches my heart is that we as brothers in Christ use this to attack another mans church, and drive the wedge between the denominations deeper and deeper.

The failing is in man, not the Church

You should tell your Dad the Church is made up of people, even with 12 there was Judas, the Church never put skeletons of children in the walls of monasteries, what horror books is he reading, all Religions and I was Jewish and went to Church of England School had big problems regards ungodly acts put it that way, but most was hushed up, so your Dad would have to condemn all religions, but at the end of day God is not going to ask your Dad about all the Religions and some of the members acting improperly but rather HE will ask your Dad about his behaviour or lack of, and he will have to answer to GOD for his actions or inaction.

There have been great and horrible people of every and all faiths.

You shouldn’t judge a faith by those who do not follow it, but by those who follow it the closest. Sounds like he is judging it by those who make it look like they follow it but in reality don’t.

This is not correct. “The Church” did not abuse children. Individuals in the Church abused children. And, sounds like you are buying right into by saying “which I know”.

Teachers, policemen, scout leaders, coaches, and family members also abuse children. That does not mean the institutions to which they belong abused the children.

People are sinners. People fail in their duty to protect children, yes even priests. In some cases people within the institutions in the above examples failed to help. For that, these individuals will each be accountable to God at judgment day for their knowledge, actions, and inactions.

Does your father also think schools, scouts, sports, and families are nonsense due to the actions of some in those groups? Probably not.

That’s just nonsense.

The Church is holy and does not do “horrible things”. People in the Church are sinners and can do bad things, sometimes in the name of the Church.

If they are going to make outrageous claims about children buried in the walls then they can provide the proof. And conspiracy theory websites are not proof.

You are not obligated to respond to every crazy thing someone says. Sometimes they are not open to the Truth and it doesn’t matter what you say they will not listen. Pick your battes.

When you look at the world of sports, there are many athletes who have done awful things, illegal things. Does this mean that the sport they participated in is stupid? If coaches in hockey or football or tennis abuse the ones they are coaching, does that mean hockey, football and tennis are awful?

When looking at this example, do we not look at all the benefits that sports bring to youth? Do we measure sports by the bad examples that are in it? Or do we look at what good it brings and frown on the individuals that have brought shame to a game that many sports fans love?

If a man was looking to molest boys, do you think he would find a way to gain access to boys? Do you think coaching sports would be a great cover, a position of authority and trust, to gain access to boys? Of course. Predators find ways to hide their true colors so that they can be trusted. Does that mean the sport that they use to do their crimes should suffer? If it’s basket ball, should basket ball then be banned from ever being played in schools again? Should basket ball be smeared because of the crimes of predators?

People are much more reasonable when it comes to these examples. There is no reasoning with them when they hate something, and the Church is hated.

Jesus gave us the Church to be a source of graces as we live our short time on earth. We have our Blessed Mother and the angels and saints cheering us on, helping us, praying for us. It is a great gift. Do not be discouraged by those who hate her. They hated Jesus so much they wouldn’t suffer anything less than to make sure he was dead, and even then, get guards to guard the tomb that had his body. People still are like that today.

May God bless and keep you close to Him today and always.

The Catholic church consists of fallible people…people who makes mistakes and sins, that is part of our nature now since the fall of Eve. But Jesus gave the promise that His Church will stand under the guidance of the Spirit…the Catholic Church has not fallen down to the foundations. Its still here.

Sure there is bad priests, even bad popes. It does not impact the Church as an institution. Just because there is one bad fruit, you should not judge the whole basket as rotten already.

As a Catholic, do not forget the 4th commandment: Honor thy father and mother, still show respect and be loving to them. But also do not forget 1Peter 3:15.

It sounds like you father has a lot of anger about the Church. It may just be that since he is no longer practicing he is embarrassed by the criticisms he hears and instead of understanding he simply gets angry and simply tries to flee as far as he can.

Maybe at some point you might want to find out why he is so angry and why he doesnt consider worshiping Christ in another church.

My guess is that since it doesnt sound as though he has converted to anything else, he is using these phoney criticisms to avoid his distance from Christ! If it were just a matter of being let down by the Church but he still had a relationship with Christ, he would be in another church.

To me it sounds like hes lost and lonely, hurting and lashing out. Perhaps you can help first bring him back to Christ, then to the Church. Anger often comes from pain and hurt. Maybe you can bring healing to your father through your sharing of the Holy Spirit.

God bless! We are all praying for you and your family. We are so glad you are part of our family and are there for your parents. Im assuming you are Catholic because at one time your parents cared enough about your faith to have your baptized. Well now, maybe its your turn to return to them that gift of faith they gave you through your baptism .

  1. Yes, the Church authorities have abuse children sexually. This is a grave and abhorrent sin, and a serious crime. However, you may also note that the rate of abusers among clergy is, by best estimates, much lower than that among other professionals, or even among families. Is your father suggesting that you leave your family, since some members have likely abuse other relatives?

Furthermore, if the Church is the means of grace, even if it is difficult to remain, we must do so. Remember St. Peter at the end of John 6. Many other believers found Jesus word that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood to live abhorrent, and left. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69) Even if they did not understand fully and were afraid of what Jesus might mean, they trusted, and realized that they needed to be here with Jesus, whatever happened.

  1. There are many false beliefs about monasteries. One traditional one is that there is a tunnel between male communities and female ones–because, of course, nobody can actually be celibate, you know. Another is the story that children or infants are buried in the walls–either to get rid of the unwanted results of sexual indulgence, or as some sort of dark consecration rite. None of these sort of stories are true. The reasons that monasteries are founded and persist is that people are called to dedicate themselves in an all-consuming way to seeking God. We are called to celibacy because we cannot do justice to a wife (or husband, for women) and family, we cannot serve and love them as they deserve and still be dedicated to God as we desire. Hence, all else in monastic or religious life is arranged and oriented to make our service of God and Church or the needy possible.

  2. After all else, remember that the Church is composed–by God’s own choice and plan–of sinners seeking salvation. We all fall, but we also have Jesus’ own assurance that those who sincerely seek God will not be led astray, so long as they do so devoutly. The best way to do so in in the Church. What’s more, other ways do not have the assurance of Jesus that they will work, and that the devil will not prevail against them. Yes, the sinners in the Church still fall into sin. However, that should not be a barrier keeping us from seeking God through the best means that God has given us.

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