Why I love the Corrupt and Crime Ridden Catholic Church

My tweets must have been re-tweeted to a less than sympathetic audience because a reply came floating back that anyone with a conscience should leave the “corrupt, immoral, crime ridden Catholic Church.”

What I find curious in the present wave of anti-Catholicism is that the new atheists and the old fundamentalists resort to many of the same attacks on the Catholic religion. Hatred for the Catholic Church comes from all quarters, and one of this attack–that the Catholic Church is “corrupt, immoral and riddled with crime” is one of the  more typical.

What no one stops to consider is that no knowledgeable Catholic disputes the fact that there is immorality, crime and corruption in the Catholic Church. We’ve known that from the beginning. In fact, the Lord Christ himself said that the sheep and the goats would be mingled together and that the wheat and the weeds would grow in the same field. Indeed, among the holy apostles themselves were those who were less than holy. Judas was a traitor who sold his Lord and his soul for a bag of money then went out and hung himself. Peter was a loud mouthed coward, Thomas a timorous doubter, Paul a violent and ignorant man and an accessory to murder. The list could go on.

Of course there is immorality and corruption and crime in the Catholic Church. What did you expect–a tighty whitey sect of grinning do gooders with their hair combed and their shoes shined and their ties tied out handing out gospel tracts? What did you expect a group of nice old ladies who bake cookies and run a soup kitchen? What did you expect–a group of sincere activists who want to bring in a more politically correct world for all the people they happen to feel sorry for? You can certainly find groups of do gooders like that, but they won’t be the Catholic Church. They’ll be some sort of frightful sect you wouldn’t want to join if you had a chance.

Instead, in the Catholic Church–like any group of human beings–you’ll find the good and the bad mixed up together. You’ll find the agony and the ecstacy–the joy and the sorrow–the sinner and the saint, and isn’t that what you’d expect to find if you were looking for an authentic religion? Isn’t that what you find when you read the Old Testament? Isn’t that what you find when you read human history? Isn’t that what you find when you study your own family tree? Isn’t that what you find when you look in the mirror?

The reason I love the ‘corrupt and crime ridden Catholic Church’ is that first of all we admit that it is such, and second, we’re sorry that it is such and third, that we are trying to do something about it. The Catholic Church might be corrupt and crime ridden, but the Catholic Church is also the only institution that can do anything about it. Of course the Catholic Church is full of sinners. Just like a hospital is full of sick people. The Lord does not call the righteous but sinners to repentance, and since that is the case we should expect that it is sinners who respond to the call, come in out of the cold and ask for the necessary treatments to make things better.

We are all not happy with the crime and sin and corruption in the Catholic Church, but we can’t imagine any other church that would be any different. Catholics are a work in progress and those of us who acknowledge we are sinners feel comfortable with other people who are also still working on it. Like an AA group: “Hi I’m Dwight. I’m a sinner.”

So I’m not real worried about the Catholic Church being full of crime and corruption and a good number of sinners. It makes me feel at home.

What worries me are the self righteous people who blame the Catholic Church for being such. Do they really think they are so much better than everybody else? Geesh! It’s those type of people who give me the creeps–not the sad sinners who sit in our pews week by week. At least they know they need help. The ones who think they don’t need help? They’re the squeaky clean zombies that make me shudder.

 

  • Trish

    Amen, Father!

  • Cheryl

    Well said again, Father. I’m bookmarking this post for future forwarding!

  • John

    Amen, Father. As an organization made up of and run by human beings, it is of course it has corruption and crime – every human organization ever created begins, if it is lucky, with high ideals and the best intentions, then hard choices have to be made, and short-cuts tempt, and the rot begins and eventually the organization collapses, sometimes with a bang and sometimes with a wimper. The amazing thing about the Catholic Church – and it is, in my most humble opinion, this that distinguishes her from other human organizations. Again and always with the corruption is the reformer, the saint working away in quiet humility that reforms a corner of the Church, which reform spreads like a fire. Those pointing the finger at the Church and denouncing its corruption might stop to pause and wonder at how it has survived so long. It is nothing short of miraculous.

  • Jonathan Carpenter

    Right on Padre!

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  • Geo

    In the words of James Joyce the Catholic Church is “here comes everybody”– including the crooks and the creeps.

  • FW Ken

    As one of those sinners sitting in the pews, I thank you, Father.

  • ellen

    Hi. I’m Ellen. I’m a sinner, too.

  • Katlego

    Well said Fr!!!

  • Jason

    St. Peter the “loud mouth coward” died a martyr’s death. And I’ll remember your characterization of St. Paul as “ignorant” as I’m reading his various letters from Scripture.
    Surely you could have made the obvious point that men and women of the Church are all sinners without slandering great Saints.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      It is no slander of great saints to point out the human faults which they overcame.

      • Jason

        Sorry Father but you are wrong. Calling a martyr a coward is a slander. Anyone who considers St. Paul “ignorant” is themselves, ignorant.
        Pointing out their human faults is one thing. But as I stated, it is possible to make the obvious and necessary point that each of these great men of the Church were sinners without resorting to such lengths.

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          The whole point is that St Peter, by God’s grace, overcame his cowardice and St Paul, by God’s grace, overcame his ignorance.

