I am very disturbed by reports (such as “The Vortex – Keeping Balanced” on Youtube) from Church Militant and various other traditional Catholic groups, in particular, the church being infiltrated by faithless and filthy clergy and trying to cover up. I am wondering if I have been taught the right things and who I should believe.
Fr. Francis' answer:
The history of the church is filled with many great saints and great sinners. The reality is that both clergy and laity are sinners, called to be holy but are free to respond. Those who were called to greater responsibilities, were pivotal to manifesting greater glory for God or greater evil to scandalize.
We must therefore not be naïve to imagine that all is fine, that external sacraments alone would make us holy, even the sacrament of Holy Orders. Our Church history is filled with many sinful bishops and even popes. St. Bernard once said: “The road to perdition is paved with the skulls of bishops and priests.”
So, yes, we all need to know about this continuous presence of failure among us. However, I do not believe merely condemning their actions and attacking them personally is right. Even Jesus’ action towards the Pharisees were not merely to attack them, but to bring them to conversion. What sometimes some of these ultra-traditionalist approaches, intentionally or not, tend to create an atmosphere of wrath and fear, which is the very opposite of charity.
What instead we must do, is to first engage in prayer, entrusting our clergy and our Church leadership to God. God already knows our problems, and so we can trust Him and there is no need to fall prey to wrath and fear. Then we must engage in dialogue and respectful confrontation with the hierarchy so that proper processes may be engaged and those responsible may be held accountable. The Church needs to be continually renewed. God is already doing it, and we must take our part, but it must be done peacefully, hopefully, and trustingly, not necessarily in the leadership, but in the mysterious hand of God, who is the spouse of the Church.
But where is the assurance of our hope today, in the face of so many scandals?