I need help to keep believing


#1

The news today in BBC about this letter that appeared from 1997 made me feel sick. I am a convert and I think that becoming Catholic is the best thing i have ever done. I am so happy since i chose to do it.
This morning i felt a big pain in my chest and a moment of regret. I don't want this to happen. I love our church.


#2

Ask yourself this: What is your honest reason for believing in the teaching authority of the Catholic Church? Is it based upon the character of the human hierachy or on the power of God and the protection of the Holy Spirit?

There's a joke my husband likes to say in defense of his faith in the authority of the Catholic Church. In the middle ages, a fairly good priest is talking to his non-Christian friend and trying to convert him. He isn't having much success and then his friend says that he's going to go to Rome, see how things are there and make his final decision. The priest gets all nervious because he knows how corrupt things are at that time in Rome and has absolutely no hope that his friend will convert. However, when his friend returns, he's a newly baptized Catholic. The priest is like "What caused you to convert? Didn't you see all the corruption there?" And his friend says that no human institution could possibly have survived that long with that much corruption if it weren't by Divine intervension.


#3

Never look too much into secular news stories. The BBC especially, I've noticed, are very anti-Catholic. You're talking about things that happened many, many years ago and things that the Church has worked incredibly hard to stop. People forget that the way society deals with issues such as this has developed dramatically in recent years and at the time the Church followed what was then standard advice.
Also, the letter you talk about was ONE person. It was not the advice of the Church in general or of the Pope and does not in any way reflect any Church policy.

This is a link to Vatican documents regarding the overall situation. vatican.va/resources/index_en.htm

Keep praying. Don't let the attacks of the secular and anti-Catholic world get to you.


#4

John Allen has a good take on this letter at ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/vatican-letter-abuse-smoking-gun

He gives context that the mainstream press doesn’t know or doesn’t care about. Some excerpts:

Third, the Congregation for the Clergy at the time was under the direction of Colombian Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, whose reservations about bishops reporting their priests to civil authorities have been already well documented. In another celebrated case which generated headlines last year, Castrillón wrote to a French bishop in September 2001 congratulating him for refusing to denounce a priest.

When that 2001 letter came to light, Vatican spokespersons conceded that it revealed a debate among senior Vatican officials about how aggressive the church ought to be in streamlining procedures for sex abuse cases – a debate, spokespersons said, which Castrillón Hoyos eventually lost to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, today Pope Benedict XVI.

In that light, the 1997 letter seems less a statement of Vatican policy than an expression of what would eventually be the losing side in an internal Vatican power struggle.


#5

Why is everyone trying so hard to defend the Church here? This is inexcusable! The souls of young children were destroyed here and it seems as if it was a policy to not report it to the authorities to try to keep it out of the press! It makes me want to puke. You say this was many years ago? It was 1997! You think our knowledge of the the psychological and spiritual effects of child molestation has evolved that much in 13 years? Please! You're grasping at straws. These people should be strung up in the town square and they will have to answer to Jesus for this. They should be trembling with terror.


#6

I heard a comment on Catholic Channel this morning about this topic. The speaker was discussing (and I will severely paraphrase) that because of the way the laws are written (both religious and secular) the charges for the accused party could be dropped or the guilty party could be aquitted easily.
I think the letter, from what I've read and heard thus far, is more of a "warning" to make sure that all the facts are correct and the proper religious authorities/counsel have been notified before just sending the accusation to the secular realm/the police so the case can be handled fairly and the truth be exposed.
I DO NOT believe this is a notice to cover up any wrong doing, just to make sure the proper channels are followed.
Also keep in mind, as previously stated, this letter is not from the Pope or Vatican Council.
Am I off base?


#7

As much as try to think about it i still think that this letter is really inexcusable. I know it's not the Pope's council however who wrote it and sign it did something outrageous and he did it as a representative of Vatican. The bad thing is that i really doubt he did it alone. I really wish i could believe this.