          • Ron Jon

            Amen, father. Without God’s grace we are all just sinners. It’s what Saint Paul says in chapter 3 of the letter to the Romans.

          • Bill McKenzie

            Ever heard of the sin of detraction?

        • John

          To be frank, Jason, I don’t trust people who insist on ignoring the failings of our saints. When we start making believe that St Peter OR St Paul never did anything wrong, we inherently start making gods of THEM, not Christ. If you like reading St Paul, remember that even HE argued against saying that he amounted to anything on his own. He insisted that direct our gaze to the Almighty.

          I think we should take great solace from the actions of both men, actually.
          If Peter, the Apostle, can be caused to denounce Christ due to fear for his own life, but then repent, and be inspired to advocate for Christ, even to suffer crucifixion himself, AND declare himself unworthy to be crucified right-side-up; if Paul, formerly Saul, who actively sought out some of the Christians with the intent of murdering them, can even so be converted, then there’s ample hope for ME and for YOU.

          If Christ can take these sinful men and make them holy, imagine what He can do with people like us who haven’t committed sins with such gravity!

    • John

      This is hardly slander, and that’s precisely the point. The gospels, especially Mark, is a hell of a lot harder on the apostles than that. Jesus himself called Peter “Satan.” The point is we’re all saints and sinners. A saint in not the opposite of sinner.

    • David

      Dude, it got the point across. Don’t reduce his valid points which speak to people culturally as “slander”. These men are dead and don’t need to be worshiped like kings. They have to be seen for what they are so that we know that we are called to be saints too.

  • Jacob

    If the church is no different than the rest of us, and is just a bunch of human beings trying to continue in the progress of being better human beings, what good is this belief doing? What’s the point in holding a belief in a “truth” that you believe is the most unique in human history when we are all still the same, religious or non religious. No matter if you’re a catholic or an atheist, every human being is striving to be a better version of itself. Some just need to have the incentive of eternal life after death. Most others do not. So, when you say people criticize the church, it is precisely because they know that catholics are no different from the rest of us accept that they believe in some ultimate truth claim that saves or damns you to eternity, yet these same people will never meet this standard and judge others for not doing so either. That’s the hypocrisy that drives people away.

    • John

      We are not all the same in the sense you suggest, Jacob.

      If you can demonstrate that every human being is striving to be a better version of itself, I can demonstrate that I’ve come across THOUSANDS of values that one or another might strive to achieve. If you wish to declare that most people don’t need eternal life as an incentive, I declare that all people DO need SOME form of incentive to cause them to change their behavior.
      This means that all persons, no matter their reasons for seeking to better themselves, must do so according to some form of value. Interestingly, many of the thousands of values I mentioned above..not only aren’t very compatible, but in fact, many directly CONFLICT with each other.

      Either it IS a virtue to allow a man to live or it is not.
      Either it IS a virtue to feed a starving man or it is not.
      Either it IS a virtue to teach a man to feed himself or it is not.
      Too often though, many value systems declare that allowing a man to die, however they may say it, has virtue. Too often, many value systems deny the virtue of teaching a man to feed himself.

      If people “know” that Catholics are not different from anyone, they know falsely. Perhaps the Catholics in question don’t know their faith, perhaps the people critiquing the Catholics don’t understand or accept Catholic teaching, perhaps something else has happened.

      I contend to you that, if anything REALLY drives people away from the Church, the act of failing to teach what Christ taught does it the most. The ultimate hypocrisy is not failing to live up to the Church’s standard; the ultimate hypocrisy is failing to admit that the standard exists in the first place.

      • Norah

        Bravo ! well said.

    • Facile1

      “No matter if you’re a catholic or an atheist, every human being is striving to be a better version of itself.”

      To Jacob,

      I guess I may be the only human being who is NOT striving to be a better version of herself.

      When I decided to return to the Roman Catholic Church, it was for the simple reason that I needed a religion to support my rather fragile FAITH in God’s LOVE for me. I truly want to be with the ONLY ONE I know who knows everything there is to know about me and still wants my company.

      I am actually consoled by the fact that the Roman Catholic Church wrote the book on SIN. I am consoled also that the Roman Catholic Church has a sacrament for penance, which allows me to tell God (and a priest) my sins. I know my sins are not news to God. He knows them all and has forgiven. But my sins are news to me. Reciting them out loud in the confessional box makes me more aware of my sins and reminds me of how very much loved I am.

      I don’t pretend to know how I can improve on God’s creation as found in myself. I also don’t think much of heaven as an incentive. But I am sure of ONE thing. I don’t want to go to hell because God won’t be there. But I have FAITH that love alone should steer me towards the ONLY ONE I know who loves me best and also should — just as a matter of course — direct me away from sin.

      My focus is not so much on the avoidance of sin or the cultivation of virtue. I try to keep my focus simply on loving God.

      • Norah

        We don’t rationalize, we just love to be TOTALLY LOVED ! No human relationship can achieve that! You only find this in God’s love. My love to Him activates His love to me, simple as that.

