Shocking Revelation: Sinners Found in Catholic Church!

For a Lenten penance this morning I read some mainstream articles about the Catholic Church. It’s amazing how, at this historic time, the Church is under full blown attack. Cardinal O’Brien resigns after allegations of “inappropriate behavior” by fellow priests, a “top-secret” dossier in the Vatican (which we all know must be full of terrible scandals!!!) will only be seen by Pope Benedict and his successor! Cardinal Mahony should stay home and not take part in the conclave! There aren’t enough cardinal electors! Benedict will have to quickly appoint a few more like Vincent Nichols of Westminster! There’s a gay cabal at the heart of the Vatican! They blackmailed the pope and had him ousted because he’s anti-gay.

There are several things about this reporting which are irresponsible and maddening. First of all, there is the fact the a huge percentage of it is exaggerated rumor-mongering. We don’t actually know what Cardinal O’Brien’s “inappropriate behavior” is. If it was so terrible, so explicit and so criminal why don’t the accusers say so? We don’t actually know what is in the Cardinals’ report on the Vatican, and it is perfectly reasonable for the Pope to keep it confidential for now, just like any other CEO or top government official would hold sensitive information at crucial times, and perfectly reasonable that the new pope should have privileged access before anyone else does. Will the pope suddenly appoint new cardinals because one has resigned? No. Is there a gay cabal in the Vatican? I expect the reality is that there are some actively homosexual priests, and there is concern that security, the witness of the church and their own ministries will be compromised by their hypocrisy.

The second aspect is the inconsistency of the secular press. On the one hand they are busy sexualizing just about every aspect of society, encouraging every sort of behavior in the cause of “freedom”, but when it comes to Catholics they snort with righteous indignation at every sort of “inappropriate behavior”. The fact of the matter is, human beings are sinful. We stumble and fall. We aim high and live low. We miss the target. It is the Catholic Church which recognizes this basic fallen condition of humanity and calls us, on the one hand, to the highest of standards, and also offers a way of mercy when we fail. It is the world, on the other hand, which does not call anyone to a high standard, and yet goes mercilessly in for the kill should anyone not achieve the high standard of behavior.

When are we going to wake up to the reality and being to understand that weakness and failure and hypocrisy is part of the deal. It is realistic and human and humane and humorous and humble to say, “I messed up. Forgive me.” It is also human and human and humorous and humble to embrace our fellow man and say, “Welcome to the human race. I forgive you. We’re all in this mess together.” What is cruel and hard and merciless is to refuse to forgive others while pretending that we have no faults ourselves.

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  • Bernie

    Excellent post Father, everyone should read this.

  • Mary

    Yes, but deacons, priests, Bishops, Cardinals and popes are supposed to be held to a higher standard. I agree the media does tend to be scandal mongers, but that scandal should not be there for them to find and when found or reported to the church then it needs go be handled swiftlty and correctly by the church. If the media was not being a bit of a barking watch dog, do you think the church would handle it swiftly and to conclusion? Her record is not good on this matter. Having said that, I do find what the media’s sometimes unbalanced reporting to be almost offensive.

    One wonders why that is the case. Why do we not hear as much about schools, sports associations and other places that have far more sexual abuse going on than the church. This is a proven fact you know. The church has less sexual abuse than the school systems and sports associtions, not to mention the boy scouts. Could it in fact be a backhanded compliment by the press? Is it possible they belive priests, bishops, etc. should be held to a higher standard too? You know Father, scripture calls for that higher standard. Both Old and New Testament call for it.

  • Mike

    Yes excellent post and everyone should but they don’t want to hear it. They just don’t. They don’t care if it’s wrong, it’s the RCC and that makes it ok. Don’t you know it is a mark of sophistication and intelligence to be able to ridicule and demonize Catholics? But we all already know this. This is nothing new. It’s been going on for 2,000 years and will continue for 2,000 more.