And unfortunately everybody has to suffer because of this. Even the good priests and even you and me as believers. It leaves a horrible stain on the Church and it destroys the trust in the Church.

And the victims i don't want to know what they believe now and if they believe something.

Of course i still believe becoming a Catholic was a good thing as I really believe in our Lord and I see the good dedicated priests in our town.


#8

[quote="Thoughtfulone, post:5, topic:226351"]
Why is everyone trying so hard to defend the Church here? This is inexcusable! The souls of young children were destroyed here and it seems as if it was a policy to not report it to the authorities to try to keep it out of the press! It makes me want to puke. You say this was many years ago? It was 1997! You think our knowledge of the the psychological and spiritual effects of child molestation has evolved that much in 13 years? Please! You're grasping at straws. These people should be strung up in the town square and they will have to answer to Jesus for this. They should be trembling with terror.

[/quote]

No-one is defending the actions of priests who have abused children. We are pointing out how secular media is misconstruing the facts and using them as an attack against the Church and defending the true church of Christ from vicious attack. It is our duty as Catholics to defend our church from people with malicious intent, who want to discredit and destroy it.

As several posters have pointed out it this letter does NOT reflect the policy of the Vatican, as you seem to think it does. It's not from the Pope or any council, it was one misguided individual. Read the link SuscipeMeDomine posted, it explains it very well.


#9

What you should do is NOT to focus upon man because man will sin. We are to put our faith, hope and trust in God only. Your relationship should be with God and not with your church denomination. Your church can't save you, only He can.

Please, never lose hope in Him. Ask Him to strengthen your faith and lead you always.

Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the LORD says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

Isaiah 2:22 Stop trusting in mere man, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?


#10

[quote="PerfectTiming, post:8, topic:226351"]
No-one is defending the actions of priests who have abused children. We are pointing out how secular media is misconstruing the facts and using them as an attack against the Church and defending the true church of Christ from vicious attack. It is our duty as Catholics to defend our church from people with malicious intent, who want to discredit and destroy it.

As several posters have pointed out it this letter does NOT reflect the policy of the Vatican, as you seem to think it does. It's not from the Pope or any council, it was one misguided individual. Read the link SuscipeMeDomine posted, it explains it very well.

[/quote]

Do you honestly think, with everything that has come to light in the past few years, that this is really only the perspective of ONE misguided individual? This is what I find irritating. No-one is "out to get" the Church. The Church has provided quite enough ammunition on her own. Even a completely objective report or simply a photocopy of this letter is enough to show the horrifying level to which the effort to cover up these abuses has risen.

The sad thing is, if Catholics around the world would actually stand up and say "this is unacceptable and we DEMAND an explanation and change from within", it would go a long way toward restoring trust with the public and even with the victims themselves. When the knee-jerk Catholic reaction is to defend this behavior or say that it is from some isolated individual, it only serves to further erode trust in the Church and makes us all look like a bunch of mindless lemmings who couldn't care less about the actual victims.


#11

[quote="Thoughtfulone, post:10, topic:226351"]
Do you honestly think, with everything that has come to light in the past few years, that this is really only the perspective of ONE misguided individual? This is what I find irritating. No-one is "out to get" the Church. The Church has provided quite enough ammunition on her own. Even a completely objective report or simply a photocopy of this letter is enough to show the horrifying level to which the effort to cover up these abuses has risen.

The sad thing is, if Catholics around the world would actually stand up and say "this is unacceptable and we DEMAND an explanation and change from within", it would go a long way toward restoring trust with the public and even with the victims themselves. When the knee-jerk Catholic reaction is to defend this behavior or say that it is from some isolated individual, it only serves to further erode trust in the Church and makes us all look like a bunch of mindless lemmings who couldn't care less about the actual victims.

[/quote]

The letter the OP talked about was about one person. It was not a policy document and this is what I am trying to point out. In the case of this letter, it only reflects the views of the author and should not be generalised. I would not be so naive as to think there are no others who thought like that but in the context of this topic, my argument is entirely valid.

