Hypocritical Clergy Shut the Door of the Kingdom of Heaven in People’s Faces

Hypocritical Clergy Shut the Door of the Kingdom of Heaven in People’s Faces May 20, 2015
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kristian Bjornard https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjornmeansbear/
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kristian Bjornard https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjornmeansbear/

My colleague, Linda LaScola writes a blog over on the Atheist Channel. The focus of her blog is fallen clergy, specifically, Christian clergy who have become atheist.

Quite a number of the posts she writes are about clergy who have become atheist, but continue to keep their jobs as Christian clergy. Ms LaScola and her fellow atheists like this sort of thing, because these guys and gals are worms, eating into the wood of Christianity from the inside.

They are also liars, phonies and charlatans.

This is how Ms LaScola summarized the situation in a promo line she put on one of her recent blog posts:

“…there are clergy who are purposely or inadvertently discouraging their parishioners from holding some of the foundational beliefs of their religion. They no longer believe themselves, so are not very convincing when conveying religious beliefs. In some cases they are not even trying.” 

Odd as this may sound, my response to Ms LaScola’s comment, as well as her headline “Clergy Fuel Flight From Religion,” is Amen sister. You are telling the truth.

Of course, Ms LaScola supports these phoney baloney lying preachers, as, so far as I can see, do the rest of her fellow Atheist bloggers. A good bit of atheist carrying on is based on flat-out lying. The rash of atheists going in to Catholic Churches and pretending to be worshippers in order to gain access to a consecrated Host that they then filmed themselves desecrating is a case in point.

Clergy who lie to their parishioners and misrepresent themselves in order to gain a trust and followership they do not deserve take this lying to a whole new level. They use their position to lead trusting people away from where the people themselves expect to be led. The only place where these folks and their pathological behavior are heroes is among those who hate Christianity.

However, the fact remains that a good number of our clergy do a number on the faith. They are one of the reasons that so many people are leaving the Church.

First, they don’t preach Christ. They don’t share Christ. They don’t even believe in Christ. The Christ-less-Cross-less Christianity they offer is not Christianity at all.

Second, they actively attack the consistent, and up until about a decade ago, universal teachings of Christianity. They work against the faith and try — with success — to scatter the flock. They align themselves publicly with people who have repeatedly stated in public and in writing that their goal is the destruction of Christianity. They support limitations on the First Amendment as a means of attacking their fellow Christians. They join in with the mockery, ridicule, hazing and bashing of their fellow Christians.

Some of these people are just weak-minded thought-bots who suffer from an overdose of narcissism and hubris. They are often highly educated in that they possess many earned degrees. But they are people who do not have a center. They behave like baby ducks imprinting on whatever is the new intellectual trendy. They are spiteful and sarcastic, but there’s no spine. They are weak all through.

A good number of the others are in fact the venal liars that they appear to be. They “come out” to atheists blog sites such as Ms LaScola’s and receive praise, support and sympathy for their “plight” of being an atheist who is supposedly trapped inside the clergy.

This claim is, of course, another of their lies. They are not “trapped” in the clergy.

Nothing and nobody is making these folks stay in their cushy jobs. They could stop lying, leave the clergy and live lives consistent with their true beliefs any time they wanted. They hang on because they like the unearned respect that people give clergy and, if they are part of one of the major denominations, they also like the easy pay, free housing, health insurance and retirement.

It’s a good life, being a lying, two-faced phoney preacher. You can be treated like a cult hero by Christian bashers; their very own boy. At the same time, you get to be a pretend man or woman of God with all the kudos that go with that.

Sweet.

The Catholic Church is not immune to this problem of phoney clergy. We’ve got quite a few of them. Here are a few cases in point:

Priests are bucking the Catholic Church leadership to support gay marriage in Ireland. 

Archbishop Orders Minnesota Priests to Support or Stay Silent on Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

Father Bob Pierson, Gay Priest, on Why Catholics Should Support Gay Marriage

Md Catholic Priest Defends Gay Marriage Before Congregation Despite Opposition

Georgetown University Caves to HHS Mandate

I could go on, but it gets repetitive. The point I’m making is the same one I made in an earlier post. There are reasons for the decline of affiliation with Christian denominations and the rise of nones that we’ve seen in recent polls.

Christian bashing is one of those reasons. I’ve written quite a few posts talking about that. Now, I think it’s time we talk about fallen clergy. I absolutely do not mean the stalwart souls who preach the Gospel, care for their parishioners and do all they can to follow Christ. I do not want to pick these good men apart or criticize them. I’m grateful to them.