  • Charles e. Mac Kay

    Church was very busy today and for some reason the Gospel reflected on what was being said by Father. Someone had a newspaper with blaring headlines. No-one was concerned. We were all at church for one purpose and I suppose thats the way it will always be

  • Jessica Hoff

    I am told that there are (shock and hold the front page) parliamentarians and Congressmen who are also guilty of not being as honest or as continent sexually as they ought to be. What next?

  • Alex

    If O’Brien is innocent or the misconduct is low-level, why not just come out and explain it to the press? By failing to respond and explain, the Church is allowing the media’s suspicion and innuendo to dominate. If there is a reason to eliminate suspicion, let’s hear it. In the court of public opinion, there is no right to a presumption of innocence or a right to remain silent without penalty.

  • Julie Culshaw

    I think that people are hard on the Church because they are seeking any reason to justify their own abdication of faith. If the Church is shown to be so imperfect, they have every reason in the world to show disdain for it. But what they are actually doing is finding a rationalization for their own sinfulness.

  • Arnobius of Sicca

    Well said Father. While we do not condone the sins committed by the members of the Church, they are still children of God and loved by Him.

  • Oregon Catholic

    “What is cruel and hard and merciless is to refuse to forgive others while pretending that we have no faults ourselves.”

    But, but, but… isn’t that kind of what got the Church into this whole scandal mess – teaching about sin and it’s own moral authority while pretending it had no faults of it’s own by covering up the scandals? If it had come clean about it’s faults in the first place and asked for forgiveness, as you rightfully suggest we all should, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now. I think the Church deserves to be tarred with the same brush you are using on the media.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    The church has been apologizing and asking forgiveness non stop.

  • Manny

    I hate the media. They picked out the Cardinal from Scotland and made it sound like they are all violators of their vows. He is one out of over 5000 bishops and several hundred cardinals. One out of 5000 is a percentage of .02%. Compare that with the greater than 50% violators of their marriage vows that runs across society. And I bet that’s even higher for people in the media. Yes, religious people fall too, but at a significantly much lower rate than the general population, and certainly way lower than the news and celebrity media. A pox on the media.

  • Oregon Catholic

    I don’t agree, and when it does occur it’s almost always after the media has exposed someone, not before. The hierarchy has been perpetuating the problem by not having been proactive – although I see signs they have begun to wake up. We just shouldn’t be hearing about bishops and cardinals resigning or being fired over things that happened years ago this late in the game. Do you really think no one at the Vatican knew what Mahony was doing for years? Yet, he was only made to suffer disgrace once the damning evidence couldn’t be contained any longer. Next to satan, the hierarchy is the Church’s own worst enemy right now.

  • Oregon Catholic

    Allow me to amend that to say it’s the behavior of the hierarchy, not the persons, that is the enemy.

  • Alex

    I can only hope that Congrees has not become the measuring rod against which we judge those called to Holy Orders. Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, and the Pope all should be held to a higher standard. Yes, even saints fail, but the conduct of secular leaders or the public at large is no consolation for the errors of our beloved ministers.

  • Mary

    All Christians are supposed to be held to a higher standard than pagans, according to scripture. BUT on top of that Deacons, Priests, Bishops, Cardinals and Popes are supposed to be held to a higher standard then the laity. That is also in scripture, though I think it is sometimes translated as teachers in the church, they are talking about the various sarceotal offices.

    That is part of the deal and they all know that going in. Just like they know chastity is part of the deal. Sex outside the confines of marriage is a sin and until the church allows a priest to marry, he is to remain chaste. I am not saying they are sinless or even expected to be. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…” BUT they are HELD to a higher standard. I am sooooo happy I am a woman and excluded from that highest standard!

  • Mary

    Oh, by the by, those who want to compare homosexual priests with heterosexual priests are missing the point. It is the sexual activity outside the confines of marriage that should be the first focus. That is the true reason the homosexuals are working to get marriage legalized. They want to change it from a sin to a non-sin. Won’t help actively homosexual priests that are not allowed to marry though, at least not yet.

    Homosexualilty is not a sin you know. Only acting on it is a sin. Active homosexuals are where the sin comes in. St. Paul discusses this specifically. He lists a whole list of sins, of which sodemy and homosexual acts are specfically mentioned, by name. Then he says “…and such WERE some of us…” A person may have homosexual leanings, but that is not a sin of itself.