You really think there aren't anti-Catholics out there who would happily see the Church fall apart? You really think there aren't people stirring as much as they can trying to discredit Catholics?

Any yes, there is more the Church could do, there is more we could do to stop this happening. But to ignore, as you seem to, the efforts the Church has already undergone to try and prevent there being more victims is incredibly naive.


#12

[quote="just_me45212, post:9, topic:226351"]
What you should do is NOT to focus upon man because man will sin. We are to put our faith, hope and trust in God only. Your relationship should be with God and not with your church denomination. Your church can't save you, only He can.

Please, never lose hope in Him. Ask Him to strengthen your faith and lead you always.

Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the LORD says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

Isaiah 2:22 Stop trusting in mere man, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?

[/quote]

Before posting here again (if you do) you should I think acquaint yourself with rules regarding prosyletising. Catholics do not belong to a 'denomination' in any case :)


#13

I am a faithful Catholic. I believe the Holy Spirit protects the teaching authority of the Church. I do not believe the Holy Spirit prevents corrupt individuals or criminals from entering the hierarchy from sinning. I do believe though that the Holy Spirit does ensure that the official teachings of the Church can be learned by the faithful. Without this belief in the authority of the Church, we are left with personal speculation and our own sinful passions misguiding us and dividing us about exactly just what path Christ is leading us on.

To me the scandal of God permitting corrupt individuals to be in the hierarchy, is pretty much the same as God permitting Christian children to be molested. I mean, people, He is all powerful. Are we to argue that God has limitations so that we can only be angry at the Church, but not at God? God is all perfect, all knowing, all loving, perfectly just, perfectly merciful. He is not an organization of hundreds of people dealing with concerns over reputation, false accusations, worried about gossip, lacking the faith to be open about the truth for fear of unknown repercussions. I mean do we really believe humanity and ourselves to be so good that we'd never make a choice to allow some unknown person we've never seen be hurt?

In my experience, such events involve a lot of adults who could have done something. When they face their own culpability, they usually can't deal with it and focus on where their hands were tied, where their human limitations were. They pass the blame to someone in higher authority till eventually the authority stops at the highest authority our minds and hearts can wrap its anger without an internal resistance. For believers, this means stopping short of God and rationalizing that if God could have stopped it, He would have. Then the blame either lies completely on demonizing the Church, or the individuals may go to the opposite extreme in making the Church appear totally innocent so that its completely over the top. However, like everyone else involved, there is a mixture of good and evil inclinations involved. No one is completely demonic and no one has been completely saintly.

So the question in my mind is always "Why did God allow something so horrible to happen?" The answer is that He loves everyone and offers mercy to all. The Church scandal is not the unforgivable sin.


#14

The Vatican has denied that Irish bishops were told not to report abuse accusations to law-enforcement officials. A previously secret 1997 letter that was cited in an Irish television ...

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#15

[quote="twoangels, post:13, topic:226351"]
To me the scandal of God permitting corrupt individuals to be in the hierachy, is pretty much the same as God permitting Christian children to be molested. I mean, people, He is all powerful. Are we to argue that God has limitations so that we can only be angry at the Church, but not at God? God is all perfect, all knowing, all loving, perfectly just, perfectly merciful.

So the question in my mind is always "Why did God allow something so horrible to happen?" The answer is that He loves everyone and offers mercy to all.

[/quote]

We are reminded in Scripture that judging is not in our purview. It could be because we are not created equally, and are not given the same set of circumstances in which to live, and we can be judged only by the one who truly knows us, our limitations and struggles, and who may in the end show differing degrees of mercy in accordance to true justice.

It is possible that an individual guilty of *on*e instance of abuse may be a deeply disturbed and tortured soul, who heroically prevents himself from committing even more terrible crimes through his lifetime. And another individual may have a perfectly pleasant life free of psychologic difficulty and crime, but selfishly choosing not to give more than a pittance in the collection basket. Which one is most worthy of mercy and heaven? It will never be our role to judge. Never.


