Gates of Hell, One True Catholic Apostolic Church, and the abuse question.

I’m interested in your responses to the following that I have been thinking about a lot over the past few days:

On the basis that the catholic church is the one true catholic and apostolic church founded by Christ, and protected by the Holy Spirit, how could the abuses of the past decades have happened?

There is now no dispute by the church itself that the abuse of vulnerable children and adults, perpetrated by nuns, brothers, priests, and covered up by bishops and cardinals, took place and was badly dealt with.

I dont really want to get into the abuse per sae, rather I’m more interested in the roles of the main players and the role of the Holy Spirit within the church.

If as is claimed, the bishops are the direct successors to Peter, to whom the keys were given, how could they possibly have allowed this to happen?

Where was the Holy Spirit when these men and women were carrying out their evil deeds.

I am really really struggling with the idea of joining a church where a religious could emotionally, psychologically, physically or sexually abuse a child, and then receive Christ Himself in the Eucharist maybe one hour later? Or start their day with the Eucharist and go on to sexually abuse a vulnerable child in the afternoon.

I know in every big organisation, there will be bad apples. Thats a given. But for it to be so widespread and to reach to the highest levels within the church, I cant understand. Especially when those doing the abusing and covering up the abusing are direct successors to Peter.

Im also sure abuse is not confined to the catholic church alone.

But why the catholic church Im asking when the Holy Spirit has promised to keep it true and protect it from the gates of hell? How much closer to the gates of hell does it get when a child is abused?

I dont really want to hear anti-catholics venting their spleen on the church - Im more interested to know if you are a catholic how you have reconcilled these things. At the moment I cant. Not because the abuse happened, but more because of who is was that was abusing and how they were protected by the church.

What does it all mean for the integrity of the preisthood and religous, the power of the mass and the Eucharist, and the claim the church is Christ’s church?

I will reply as a Protestant. The Catholic Church is made up of human beings just like any other Church. As human beings they will sin. Simply because various individuals may sin does mean the institution itself is rotten.

On the other hand, I do not think that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the church is a guarantee that the visible institution cannot err. To me it means that there will always be true believers somewhere. I liken it to Elijah who complained that all of Israel was corrupt. God replied that He had kept a remnant for His Own. Israel as a nation may have been corrupt but not all of Israel was. Similarly the church as an institution may be corrupt but as long as there are true believers the gates of Hell have not prevailed. Of course this view involves the idea that the true Church is the community of all true believers, not a particular institution.

The abuse scandal has everything to do with man, and nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. Sexual abuse cases are in every denomination. Alot of it has to do with the media reporting of it.

The Church can be Holy, and have the men running it be fallible.

Something that hasn’t really been explored is many of the reported cases of sexual abuse happened 20-30 years ago. At that time, the psychiatric community thought that a person abusing children could be counselled and cured. Obviously the psychiatric community and the world as a whole have learned alot since then.

At the time that most of these abuses were occuring, church officials, at the direction of counsellors would ship the offending individual off for “treatment”. As we all know, medical confidentiality has been paramount in that field for years and years.

Was the abuse wrong? Absolutely, without a doubt.

Was the church wrong in the way they handled it? I would say yes to a major degree, for not seeking more advise from the counsellors as to why it kept happening.

Is the church actively working to repair the damage done, and to insure it won’t happen again?

Keep in mind, that no one condones this behavior, and those that are truly guilty of the crime should be punished appropriately.

One other note is, I have to wonder what percentage of the people “claiming” abuse weren’t really abused. Let’s be honest…there are some people out there that see large financial reward in suing the church. One example is, I remember a man who accused Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago of sexual abuse, but later claimed it never happened.

Here is a snipit of an article that was published in the Boston Globe on March 2, 1994:

The abuse charges dropped against Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago stand as a warning to news organizations that overplay unsubstantiated sexual abuse stories and to therapists who insist that induced memories of past abuse explain all or most of a patient’s present problems.

Last November Steven Cook filed a $10 million suit charging that Cardinal Bernardin and another priest sexually abused him when he was at a seminary in Cincinnati as a teen-ager in the 1970s. Cook, a drug counselor who has AIDS, said he waited 15 years to make his charges because he had no recollection of the sexual abuse.

Again, no one condones this type of behaviour, and measures are in place to make sure it doesn’t happen anymore.

Let’s try this one on for size:

On the basis that the Catholic Church is the One True Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ, and protected by the Holy Spirit, how could Judas Iscariot, hand-picked by Jesus Christ to be one of His Apostles – the forebears of all Catholic priests and bishops – have betrayed his Lord?

Nobody ever sinned worse than Judas Iscariot, not only because of the Person against Whom he sinned, but also because he then gave himself over to despair. (There wasn’t much difference between his sin and the sin of Peter, except that Peter repented afterward.) Yet the divine and omniscient Jesus, Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, personally chose him as an Apostle. Should this do violence to the fact that Jesus is God?

Personally, I think one of the reasons Jesus permitted the evil of one of His own Apostles betraying Him was to remove the sins of high-ranking persons within the Church as an excuse for Catholics to leave the Church, or to disbelieve that she is the True Church.

:eek: That’s an interesting point. I’d forgotten about, or rather, never really thought about, Judas.

Good question! I do not have a definitive answer. Here is a try at a response.

  1. Jesus Christ said he would build a church and the winds of hell would not prevail against it.
    2… Jesus Christ also said a house divided will not stand.

A. Priest sexual abuse is an example of a “divided house” in that this action is opposed, vehemently so, against church teaching.

Therefore, if the house cannot fall, those perpetrating the evil are - outside the house! It could be their actions, if unrepented, causedtheir separation from God and his house.

In other words, those guilty and unrepentent are not actually in communion with the church and the house God built.