  • Ann

    The secular take on recent events is typical: “Pope resigns because of scandalous behavior revealed in explosive Vatileaks probe. ” What they fail to realize is that they have it completely BACKWARDS!

    I am convinced more each day that the Pope ordered the investigation into the environment surrounding the vatileaks scandal PRECISELY BECAUSE HE WAS PLANNING TO RESIGN! He wanted to get a clear picture of the positive and negative aspects of the functioning of the vatican bureaucracy which he could present to the new Pope. Benedict made some attempts to reform the curia (he brought in outsiders because he wanted a break from the careerism that he saw present in his years working there). His approach caused tensions with the old guard and in the end had some good and bad results. But Benedict is a very patient man. He thought it better to use the talents God gave him to focus on clear teaching and exquisite preaching in the humble way that we have come to love during what he anticipated would be a relatively short papacy.

    The reports that will be present for the” new pope’s eyes only” are his final gift to his successor. He has given him all the information that he needs to assess the situation with objectivity and patience. God willing, he will have the wisdom and grace a long enough pontificate to do what needs to be done in a thoughtful and effective way.

  • michael

    Personally as a former Catholic and now atheist, I could care less what gay sex ring or whatever the Catholic Church hierarchy is involved with. I personally don’t think the reality is as lurid as the press is making it out to be but if it involves only consenting adults and no civil laws are broken I feel sorry for those if they are involved with such depravity but they are welcome to it. And if Catholic priests like Fr. Longnecker think that the Vatican is being held to too high a standard, then who is an atheist to disagree. As long as no children are involved if allegations like this have some foundation they just increase the flight from religion.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Don’t put words in my mouth please.

  • Oregon Catholic

    Ann, I sure hope you are right and I agree that it was best to let the new pope have the news first. However, only time and distance from his papacy will tell for sure. The new pope has a monumental decision to make right off the bat as to whether he will reveal the contents of the report to the Church and usher in a new era of transparency – or not.

  • Mary

    Michael, you have obviously been hurt in some manner. I am sorry, if that is the case, and I will add you to my prayers.

    I keep thinking about how damaged all those young people must be. Those that were involved with the sexual abuse by the sarcedotal offices, I mean, and I wonder how they will ever recover? I pray for them too, they need our prayers. How many young souls have been twisted by this satan inspired work? Please pray for them.

    “…the gates of hell may not be able prevail against the church…” but Satan sure has put a tarnish on her glory in this century!

  • Holly Gatling

    Your Lenten penance for today is an odious penance indeed.

  • Ann

    The butler received a fair and open trial and justice was served.
    The subsequent report was never intended to be a “gotcha” activity. It was intended to help the Pope get a grasp of the situation from people who responded with honesty, knowing that their thoughts would remain private, between them and the Holy Father. Too many people are making the assumption that the report contains evidence of terrible, scandalous and sinful behavior. It’s probably much more boring than that. At worst, it likely reveals careerism, some petty rivalries, and the kind turf wars that exist in institutions where the “old guard” and “new guard” have to work together. At best, it shows that there are actually some people who are doing their jobs.
    The statement given after the Pope met with the 3 cardinals yesterday said:
    “His Holiness wished to thank them for their fruitful work, expressing satisfaction for the results of the investigation. In fact, their work made it possible to detect, given the limitations and imperfections of the human component of each institution, the generosity, honesty and dedication of those who work in the Holy See at the service of the mission entrusted by Christ to the Roman Pontiff.”

    I trust Benedict XVI’s judgment on this. He is not a liar and he is not afraid of truth. In fact, I am even a bit tickled that he annoyed all the right people by not giving in to outside pressures from people who have no clue about what is actually going on.

  • Old man

    I am sure there is merit to what you say. However it would be refreshing if some of these secret reports were made public. Our pastor said last Sunday that we should believe less than one percent of what the secular press prints about the Church. Less than one percent? He loses creditability with that statement.