#16

My wife looked at the articles in the paper, the Vatican response, and just said: "I think I'm done. I'm just done" and wants me to have my pastor (Lutheran) come to the house to talk with her next week.


#17

[quote="cristyd, post:1, topic:226351"]
The news today in BBC about this letter that appeared from 1997 made me feel sick. I am a convert and I think that becoming Catholic is the best thing i have ever done. I am so happy since i chose to do it.
This morning i felt a big pain in my chest and a moment of regret. I don't want this to happen. I love our church.

[/quote]

There were only a very few clergy who were involved in the sex scandals. Only they are the guilty ones. The pope didn't force them to do what they did, nor did the bishops. No matter what, this was bound to be a huge scandal at some point or other, once it became public.

I honestly think the press would have ravaged the Church no matter what stance was taken, whether to deal with the issue privately or made it public. There are so many anti-religious people out there who are just looking for any excuse to bash peoples' faith.

Just be aware that this kind of sex abuse happens everywhere where there are people in authority, and always has. Where I live, a court appointed authoritative psychiatrist, who was a witness to many a crime trial, has been arrested for sexually abusing the criminals he was supposed to be protecting.


#18

Crystid,

things have been worse. Seriously. There are always great sinners in the church who drag it down. It has been like that from the start, always a struggle. There have also been so many saints.
Of course, we want all priests to be perfect and a shining example to the world. But sin is reality unfortunately and there will always be a fight between good and evil, in the church and out.

Seeing what a saintly man Pope benedict is gives me hope. He has done so much to deal with these issues and he's not finished yet. We must pray for him.

If you were to leave, where would you go? To some protestant church where everybody is perfect? Where people have never hurt others? That doesn't exist, plus their teachings are heretical, so not a good option in my opinion. ;)


#19

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:18, topic:226351"]
Crystid,

things have been worse. Seriously. There are always great sinners in the church who drag it down. It has been like that from the start, always a struggle. There have also been so many saints.
Of course, we want all priests to be perfect and a shining example to the world. But sin is reality unfortunately and there will always be a fight between good and evil, in the church and out.

Seeing what a saintly man Pope benedict is gives me hope. He has done so much to deal with these issues and he's not finished yet. We must pray for him.

If you were to leave, where would you go? To some protestant church where everybody is perfect? Where people have never hurt others? That doesn't exist, plus their teachings are heretical, so not a good option in my opinion. ;)

[/quote]

My problem is not that there are sinner in the Church, I am realistc and I am aware of that. I was the greatest defender of the Church, telling everybody not to judge all the priests based on the actions of a few of them. What is bothering me is that people inside the Church tried to hide it. This is what made me sick.
I don't want to leave. I went to the whole proces of entering the Catholic Church and I did it out of love. Why would i leave now. But there is dissapointment.


#20

[quote="cristyd, post:19, topic:226351"]
My problem is not that there are sinner in the Church, I am realistc and I am aware of that. I was the greatest defender of the Church, telling everybody not to judge all the priests based on the actions of a few of them. What is bothering me is that people inside the Church tried to hide it. This is what made me sick.
I don't want to leave. I went to the whole proces of entering the Catholic Church and I did it out of love. Why would i leave now. But there is dissapointment.

[/quote]

The way I see it, those who tried to hide it = sinners. No difference between them and abusers as far as I'm concerned. It is absoluetly disgusting. I am soooo angry. I want heads to roll.
But I would never, ever leave. I even think that these revelations must have been God's work in order to cleanse his church and make it more holy. Filth and lies always end up exposed. That's not a bad thing. What we are experiencing now is so terrible and painful but there must be good coming from it.

Don't lose faith and hope. Keep praying and ask God to help you in this difficult time. Also, you can offer these feelings up for the intention of the church being cleansed and purified and filled with saints.


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