  • http://reluctantliberal.wordpress.com Reluctant Liberal

    No fault to you, but I don’t think you’re giving the criticism fair consideration. People aren’t objecting to individual corruption, they’re objecting to institutional corruption. They’re objecting to paying a tithe that will legal defense funds attempt to dismiss legitimate complaints that Catholic institutions writ large hid and protected abusive priests. It’s not the existence of abusive priests per se that upsets people, but the institutional protections those priests received. To use your own analogy, one expects to find sick people in a hospital, but one doesn’t expect that hospital administrators will knowingly assign you a heart surgeon with the Spanish flu.

    • Robert_H

      ” To use your own analogy, one expects to find sick people in a hospital, but one doesn’t expect that hospital administrators will knowingly assign you a heart surgeon with the Spanish flu.”

      St John’s Gospel, chapter 6:

      Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

      To continue the analogy, if the only healthcare choices in town are the hospital where some surgeons are (or were) ill, and snake handlers/charlatans/ New Age types, where would you take your son should he turn ill and need his appendix removed?

      Finally, if institutional corruption is our benchmark for refusing to participate with an institution, clearly we can no longer belong to: The military; Boy Scouts; Girl Scouts; any public or private education endeavor; any political party; any corporation; any non-profit; etc, etc, etc. Because they are all staffed with people. And people are fallen creatures.

    • John

      If you wish to complain about institutional corruption, you’ve fallen well short.
      If people might object to paying a legal tithe to an organization that spends tons of money to defend a criminal, I might point out that they DO have a choice to pay tithes or not to pay tithes. If they wish, they DO have the ability to make arrangements with their local parish or diocese to contribute more directly to a particular parish or apostolate if they wish.
      Then too, if people object to paying tithes to a Church, I might point out that I, MYSELF, object to paying taxes to a State which insists that the University system must be allowed to preach secularism, even though I have no knowledge that such a curriculum has ever faced a public vote.

      I also object to people who howl about the Church’s sins, yet can’t be bothered to find out whether public school systems or other Houses of Faith might also have their share of sinners of various varieties.
      I think it sad that we hear such loud screams about injustice at the same time as most people appear to me to be willing participants in yet another legendary witch hunt.

      • Sus

        “I think it sad that we hear such loud screams about injustice at the same time as most people appear to me to be willing participants in yet another legendary witch hunt.”

        Protecting children from being molested is NOT a witch hunt. There is no defense for what the Catholic Church institution did when it comes to bad priests who molest children. The institution is directly responsible for the kids that got molested. Instead of calling the police, they moved the priests to other congregations.

        Are you defending that?

        Fr. Longenecker, how can you write an entry like this without directly acknowledging the child molestations and the coverup that the institution undertook?

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          A few Catholic priests were sick criminals. Some bishops covered up for them. Everyone is very sorry. Everyone has said they are very sorry. The Catholic Church across the nation has put in place the most rigorous child protection policies. Is there anything else we can do to make things right?

          • Sus

            There were over 10,000 allegations of abuse by almost 4,500 priests. That probably is a “few” because of how many Catholics and how many priests there are.

            To write that you LOVE the corrupt and crime ridden Church without acknowledging the victims of the abuse by members of your clergy is screwed up. Everyone may be sorry but that doesn’t make up for it. It especially doesn’t make up for it when the Church is still protecting people like Cardinal Bernard Law who was flown to Rome to escape the grand jury.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            What do you think would make up for it?

          • Sus

            I wish I knew.

            Your post really shocked me but I need to remember that not all Catholic Priests and Bishops participated and not all are responsible for what happened. I apologize for jumping on you about this.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            Thank you for your conciliatory remark. I’m sure you understand that most of the post in question was intentionally ironic. The blog is called ‘standing on my head’!

          • Korou

            Excuse me for butting in, Sus.

            You think that saying sorry makes it right? You think that heartfelt apologies – assuming they were heartfelt – make things okay again?
            No, there probably isn’t anything you could ever do to make it right. It’s callous of you to assume that there is.
            You say that your posts are ironic, then your supporters leave comments saying how much they agree with you, and you argue with anyone who disagrees with you. That’s ironic.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            There is a fly that keeps buzzing around.

    • Korou

      Agreed. People aren’t angry with the Catholic Church for saying “We know we made mistakes but we are trying to get better.” They’re angry with the Catholic Church for saying, “We haven’t made any mistakes and have nothing to apologise about. Catholic-hater!”

  • Michael

    @Jason – Peter denied Christ 3 times, even after having accepted Him as Lord. That’s cowardice. It isn’t saying he was an objectively bad man, or undeserving of glory in Heaven. It’s true cowardice, the same thing we exhibit every time we willingly deny God to make ourselves more comfortable.

  • Jun_Huenda

    You’ve said it right Father. We’re all sinners to which God provided His Son Jesus Christ that we may obtain mercy through His Church. The saints are no better nor worse than us and yet through God’s generosity they obtained pardon and blessedness.

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  • Chuck

    Sorry Father, but I have to agree with Jason.. You message was lost with the name calling. It was over the top, trying to make a valid point, but over the top just the same. God bless you Father….

  • Chantry Priest

    Being fed up to the back teeth with all the ‘People of God and We’re all VERY VERY NICE [and respectable] rubbish spouted. This is a very refreshing article. Let’s get back to the doctrine of the Church where ‘every saint had a past and every sinner a future.’