I have been blessed with true pastors with a genuine heart for God ever since I converted to the Catholic Church. The one phoney pastor I had in my entire life was years ago when I was an Episcopalian. This guy actually bragged about destroying people’s faith.

I also do not want to talk about the honest doubters who are struggling with their faith, or the equally honest men and women who leave the clergy because they no longer believe what the Church teaches.

This discussion is about those who wear the collar under false pretenses and actively work to undermine the body of Christ by leading God’s people away from the Way. I have nothing good to say about these people.

They are today’s version of the people Jesus was talking about when He said,

What sorrow awaits you, teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter, either. 

 

"I didn't state that very well, sorry. Nothing wrong with the link, I just couldn't ..."

The Fallout: How to Help Women ..."
"You don't remember Lyndon Johnson doing any such thing because he didn't do any such ..."

Dr Christine Ford in Hiding Because ..."
"I haven't had the opportunity to read the FBI investigation. I'm not in the habit ..."

The Fallout: How to Help Women ..."
"Was there something wrong with the link?"

The Fallout: How to Help Women ..."

Browse Our Archives

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Catholic
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment

28 responses to “Hypocritical Clergy Shut the Door of the Kingdom of Heaven in People’s Faces”

  1. Count one non-theist who doesn’t hold up these clergy as heroes.

    It is the nature of the job to proclaim the faith. I have nothing but respect for those who tender their resignations if or when they are not able to do so. I can also respect those who are able to teach the faith, even if they do not fully believe it or amidst doubt.

    But to remain in such a position with the express intent of misrepresenting or attacking the faith is, quite simply, a failure to perform the duties of the job.

    From another angle, I also want people to be true to themselves. If you are a Catholic, it behooves you to know and understand what the Catholic Church believes. If you’re a Muslim, you should know what Islam teaches. If you’re an atheist, well, there’s no “formal teaching” of atheism — but I don’t want misinformed atheists any more than I want misinformed Catholics or Muslims.

    And from that perspective, clergy who aren’t honest about what they are teaching and why don’t serve anybody well.

  2. You could add in faux “Catholyc” Universities. They seem to enjoy destroying he faith of students who pay a lot of money to be there.

  3. Did I read the article wrong? I followed the link to the article about the Minnesota archbishop who told priests to support or stay silent on anti-gay marriage ban and understood from it that the Archbishop told priests to support the ban on gay-marriage and if they disagreed with the Church’s teaching about marriage then that’s when they should remain silent and bring it up with him personally. That sounds like someone upholding Church teaching, not sabotaging it. But again, did I read it wrong?

  4. I am not sure how to put this… but is this really what you think?

    “Nothing and nobody is making these folks stay in their cushy jobs. They could stop lying, leave the clergy and live lives consistent with their true beliefs any time they wanted. They hang on because they like the unearned respect that people give clergy and, if they are part of one of the major denominations, they also like the easy pay, free housing, health insurance and retirement.”

    I would argue that it is the christians themselves who are “making these folks stay in their cushy jobs”. And that the focus is not to keep the respect/benefits but rather to avoid the cost many christian extract from those who leave. It is in this sense that these clergy are “trapped”.

    For many of these people (not all) their entire life was built around their position as a member of the clergy. This includes their family, friends, community (basically their entire support network) and even their job. What this ultimately means is that when they walk away, they walk away with nothing.

    Worst case (and not all that unlikely) scenario:
    Their former community would want nothing to do them them.
    Their friends would cease to consider themselves that.
    Family would leave them claiming they are no longer the same person they were.
    -(Note: And in all this it would be the former clergy who would be seen as the betrayer, rather than the other way around)
    Job finding would be difficult/near impossible due to lack of skill among other problems.

    Faced with this, what would you do? Walk away and endure the hardships as people you once helped begin to tear apart your world for something you cannot control, or endure and try to find a different message from the bible to give to the people that is more compatible with you?

    • They’re liars. Shams. Phonies. Etc. Etc. Etc.

      They are also deliberately doing great harm to the people they have promised they would do good too.

      Put your violin away. The people who deserve sympathy are their victims, which is to say their parishioners.

      I faced this and quite a bit worse when I switched from a prominent pro choice advocate (former state state director of NARAL and committed pro choice legislator) to be pro life.

      Faced with this, what DID I do? What these folks should do.