  • Mary

    Yeah Old Man I agree, it would be nice to know ALL the dirt….but at some point it stops being Christian concern and starts to become nosy gossip. I think I am just about at that point myself. ;-)

    I found a neat site today and will use that as a place to put the worry energy I have been expending on those problems. I have aopted a cardinal! I am going to pray daily that the Holy Spirit guides him in the upcoming conclave and strengthens him body, mind and soul. My Cardinal is the Retired Cardinal of Spain.

  • AnneG

    Mary, I agree that the Church and especially those called by God to authority, are and should be held to a higher standard. The media, though has a peculiar bias that bigots like us in the Church, have no right to tolerance. We do not deserve it because of our nature. That’s why they ignore much worse, flagrant abuses by others in the media, entertainment and politics, etc. Those folks aren’t held to any standards because they have a right to toleration. Relativism.
    Thanks, Fr L. Very good.

  • Mary

    My adopted Cardinal, to pray for, is Carlos Amigo Vallejo OFM, Archbishop Emeritus of Saville Spain.

  • michael

    ” it is perfectly reasonable for the Pope to keep it confidential for now, just like any other CEO or top government official would hold sensitive information at crucial times, and perfectly reasonable that the new pope should have privileged access before anyone else does. ”

    I’m sorry but I did not mean to put words in your mouth. You said the Pope acted like any other CEO of a major corporation and chose to keep the report confidential yet the media is out for the story. The media is, for some reason, holding the Vatican to a higher standard than any other secular corporation and you seem to think that is unfair. Is that a fair interpretation of your words?

  • michael

    I’ve never been hurt by the Church, not a victim of abuse, except I’m of that age when as a child I heard all the hell and damnation sermons from the pulpit on Sunday’s. They don’t really do them now, but if you want to hear the type of sermons that gave me nightmares as a child, read Fr. Arnall’s sermon on hell in Portrait of the Artist by Joyce , or better still watch it. ( ).

    I just stopped believing in God and then realized I didn’t need a belief in God.

    Whether or not the young people that have been abused by the adults they trusted need our prayers I leave up to you and Fr. Longenecker, but we should, I hope, agree they need to be taken seriously, need our support, need objectivity in addressing their accusations.

  • Pat H

    “The second aspect is the inconsistency of the secular press. On the one hand they are busy sexualizing just about every aspect of society, encouraging every sort of behavior in the cause of “freedom”, but when it comes to Catholics they snort with righteous indignation at every sort of “inappropriate behavior”. ”

    That really is weird, isn’t it. On the one hand, the media celebrates every debilitating disorder of our natures as natural, and anyone who argues to the contrary is a bigot, but when Catholics, who have always maintained that the Church is full of sinners, fail to live up to the moral standards that we’re castigated for having, it’s a scandal.

    The real complaint is that we have standards. And that they’re the obvious natural standards.

  • Pat H

    I think that’s about right, actually.

    Predictions of the ultimate demise of the Church go back to literally the very creation of the Church. And claims that Catholics are full of secret vices have been popular at least since Nero blamed us for getting Rome burning. The media is always full of supposed scandal in the Church, when in reality every group of human beings has piles of bad conduct going on. And suggestions that a huge percentage of the Church is disaffected have always existed. Some are, of course, but most are not.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    In the Old Testament God many times purified his chosen people through the actions and attacks of Israel’s enemies. That seems to be what is happening today. Some in the Catholic hating media are obssessing on the (alleged or real) moral failings of a few Catholic clergy.
    But in the end the bad apples in the clergy wind up being gotten rid of. The damage bad priests have done to the Church and harm to the faith of Catholics has been great. One can only wonder how much more damage wouuld have been done behind the scenes if the termite work of evil men had continued.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    You may not need God, but maybe he needs you.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    You have confused the question. A reasonable level of confidentiality is proper for many reasons. There is nothing wrong with not publicizing an internal report of an organization. This is not a question of not meeting ‘higher standards’ It’s just common sense.