  • Lynda

    There is the Mystical Body of Christ and then there are the many human beings with various degrees of sinfulness that are members of the Church. The Tradition (including Scripture) and Magisterium of the Church are of God and undefiled.

  • Marcus Valdes

    Great post. Thanks for writing it.

  • Jacob (not the same as above)

    “The reason I love the ‘corrupt and crime ridden Catholic Church’ is that first of all we admit that it is such, and second, we’re sorry that it is such and third, that we are trying to do something about it.”

    See, that 3rd one is blatantly false. Individual catholics may be trying to change the church, but the institution as a whole does nothing.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      or you could check the facts.

  • Bruce

    Great post Fr. As I enjoy telling people who question the GOOD of the RCC. We have been a Curch for greater than 2000 years…..IN SPITE OF HERSELF and (at times) HER LEADERS!

  • Quanah

    Great post! Thank you, Father.

  • Korou

    “Judas was a traitor who sold his Lord and his soul for a bag of money then went out and hung himself.”
    Yes, but nobody venerates Judas for this.

    “Peter was a loud mouthed coward, Thomas a timorous doubter…”
    But we can give excuses for them – the stories about them do explain that they were facing intimidating forces.

    “Paul a violent and ignorant man and an accessory to murder.”
    Who repented and made amends for his sins.

    None of these are comparable to what the Catholic Church is accused of. It is not accused of doing wrong things which they then tried to make right. It is accused of doing wrong things and not even realising that they need to be made right.
    It would be a better comparison if Judas was admired for his treachery, rather than condemned for it; if Peter and Thomas belligerently defended their cowardice and nobody criticised them for it; if Paul spread the gospel by violence and was held up as a model of how a Christian should act.
    If you can’t understand the kind of criticisms being levelled at the Catholic Church, how can you argue against them?

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      A few sick and twisted priests committed horrible crimes. Some mis guided bishops covered them up. The Leaders of the Catholic Church have recognized the evil. They have said they are sorry. Multiple times. They have paid millions in compensation. They have spent millions more to put in place the most rigorous of child protection policies. Any other ideas of what we might do?

      • http://otritt.wordpress.com/ The Egyptian

        Any other ideas of what we might do?

        I believe what they have in mind is “wymyn priests, abortion, birth control for free, the total gay package, in other words total capitulation to the the liberal agenda. I remember an editorial in the NY slime right after the abuse problem came to light insisting

        “now we have the catholic church right where we want them, they will have no choice to acquiesce or we will destroy them”

        They are still screaming and will till the biological solution works it’s magic

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          Your assessment is correct.

        • Korou

          NY slime? Screaming? Total liberal agenda?
          Well, good to see you’re taking a balanced and objective view.

          • Norah

            You will be surprised to find those who hold grudges against RCC are the same ones who
            will never try to find out who the RCC is , because once they know who RCC is, their
            ground for screaming is gone from them !

      • Korou

        Yes. Stop trying to pretend that this was an isolated problem, that it has been sorted out, and that it won’t happen again.
        The problem is still ongoing, the Catholic Church is still in denial, and posts like this do no credit to the truth.

  • Charles Donaldson

    I thirst for justice. I thirst for reform. I thirst for a renaissance and reformation.
    1. Italy annex the Holy See and end the church taxes in Europe.
    2. Return to the election and retention of bishops through the people.
    3. End corporation sole as the legal framework of diocese.

    This would combat the Neo-ultramontanism and the emphasis on ultramontanism along with ultra-clericalism which are internal heresies of the Roman church. The monarchical papacy is an invention of man and is the stumbling block for Christian unity and continued corruption in the Roman church.

    We can begin by refusing to accept the appointed bishops until there is at least consultation with the people. One should not get so comfortable.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Why would ‘the people’ necessarily be any better at ruling the church than the bishops? I’ve experienced congregationalism. There are just as many or more abuses and idiocies in that system.

      • Korou

        Perhaps because the bishops seem very much out of touch with what normal Catholics want and believe at the moment? Good for the laity.

        • Brendan S.

          The key words there are “at the moment”. The public appetite and attitude changes drastically and frequently over short spans of time. The Church, on the other hand, does not change (at least not noticeably). It provides something to hold on to while the winds of society roar about us. Does this make sense to you?

          • Korou

            Not really. I don’t think those are the key words.

  • Tina In Ashburn

    Modernism in the Catholic Church was the subject of the definitive encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis of Pope St. Pius X

    Funny title Father, and a great blurb. But it never fails …many don’t ‘get’ irony or humor.
    Jesus said: “For I am NOT come to call the just, but sinners. ” We have the Church because we are NOT holy.
    And, that the Church survives to this day in spite of its sinners and failings, is another proof that the Catholic Church is rooted in Christ.

    My dad [RIP] used to remind my Mom “Nellie, the Church is an organization of SINNERS”, probably after she would rant about the imperfection of some Catholic. The quote is a reminder of why Jesus Christ left us His Church – to SAVE us, help us, guide us, support us, love us because we are weak sinners and cannot achieve sanctity without Jesus Christ.

    Yes, the visible Church Militant is an organization of people, a bureaucracy, has buildings, and all those things and personalities, with all the failings that go with such. People tend to focus on the temporal aspects such as these and forget Its spiritual component.

