In the face of all the suggestive conspiracies and known scandals being brought to light within the Catholic Church today, some of her members are pondering leaving the 2,000-year-old foundation. (This reminds me of how anti-Trump voters showed a fierce desire to leave the country if he became President.) In fact, a few have already started leaving the Church over the recent sexual scandals.
Ultimately, we see Catholics acting like some Americans did when Trump became president. Many of the American people did not even respect the free country in which they were living. From my perspective, I really do not care who is sitting behind the desk in the White House – to an extent. But, whoever he or she be, I will nevertheless show respect to my country. Likewise, the man in St. Peter’s chair has no bearing on my respect and devotion to the Catholic Church as the Body of Christ.
To be entirely fair, the current atrocities we are witnessing within the Church, most threateningly the sexual abuse scandals, are true horrors and should not be made light of. It is likely only the victims will ever understand the full extent of these erroneous acts on the parts of Church officials, figures who are meant to be loving, caring father figures.
Many within our Church have grown exceedingly disturbed and quite angered in the divulgence of this sad news. In regards to those who want to leave, I would remind them that perseverance is a virtue, the use of which stretches back to the earliest of Christian communities.
12:12 of St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans can be translated as “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.” In varying translations, the term “persistent” is substituted with “constant” or “faithful.” Thus, the apostle is telling us to be relentless in prayer and to not lose faith! Did Jesus Christ lose heart and cease to persevere halfway through his passion? He is God! He could have ended it if and when-ever he wanted. But he didn’t.
He did not stop at the scourging, at the carrying of the cross, and the removal of his clothes, or even at the pounding of the nails into his hands and feet. If Christ persevered and had faith on our behalf, then surely we can remain steadfast in our faith in the foundation of the Church which itself was founded by and upon our Lord himself.
I further want to use a certain sacramental, an object many Catholics are familiar with, to demonstrate what needs to be done within the Catholic Church. The analogy is the Rosary. Often when you take out the linked beads from your pocket or a pouch, the Rosary has become irritatingly tangled.
This hinders the use, in fact the very function, of the sacramental. Likewise, these dreadful scandals hinder the authority and image of the Church. They injure the Church itself, the mystical Body of Christ, and we are all affected.
What do you do when you find yourself with a tangled Rosary? You don’t just throw it away. It is blessed. It’s a holy thing, and it isn’t even broken. What it requires is time, perseverance, patience. You untangle the mess of knots it has managed to get into. Similarly, it requires us, the members of the Church, to be perseverant in our prayers and fasting for the Church itself.
Just as the knotting up of the beads on a Rosary inhibits its healing, prayerful function, so these awful scandals impair the Church’s ability to lead by example. But we are not necessarily supposed to live by others’ example. We are to live by the Word of God and the most sacred teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. It is the Church’s officials, from the highest to the lowest, who need our prayers right now.
The victims too need to be comforted, not just by the peace of the Holy Spirit but by you and me as well. Many need prayers; many prayers are needed. In fact, one of the best devotional prayers is that which the Blessed Virgin Mary gave us: the Rosary. Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, pray for us!