  • gilbs72

    Even in Jesus’ time, the apostles faltered, doubted and sinned. They were just twelve and a few more followers. The incidences cited by media today are better than I’d expect given the population of the clergy today and throughout the Church’s history. Yet, we forget the saints and martyrs that spread the gospel at the cost of their lives, the silent workers in orphanages and homes, Catholic schools and hospitals, Church missions in far flung and often dangerous places, and many youth groups that help others occasionally or permanently. The Church and all its attached organizations may likely be the largest global network of charities that is supported by donations (not taxes). For the few rotten apples, they put down the many who suffer and serve.

  • Ann

    My adopted cardinal is Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany…the successor of our dear Benedict XVI!!
    Thanks Mary!

  • Oregon Catholic

    Why all this throwing the baby out with the bathwater I read from Catholics turned atheists? Why reject God? Why not just reject the theologically bad version of hell and damnation you were sold? It drove me away from the Church and messed up my life too for many years.

    Maybe it’s the only way you knew how to cope at the time and get the constant thought you were going to hell out of your head – I get that. But I don’t think you actually believe it or you wouldn’t be hanging around reading and commenting on Catholic blogs. I think cradle-Catholicism gets in your marrow and never leaves and the believer-turned-atheist is constantly looking for a reason to start believing again even as they deny doing so.

    Once I was back at Church again and started studying as an adult (my spiritual development had arrested at about 3rd grade in catholic grade school when fear closed my mind to any learning) I was able by the grace of God to understand that hell isn’t a place Jesus sends us to, it’s a place we send ourselves to willingly and with full knowledge of what we are giving up by our choice. So you really don’t have to reject God in order to live without fear of hell because you know you can’t/won’t stop sinning and you wonder if you will get to your judgement and hear Jesus say “Over the lifetime sin limit – off to hell with you”. It will truly be your choice. But how you live your life here on earth is going to help you want to choose God – or not. Your choice, your free-will. Use it wisely.

  • u3

    In our society today we are called to ‘tolerate everything yet we forgive nothing.’ This is unjust and makes no sense. Yes, the liberal media are having a field-day with all of this. Case in point and to prove my statement just read this article on how the liberal media actually admits to being biased!! It is an excellent article and worthwhile read for anyone who claims the media isn’t out to crucify conservatives, orthodox, and most Catholics. And Fr. Dwight, if you have time, please read this as well…I think that you’ll really enjoy it as it proves my point. May the peace of Christ be in your hearts.

  • u3

    You are 100% correct! Just read this article below to see how the liberal media is biased.

  • michael

    Then that’s his problem not mine. Personally, a God that wants worship and praise, now, and eternally in the life to come has issues to deal with. As for myself I’d rather not be an enabler of such destructive and narcissistic behaviour.

    But truly there’s no evidence whatsoever that such a God, even one as jealous and inconsistent as the Christian God exists.

  • Michael

    Although in the OT many of those people who were alleged to be against the ancient Israelis ended up exterminated, particularly the Canaanites et al. who had the misfortune to inhabit the land and worship a different God and not practice the same morality as the ancient Israelis. (see Deuteronomy 20:16-18). Let’s hope modern day Christians do not get this idea into their heads as we atheists would be the modern equivalent of the ancient Caanatites.

  • u3

    Michael, it seems that Satan has succeeded in getting you to believe that you don’t need God in your life. In turn, the devil has won…don’t let him keep winning because he is very easy to defeat. This happens when people feel at ease about not needing God…the devil slowly lulls them into what seems like peace…but it’s all lies. I will pray for you that God may pour out his peace, love, and joy into your soul.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    One of the reasons the Jews were told to wipe out the pagan peoples is because of their abominable practices like cannibalism, infanticide and genocide. Kind of like going to war against the Nazis. Maybe it was justified. Saying they ‘did not practice the same morality’ as the Israelites is like saying the Nazis did not practice the same mmorality that we did. I guess not–considering Auschwitz.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    If that is your concept of God, then I am an atheist too because I also reject that kind of God. What you could do, of course, is move on from your rather sophomoric atheism and explore the whole subject at more depth.