    Additionally, to deny the sins of the saints is to deny the power of Jesus Christ, our undeserved grace, and the power that the human Will has to turn itself to God in spite of overwhelming attachment to sin, dreadful soul-killing choices of evil, and weak failings. Saints are held up as examples to provide each of us encouragement in our own identical failings. These people are not alabaster – saints are saints because they were just like us! Alcoholics, wife-beaters, thieves, liars, the power-hungry, fornicators, – - name a sin and you can find a saint that suffered the same but overcame it — they did it, and so can you and I. Father, you are correct in identifying the terrible failings of even the Apostles as proof of the grace of God and the ability of the human Will to turn to God. Yes, even in spite of the worst Judases, the Church lives and thrives.

  • Tina In Ashburn

    oops, the first sentence in my comment above is a non sequitur because it wasn’t intended to be part of my comment, included by mistake. [eyeroll]

  • u3

    Lord Macualy once said: “After considerable study, and with some admitted regret as a Protestant, I must confess that I consider the Roman Catholic Church to be of divine origin because no mere human institution run with such knavish imbecility could have survived two weeks.”~taken from “The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church by Christopher Kaczor

  • FW Ken

    That 4500 (actually around 5000) priests accused of abuse over 50 years represents 5% of priests during that period. The rate of abuse among men in general is at least 8%, and probably between 10% and 20%. Do the math, read the John Jay reports, and stop obsessing about the Catholic Church. Your kids are safer at church than at a family reunion.

    Obsessing on the Church raises serous questions about whether one is concerned for the welfare of children, hates the Church, or is dealing with emotional problems arising from abuse.

    • Korou

      Although any particular family or group of families may engage in a conspiracy of silence to hide horrible acts, “family” itself is not an institution and does not. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, is, has and does. But perhaps yoou’re right. Perhaps widespread child molesting and its long-term covering up isn’t really that serious.
      Regarding your numbers – it’s a case of apples and oranges to compare the number of accusations made in one group with the number of suspected acts committed in another group. If 5000 priests were accused, how many more do you think were not accused? Would that bring it up to 10, 15 or 20%? More?

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        Korou, I’m getting tired of your presence here. You’re not really contributing anything positive or meaningful or intelligent to the debate. Don’t you have something better to do?

        • Korou

          If you write an article about the Catholic Church’s sins and absolve it of all of them without mentioning the single greatest sin of recent history – well, no, Dwight, I think the best use of my time when visiting this blog is to point that out.
          I would point out how the comments I made weren’t lacking in meaning, but I have a feeling you wouldn’t post it – so I won’t bother.

      • Brendan S.

        How is family not an institution?

        • Korou

          Oh yes – you’re quite right.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institution
          The top one, too.
          My point, then, is that any particular family may or may not be likely to cover up abuses, but “family” itself doesn’t. There is no particular reason why any one family would have the same values as any other family, but there is a reason why any one part of the Catholic Church would have the same reactions as any other part – that they are part of an organisation with a hierachy.

  • savvy

    Sus,

    Why are the lies about Cardinal law’s case still around. He is not wanted anywhere. He was cleared by two grand juries who ruled that the had broken church law, not state law.

    However Cardinal Laws activities as Archbishop were fully investigated for 16 months by the Massachusetts State Attorney General and he appeared before 2 Grand Juries. Following this the Attorney General issued a report stating that Cardinal law had not broken any state laws. The Cardinal is not being “sheltered in the Vatican” because he not wanted for any crime in the US.

    • Sus

      They aren’t lies but I should have prefaced what I said with “allegedly”.

  • Steven W

    Hello,

    I’ve always wondered about a related topic. The Catholic Church teaches that faith in it is not irrational, and often says that every part of its teaching is necessary to it so that to remove one iota of it would disrupt its harmony.

    It seems to me that a rationally-grounded membership in any organization would be conditional to some extent upon the morality displayed by it.

    If this is true, is there some possible evil deed that could be done under the auspices of the organization of the Church which would cause you to renounce your membership in it?

    We could (for instance) imagine an Ivan Karamazov handing back his ticket to heaven because God’s plan of salvation in history involves the suffering of children.

    I am hoping for apologetics that rely on argumentation other than making a distinction that involves what something is essentially, and what something is accidentally (if you catch my drift), because distinction making like that feels so unsatisfying.

    Thanks

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      The evil is done by individual Catholics not the institution itself.

      • Steven W

        Fr. Longenecker This was the answer I was hoping to avoid!

        If no action can count as evidence against the idea that the Catholic Church is holy, then it seems to me that no action can meaningfully count as evidence for this idea.

        I guess I don’t understand how the holiness of the Church can be wholly separable from the people who embody it. Truly, if the Church were any other institution, wouldn’t we laugh at this notion? How then would you explain this exceptionality to an unbeliever using natural reason, or is such a task not possible?

        And though I may be really off base here, and if I am please forgive me, this separability seems like a proposition the Catholic Church should reject given that its official philosophy is Thomism; it seems anti-Thomistic to separate the holiness of the church from the people who (in part)compose it, because the case between the Church and its members is analogous to the case between the soul and its body.

        Thank-you

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          It’s a mystery.