Pray for their reform!

Could this scandal be a full frontal attack by evil upon the church?

Be careful which side you choose to be on. There are two choices and you have to make one. Pray about it. Remember, the evil one does not want you to enter God’s one holy catholic and apostolic church. Doubt will be placed in your way. Pride for your current state will make you hesitate.

Good luck and may God be with you!

Why are you posting this in the NonCatholic Religion forum if the topic is Catholicism and you dont want NonCatholics to respond?

To keep it simple:

The Gates of Hell verse is referring to the fact that the Church will never apostasize, or will never teach fall doctrine. The Church is made up of sinners, and thus all members, including the Pope, can and do sin. However, the Church is protected by the Holy Spirit from proclaiming false beliefs. So, for example, the Church will never say that the Eucharist is just a symbol. Or that women can become priests.

Explain to me how the gates of hell will not prevail has come to mean that Catholicism is infallible?

Remember, even Jesus had Judas in his inner circle. Jesus promised that the gates of hell would never prevail against his Church and he also promised that we would be inundated with sheep in wolves clothing (he wasn’t kidding). The two promises do not cancel each other out, they co-exist in the Church. Jesus didn’t say we would all be perfect as a condition of the gates of hell never prevailing. He promised that no matter what, the Church will always be there and 2,000 years later he has not yet broken his promise to us. The Church has not, nor will it ever fall into apostasy unless Jesus is a liar.
Now as for the perv priests who sinned against purity and abused children, I have a lot of anger for them and for those that covered up for them in any way. Their judgment stands with God, but even the gravity of their sin cannot prevail against the Church. There is a famous saint but I can’t remember who, who said that they were pretty sure there were many priests and bishops and maybe even a few popes in hell. I have to say, I agree. Yet, their individual sin cannot destroy the Church thankfully. IF the validity of the Church rests on the moral character of the people involved, it would render Christianity paralyzed. For instance, the bible. How do we know that the people who chose the cannon did not have great sinners among them? It is highly possible and likely, yet the bible is not tainted just because its books were designated by sinners.

You need to be clear. When we say that the Church, Ecumenical Councils, the Pope, etc. is infallible, we are referring to specific situations when discussing faith and morals. Christ said that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church, meaning to Catholics that Satan will not overcome the Church and cause it to teach his heresies. Thus, the Church is protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching false doctrines.

You are close but why not state the obvious? :slight_smile:

The Church will exist and Satan will not triumph over it. She will be there until the end of time. She will be steadfast and not deviate about the truth of the faith.

It does not mean that she will not be attacked, from within and without. She will undergo trial and tribulation but ultimately she prevails.

On the side note: she have bad priests and popes and bad decisons made. These are the small minority. We have not come at a time yet when she is in a crisis.

We can talk also about how she persists with the truth and does not waver; and how much oppositon today such practices and decisons encounter.

This is the the threadmark of a church that prevails against the Gate of Hell. Not so much about human failings. These there will be, we can be sure about it.

God bless.

Our Priests are under attack by the devil.

The majority of abuse cases were homosexual.

:smiley: Thanks!

Sorry I wasnt clear enough - I didnt strictly mean I didnt want noncatholics to respond - I guess I was trying to head off a load abuse aimed at the catholic church by noncatholics due to the abuse, rather than contributing constructively to the thread. What I am very interested in is how catholics reconcile these issues with their church being the one true church.

edit - Ive just realised Im also being incredibly presmptious about it just being non catholics that would use the thread to hurl a load of abuse at the church.

Im hoping for some debate and insight in a rational charitable manner - Im really struggling with this one.

Another helpful and interesting contribution.

This is a prime example of what I just cannot get my head around in God’s true church:

Former altar boy Andrew Madden becomes first person to speak publicly about abuse by a priest. Madden says the Church paid him €35,000 to keep quiet about three years of assaults by Fr Ivan Payne. Archbishop Desmond Connell denies the deal until Madden provides documentary proof of church payoff. Case spurs hundreds to pursue civil lawsuits against church authorities.

Read more:

Archbishop Connell is now a Cardinal - after lying, outright lying, about paying off a victim of his priests abuse. As a Cardinal he has also come under a huge amount of criticism by Irish survivers of child abuse by obstructing the commission at every turn, refusing access to documents and so on.–all-that-matters-is-finding-truth-1282450.html

How, how, how can that be possible? How can someone who lies about abuse, covers it up, pays a victim off, then lies about paying them off, end up as a Cardinal in the church God has promised hell will not prevail against.

Is there something profoundly corrupted in the church hierarchy?

The only thing I can say is pray, pray for yourself (so you may know the truth), pray for the victims (so they may be healed) and pray for the Church (so she may be purified). You will have the answers you seek through God (be patient). I also want you to remember Peter’s words to Jesus in John 6:67:68

“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

Simon Peter answered him, "Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.

p.s. God needs people like you in his Church.

You know something, I’m studying, reading and researching like crazy, and probably not praying enough. Just plain simple prayer. You made me stop and think. Thanks.

How did Judas become an Apostle of Christ? How could Jesus let someone that, as God, He knew would betray Him? The fact is, every single person on this earth has free will, and every person is a sinner. Sadly, that means that people choose to do horrible things every day. Jesus had Judas as one of the Twelve Apostles, and there are many Judases in the Church today. Yes, God has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church, and that is always true. God protects the Church from teaching false doctrines. The Church will not never teach erroneously. However, God allows us all to have free will to do what we want, and yes, this applies to everyone including up to the Pope. Even priests and bishops are sinners too.

Also, do not judge the entirety of the Catholic priesthood and episcopate and the Faith by this. These are HORRIBLE things, however God allows all free will, and this occurs throughout the world in ALL churches and religions and among the non-religious, because we are all human.

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