  • Michael

    I feel much more at peace now without my God belief as I ever did with it. Do I now live a life of excess, debauchery and narcissism. Not at all. I can just concentrate on doing the right thing rather than having to worry about placating an unseen, inscrutable, distant God and work on helping the people I encounter in my daily life.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Satan is very happy for you to experience a feeling of peace.

  • Michael

    Shows how religion can justify anything. My morality would not tolerate the wiping out of a race of people, including children, but apparently yours will. Would the Allied powers have been justified in wiping out a the German nation to a person, every man, women and child? They were doing the same to the Jewish people.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Not that I’m justifying it, but we pretty much did wipe out our enemies–old people, women and children alike– with the A bomb and the bombing of Dresden didn’t we?

    Instead of making uninformed comments why not take the trouble to read up on the Catholic doctrine of the just war? You’ll see that I’m not justifying genocide. Our doctrine of just war forbids such a response and as it happens, condemns just about every war the USA has been involved in for the last fifty years.

    My point was not to justify genocide, but to show that the situation in the Old Testament was not simply “killing everyone because they happened to have different moral values.” The Jews were at war with enemies who were wicked, bellicose, cruel and heartless. The situation was therefore much more similar to our response to the Nazis.

    Of course you could say that WW2 was “just another example of Christians killing other Christians just because they held different moral principles.” That would be just as much of a travesty as the position you hold about the Old Testament.

  • Michael

    Come on Fr. Longenecker. There is no Satan, there is no hell just as there is no heaven. Just make this world the best we can, and help others the best we can. What more could any person, let alone any God we could invent, want? Scaring people with the devil just doesn’t work any more. They see the immorality of it.

  • Michael

    Yes we did with firebombing and the atomic bomb. Also in Vietnam with mass bombing of the north, plus Laos and Cambodia. But that was immoral. Modern Western secular morality has denounced the deliberate targeting of civilian populations.

    I know the Catholic doctrine of a just war and how it was used against the war in Iraq (both of them). It’s a pity more Catholic politicians weren’t called out for supporting it.

    Just as WWII targeting of civilian targets was wrong, eliminating an entire population is wrong as well. I never said WWII was Christians killing other Christians and non Christians, non believers took part (an Japan was Shinto then). Catholic just war theory would condemn the OT killings as well.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    If you had seen what I have seen you would not doubt the reality of Satan’s existence, and nothing pleases him more than a soul who does not believe in him.

  • MikeyM

    So, God ordered His chosen people to massacre pagan infants to prevent them from growing up to practice … infanticide?

  • Grimm

    This. Thank you, Ann.

    Thank you for this, Fr. L.

  • Michael

    Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church’s praise: “Glory to God in the highest!”

    “the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God.””

    There is a solidarity among all creatures arising from the fact that all have the same Creator and are all ordered to his glory: May you be praised, O Lord, in all your creatures, especially brother sun, by whom you give us light for the day; he is beautiful, radiating great splendor, and offering us a symbol of you, the Most High. . .

    May you be praised, my Lord, for sister water, who is very useful and humble, precious and chaste. . .
    May you be praised, my Lord, for sister earth, our mother, who bears and feeds us, and produces the variety of fruits and dappled flowers and grasses. . .
    Praise and bless my Lord, give thanks and serve him in all humility.212

    Creation was fashioned with a view to the sabbath and therefore for the worship and adoration of God. Worship is inscribed in the order of creation.215 As the rule of St. Benedict says, nothing should take precedence over “the work of God”, that is, solemn worship.216 This indicates the right order of human concerns.

    I have to agree with you, it is pretty sophomoric.

  • Michael

    I started commenting here due to some earlier anti-atheist posts by Fr. Longenecker that a priest friend of mine linked to. I was very much into Catholicism as an adult, reading each encyclical as they came out, all the documents of Vatican II, and even a book on Christianity written in the late 60′s by a German Bishop who’s been in the news lately.