  • FW Ken

    Steven W. -

    The Church is not an “it”. She is a community of people, which is hard to comprehend in the sort of radically individualist society in which we live.We are both the sum of the individual members, but also a society ordered in a particular manner.

    First, we are hierarchical, itself an offense in a (theoretically) egalitarian culture. I often suspect the foolishness of claiming “institutional corruption” is nothing more than a complaint that we have actual authority structures which offend a “you aren’t the boss of me” mentality. Second, there is a theological claim that Jesus Christ is the Head, and we are members of His Body. That, again offend a culture which celebrates humanity add the center and summit of it all.

    All of which is to say that the Catholic Church and her Faith are a sign of a contradiction: we are sinners beloved and forgiven by God. We are a sign of transcendence that is immanent. God is other, but also one of us. None of that makes sense to the world. But that’s what we are.

  • PadrePals

    corrupt, immoral, crime ridden…huh, sounds a lot lke the human race…let’s not forget Moses the murderer and David the adulterer and murderer.

  • susan

    all these happened in the West. People in Asia are more conservative; and less “adventurous”. So really it is the person himself that had done wrong and not the Church itself; it so happens that these sick people belong to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is a Universal church and we have different sinners, crimes and corruption everywhere. We Asians love our Church

  • Tony

    >’The reason I love the ‘corrupt and crime ridden Catholic Church’ is that first of all we admit that it is such,<

    I am afraid that admission is not correct. My Catholic relatives are evasive and would tend to counter with a cast of aspersions in other directions. But came you blame them? This organisation has brainwashed them since early childhood. We look with disbelief at the acts of martyrdom of those hard-line Muslims similarly in thrall to a childhood indoctrination. Further, Richard Sipe reports that cardinals take a solemn vow to keep secret all those things which would tarnish the image of the church; so to paint this organisation as no better than other organisations is to ask questions about any claims it makes to being 'The one true Church' as drummed by repetition into the receptive ears of children. Also your saint/sinner dichotomy is wrong. Marriage, and baptism, are not the only words to have suffered a loss in meaning. In the early church ALL members were addressed as saints, as a cursory reading of Paul's letters will reveal; saints were sinners being. sanctified

    • Brendan S.

      I don’t know about your relatives, but I can certainly admit when the Church has done something wrong. And to go ahead and beat the dead horse again, take the child molestations for an example. Obviously, that was wrong. The covering up of it was wrong, and was poor judgement on the part of the people who did so. It was not, on the other hand, the fault of the Church as a whole, as some people seem to think (not you, I hope).

      On a somewhat unrelated note, It bothers me a lot that so many people can do all the same wrong things as a member of the Catholic Church, yet receive no reprimanding. While I suppose it is because we actually profess what is right and wrong, why then, if they believe themselves to be better than us, not act so? Not to say that some atheistic or non-Catholic Christians aren’t good. But I’m going on for too long…

      • Credo

        ‘ It was not, on the other hand, the fault of the Church as a whole, as some people seem to think (not you, I hope)’

        Of course not. I would exclude the laity. The blame is on those cardinals who took the vow of concealment , and all bishops, etc. with a similar mindset. How unlike the early church when, for instance, Paul tore into Peter over circumcision.

  • http://yahoo.com thomas pandian

    I really was happy to read the comments, arguments, offense and defence of the readers. One thing make me happy is that many of those faithful really are loving the church and have great concern about its growth (if not survival). As one reader points out the errors or mistakes or sins of the western church is entirely different from the asian church. It all depends on the situation or circumstances. I don’t want to justify the crimes, but it is my ardent desire that the church may come out of all these menaces. It is not a sin to fall, but if we obstinately refuse to get up then it is a sin. Let us pray to God that the church may overcome all these human weakness and walk before God steadfastely. There may be some plots to malign the name of the church. Let us be vigilant and live a life worthy of our call. God bless you!

  • veritas

    Part of the problem for some people here is that they are blissfully unaware of the shocking sins that have been commited by both Protestant clergy and by state school teachers.
    The Catholic Church seems to be more in the public eye concerning these things.

    I could write a large book about my time as a priest in the Anglican Church and the cases of adultery and fraud involving clergy whom I had worked with.

    And many cases of child abuse involving school teachers in state schools have been simply hushed up while the teacher is transfered to another school.

    As I said, the focus is on the Catholic Church and meanwhile similar sins elsewhere are not seen.

  • Julie C.

    Korou – I have been reading Fr. L.’s blog for about 6 months now and you have been a complete enigma to me, but I finally have you figured out. It turns out, Father has been correct all along. When I began reading Father’s works in May, I backed you up and said that an atheist is just someone that denies God’s existence just because they haven’t seen scientific proof (to their satisfaction) that He does exist. After all, that is what you have said. Then I began to think that maybe atheists lack a certain sense that allows them to see and recognize the proof that others see so easily, perhaps like a color blind person. I now firmly believe, just as Father has stated all along, that atheism is your religion and I think your religion is based on hate. You absolutely hate the Catholic Church and everything for which it stands. You are like a child that vehemently refuses to eat his vegetables although he has never even tried a nibble. You kick and scream and gag and say how you hate them and never really stop your complaining long enough to try a sample and appreciate the taste. Maybe one day, when you mature, you will learn to appreciate the goodness of the Catholic Church and all that she has to offer.

    • Korou

      Sorry, Julie, I’m afraid you haven’t figured me out yet.
      There are two split questions there. The one is whether or not a God exists. In this case, I’ve never seen the vegetables, although I do see a lot of people munching on something you can never see them put in their mouths and opening their mouths to show there’s nothing there. I enjoy my own vegetables – a moral society and priinciples of goodness – quite well, and I think they do too, but there is one vegetable I think they’re just dreaming about.
      In the six months since you and I have been reading this blog I have asked for evidence quite a lot. It’s been amusing to see Dwight Longenecker trying to provide it (I was asleep when I was a child, in a car my parents were driving at night, which they say passed through another car) or give excuses for not having to provide any.

      The other question has nothing to do with whether God exists or not, it’s a question of how good the Catholic church is as a whole. To be quite honest, I always used to quite like the Catholic Church, which was at least willing to accept the truth of evolution, but in recent years it has swung sharply rightwards and revealed some extremely unsavoury secrets. So: in which reality is the concealement of child abuse comparabble to a delicious and nutritious vegetable?

      Maybe yoou’ve seen the Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry debate about whether the Catholic Church was a force for good in the world or not? It had quite an enlightening result.

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        You’re going to have to troll through another blog from now on. Thanks for visiting!

      • Fr. Allen

        When did the Church Catholic ever accept the theory of Evolution as a truth. Even we of the Orthodox have never accepted Darwin’s theory of evolution as a scientific truth.

  • http://www.maillotsdefootball1.com/ maillots de foot

    Very good.Thanks

  • Pingback: The Catholic Church Also Bumped Its Rump | Sandia Tea Party

  • The lady father

    For the most part I agree, but I’d find your argument more convincing if I could accept your comment that the RC institution admits its mistakes. The recent tragedies are the latest in a long line of denials of errors and sins. I don’t think anyone expects perfection from any institution, but from a religious organization there must be honesty at the very least.

  • Skay

    Thank you for the post Father.
    You do have a lot of patience.

  • Jacob

    One thing is apparent from most of these comments and that is you can’t argue with someone who believes they hold the absolute “truth” within their grasp. It’s one thing to offer comfort and solace for people, which is good. We are all inspired by the great music, literature, art, and ritual church can provide because they are materially conducive to us as humans. But, ideas can be harmful. Humans are too complex to live by black and white dogmas and interpretations of life that do not coincide with the real world. The more the gaps are filled in with our sciences the less we will need these ideas. That trend is apparent in industrialized countries around the world. Does that make these people evil? I hope you don’t think so. My question is what is the church to do when it is faced with newer realities about our world? The more and more scientific discovery eats away at biblical and traditional rhetoric, either the church swings with the changes or dies. It may not be any time soon I am sure but you have to think in the back of your mind will it go the way of older religions before it? Christianity never really did anything different in terms of something that may be unique. Judaism already knew most if not all the things Jesus taught. Civilizations before people also already figured out how to live a good life and respect others. So what is so unique? And I would appreciate not being attacked because I am not a believer.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Religion is unpredictable. It will turn you upside down.

    • Credo

      As I see it, Christianity is a unique expression of spirit-possession; possession by a Holy Spirit 0f those who call upon Christ for such possession. This spiritual phenomenon changes the dirction of the recipient’s life as he/she is called to live by Spirit and Truth. Consider the force of this in some pentecostal, etc. churches, and it’s unstoppable spread in the early church; such that only a diversion by Constantine followed by the decree of Theodosius in 391AD reined it in.

  • Mick

    Hi Dwight

    I was just wondering, what do you think is the greatest problem in the Church at the moment?

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      What is the greatest problem in the church? Individual lack of holiness.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      What is the greatest problem in the church? Individual lack of holiness.

  • Rex Boado

    Fr Longenecker is the “Stone Cold” Steve Austin of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
    Give him a “Hell Yea!”

  • Kevin

    You cannot honestly believe what you wrote. I grew up Catholic and I NEVER heard anyone within the church mention things that are corrupt. When things come out Catholics are the worst about talking about it in order to fix the problem. When you holiest of leaders swept the molesting of children under the rug you instantly lost all credibility. The only reason he is not in jail is because of all the money and power they have. How can you possibly still follow a guy who would let that happen to a child?

  • Ever

    Great, love it

  • Philip

    You are wrong father. Catholics are not on “even terms” with everyone else when it comes to the particularly disdainful crime of the sexual molestation of children. Yes, all religions and all other types of groups have this problem. No one group is immune. Yet Catholics have this problem in DISPROPURTUNATE AMOUNT compared to everyone else. The numbers are not the same. A study done by professor Cahill indicates “Between 5 and 7 percent of Catholic priests who passed through Melbourn’s Corpus Christi College between the mid 1940′s and the mid 1970′s have become sex offenders”. Also, Professor Patrick Parkinson of the University of Sydney law school says “Abuse within the Catholic Church is six to seven times that of abuse within the other cultures combined”.