    My choice in this life is not to choose one of the many Gods or religions offered to me, but to do good to others and to leave this world in a better place than when I found it. It’s not about me choosing the right God and gaining eternal life, or choosing the wrong God or no God and going to hell. Would you even want a God that would entertain such a notion.

    As for sin, I behave no different know than when I was a practicing Catholic, save for the worshiping and praying. It’s not a matter of stopping sinning, but starting living and realizing how truly important this one life we are assured of it. The rest is unfounded speculation.

  • Matsey

    i think the church has done much since its existence..its bad to describe the church by its negatives and its short comings, let the media talk of the good things the catholic church has done and doing,…homosexual priests are just a few of the majority who are active and keeping their celibacy…….we shouldnt emphasise only the negatives , the church is both human and divine …human in a sense that is composed of human beings who are limited, and divine because it is led by Jesus christ …….as human beings, we are limited and thus we do mistakes not majorly because want it that way, but we are weak beings, very much fragile…..

  • Mary

    Hell is being eternally outside the presence of God. This is something we ourselves choose. Praise of God is a natural thing and comes the same way breathing does. It simply is.

    Thank God I can breath; thank God I can praise Him! Not something one has to work at, you see. Just something that is. It is a tiny bit like a couple holding their newborn baby and looking into the babies eyes…click, they love! It is instinctual.

    Does Hell have devils and pitch forks? I dont know, but to be forever outside of God’s Presence would be more painful than any fire could be, it would make a poke from a demon seem minor.

  • Theodore Seeber

    “Yes, but deacons, priests, Bishops, Cardinals and popes are supposed to be held to a higher standard”

    I keep hearing this, but isn’t this the heresy of clericalism?

    Oh, and BTW, we do know what Cardinal O’Brian did. 30 years ago, in the midst of the sexual revolution, he made passes at a few of the priests under his authority. So basically, his inappropriate behavior was homosexual harassment at a time when everybody was into free love right before AIDS broke out.

  • Mary

    Theodore, it is Saint Paul who directs they are to be held to a higher standard….not me ;-)

  • FW Ken

    Of course it’s clericalism.

    Clergy are not held to a higher standard, but lead us, by example and word. Some fall and fail. Some priests should never have become priests and need to quit being priests.

    What us lay people need to do is love them, whether the love is “tough” or not. Over always been amazed at the relationships Catholics have with our priests. It can be unremittingly critical, but it can be incredibly sentimental.

  • Mary

    Oops I mean St. James (Jas 3:1)

  • Mary

    You might want to read the letters to Timothy and also Titus, where this subject is also addressed (by St. Paul)

  • Oregon Catholic

    “…rather than having to worry about placating an unseen, inscrutable, distant God ”

    That’s the crux of it isn’t it Michael? Just like me you were taught in a way that led you to believe that God wasn’t trustworthy. That you could do your best all your life and still find out you were going to hell because you had no idea where God’s goalposts were and how many ‘points’ it took to win heaven. Rest assured THAT God doesn’t exist and you don’t earn heaven by winning points for good behavior.

  • Lynda

    All objective good comes from God, who is objectively knowable by our reason. One cannot claim to know objective good (never mind adhere to it) and deny the existence of God – that is illogical, absurd. Without God, there can be no objective good, and therefore, it makes no sense to say one doesn’t believe in God but recognises and practices the good.

  • Michael

    I really don’t want a heaven and hell is immoral and there s no evidence that a God or Gods exist.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    It is understandable that one does not want such a thing as hell to exist. Isn’t that an example of the wishful thinking that atheists often blame believers for?

  • Oregon Catholic

    “I really don’t want a heaven and hell is immoral ….”

    God is infinitely merciful and for people who truly don’t want heaven there is a hell where they can spend eternity separated from the love of God. You are an eternal being and you have to exist somewhere and that’s why hell is there. It’s about mercy, not punishment. To force you into heaven against your free will would not be consistent with God.

    The punishment of hell is self-imposed and it will be hellish. You have no idea right now how much you are surrounded by God’s love and grace and how it sustains you and allows you to be capable of feeling love and joy. Hell is an absence of all of that – it is utter desolation and all you will have is you at your worst.