    It is an act of denial and willful misrepresentation to claim otherwise. Over 11,000 children have been sexually molested by Catholic priests since 1980 worldwide. You know what they say about alcoholics… the first step to a cure is to admit that there is a problem. Could it be that the reason why the problem doesn’t improve is because the Catholic leadership is still in denial? Penn State was a microcosm of what is wrong with Catholic culture and Vatican leadership. But what I don’t understand is what do lay Catholics stand to gain by supporting the denial? Is denial itself a kind of common dominator among Catholics in a culture of secrecy and confession?

  • http://youtube.com/chadafrican Jack Mac

    marx’s formula of fetishism is this: impute magical powers to an object that repress how it was made, what is’ made of etc. the catholic church has always FORCED people to fetishize them and their power: see them as a magical institution with the power to tell everyone else what to do/what is true, and forbid them from investigating what they’re made of or their history (by killing dissenters, banning their books, putting them on trial etc.) Most, though not all, of us are smart enough to see through the bull.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Replace ‘Catholic Church’ for ‘Communist Regimes’ inspired by Marx and you’d be speaking truth.

  • RATM

    Maybe the number of abusers is comparable to numbers found in “Gen Pop”, but as stated previously, the number of victims and number of incidences are not. More devastating is the fact that the culture of leadership in the church directly contributed to it. This is NOT in the past. In Los Angeles, the largest archdiocese in the largest contributing nation to the Vatican STILL misleads the public, refuses to comply with court orders, and disrespects the victims by trying to save it’s own ass. Good luck naming another large institution comparable to the RC church that claims moral authority, yet knowingly places it’s officers in positions to committ serial molestation, rape, and torture. Then, fights tooth and nail to cover it up from those victims it dares to judge and patronize. The leadership of this church is not the only leadership on earth to perpetrate evil, but it has created it’s own uniquely devastating version. Fr. Dwight’s casual comments both refuse to recognize these facts and contribute to a perception many of us believers have that catholic priests are emotionally stunted. There is no “mystery” about how this institution, like many others, are designed to maintain power and perpetrate evil to do so. See Dr. Lombardo’s writings on The Lucifer Effect. Why can’t we achieve the necessary spiritual ends using faith and knowledge of Christ with ardent study and discussion, and less hierarchical, ritualized dogma and control?

  • Anthony

    The Catholic Church is corrupt…not at all what Jesus intended. Saying we are all sinners is a cop-out. Get real Catholic Church….the stench is sickening.

  • Truthophile

    Anthony, I agree. As a Christian, I haven’t seen Christlike behavior in the comments at all from the blog-writer. In fact, its haughty and condescending toward anyone that disagrees. Father, you say the biggest problem in the Catholic church is lack of individual holiness. I say the biggest problem is it too closely resembles the Pharisees Jesus spoke about. If they put Jesus first rather than raising up men to worship, perhaps the suffering of so many children could have been avoided? With the Holy Spirit, you can discern that the RCC is indeed ill and in no way represents our glorious savior or His church. Gold-covered pride.

    • SteveD61

      “raising up men to worship”? Not sure what universe you’re talking about here. We, as Catholics, worship one God. Love it when someone compares our Church to the Pharisees. Anytime someone cites rules (commandments), the “Pharisee” cry goes up….much easier to have a do-it-yourself religion, eh?

  • SteveD61

    Good article. I agree with every word. I love how people pass judgment on the Church….especially those who have never attended a Mass or done any serious research. Protestant for 20 years,… atheist for 30… I came home to the Catholic Church five years ago, and have never regretted it. My faith draws me closer to Christ each day and if that isn’t good enough for someone……maybe they need to examine their OWN beliefs….and their own heart. Peace.

  • SteveD61

    If you’ve stumbled across this article and you’re curious about Catholicism, I would encourage you to read up on it. There are many good books out there without an ax to grind, (unlike many of the blog posters here). Do some research on your own and maybe even attend a Mass. It can change your life as it did mine. Yes, the Catholic Church is far from perfect. It’s a bit like the United States….our country made some serious mistakes historically (think Indian land, condoning slavery, etc.), but overall it is a wonderful thing. Likewise, our Church — even with all its flaws — is an incredible institution and has stood as a beacon for Christ for 2,000 years. It has the power to change your life. I ask that you give it a chance. Peace to you all.

  • banjobach

    I have no qualms about saying I am morally superior to people who believe (based on bad evidence) we are born into sin by no choice of our own, and must atone for crimes that we never committed. And only until we embrace God on bad evidence can we begin to behave morally. Your capacity to evaluate morality is broken because your capacity to reason correctly is broken, and it is no wonder you have no problems associating with an organization that engages in criminal activities, such as the moving pedophile priests from church to church to avoid retribution from the law and tarnishing the church’s public image further.

    I am not concerned with reforming the RCC because it does not serve any essential moral action in this world that could not be done by an otherwise secular organization. Furthermore, the good works of the organization are tarnished by the fact that in order to receive their charity, one must be proselytized to. Making the charitable act actually come at the price of conversion, or at least the attempt to convert. No thanks, I’ll take my charity from people who are doing it because it’s the right thing to do, not because they think they are saving your soul from eternal damnation based on ill-informed reasons.

    Catholics aren’t the only ones that can do anything about the current problems of the RCC. The law is capable of forcing the organization to reform.


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