      • But is their parishioners who force them into becoming that.

        The solution is obvious, do not make them trapped. You roll out the red carpet when someone wants to become a christian, roll out another when they want to leave. Let them know you support and understand that this was not a decision they made on the spur of the moment. That when all their former christian friends, family and community shun them you will not, you will still be their friend, and you will not just stay there waiting for a moment of weakness to pull them back. Shun the christian who do abandon such people, and encourage your fellows to do the same.

        • No one forces them into doing anything.

          People leave the Church all the time, including clergy. These guys are opportunistic jerks who want it both ways. A good many of them are also deliberately and dishonestly using their positions as trusted clergy to mislead and lie to people.

          Theirs is a position of leadership. Certain responsibilities, including authenticity of purpose, come with that. Anything else is corrupt.

          You are bending over backwards for no reason whatsoever. Maybe you should like at your own group and how they treat people who become Christians. I can tell you stories all day long about that one.

          • Perhaps force was the wrong word to use. Coerce may be a more accurate verb to use in this context. My apologies on that front.

            Indeed, many do leave the church. More power to them for having the strength to give up so much of their lives. Not all are that strong, and you seem to be throwing the weak in with the malicious. You also seem to be throwing in those who are re-interpreting the bible into this group as well (as demonstrated by all the links). Are their people who deliberately and dishonestly use their position of influence to lie and mislead people? Of course, this is true of ANY organization.

            Again, if you do not like these people in the position of leadership, then provide a way for them to get out that will not cost them everything they hold dear. The Clergy project helps with this process but they are a relatively new organization so they do not have the resources of say something like the church. Could not the Catholic church develop a program the help former clergy build new lives independent of them?

            I am not bending over backwards for no reason, I am simply showing that there are individuals who are genuinely trapped in the clergy. It seems to me we can both agree we want these people out of the clergy (me for the sake of the clergy, you for the sake of the parishioners), but you seem to be ignoring the cost and just telling them to suck it up an leave, while I want to set up a system to help them.

            This last part was uncalled for “Maybe you should like at your own group and how they treat people who become Christians. I can tell you stories all day long about that one”. First I have never once indicated my group, so unless you ask me you cannot make this accusation. Second, assuming you are indicating I am an atheist, then at best your stories would be an even trade. Third, this treatment is often in retaliation. If one of my friends would return to being christian I would have no problem with this. My problem would begin if they created one way conversations where any disagreement became an attack. My problem would be if they began to try an convert me when I clearly expressed that I found their version of religion lacking. My problem would be when they began to attempt to enshrine those beliefs into law or hurt others with them (regardless of intent).

            • Nobody is “trapped” in the clergy. There are a lot of names you could call these people, but “victim” isn’t one of them. They are victimizers. Not victims.

    • This is true to some extent, which is why the Coming Home Network exists to help Protestant pastors who convert to Catholicism.

      Do atheists offer the same support to converts to their cause?

      • I see you often enough on these blogs to know better than to even try to engage you in conversation. I am far too inexperienced in these kind of debates and fear you would make me hit my frustration levels in moments. Instead, I will leave this link, and wish you a wonderful day.

        http://clergyproject.org/

        • I’m going to butt in here to say that this link makes my point with this post. It shows that this is an organized deception being foisted on many trusting people. It’s a tactic and a method of destroying Christianity from within by liars and phonies posing as men and women of God and deliberately misleading their parishioners.

          I’d seen this link before, but lost it. It’s good to find it again.

    • Living a life of integrity always carries a cost.

      But the cost for honest people who leave the faith is always lower than the cost for dishonest people who stay and lie and take advantage of the community. And honestly, if a community would punish for losing the faith, then losing them is not really losing much of value.

      • “And honestly, if a community would punish for losing the faith, then losing them is not really losing much of value” – This statement throws a rather large portion of the christian community under the bus. Also, you bring up an interesting point. I have been focusing on the consequences of leaving, when I should have also considered reasons for staying. If these clergy do truly value their community, then working to change their community for the better would be an act of love and sacrifice, rather than one of dishonesty and deceit.

        • First, you say that the liars and deceivers’ victims are the ones to blame for their actions. Now, you claim that lying and deceit are a good thing.

          How much more rope do you want?

        • I don’t think it does. I’ve known a lot of people who have left the faith and very few of the have been “punished” for their loss of faith. Usually animosity is born of a parting middle finger. Sure, there’s often an estrangement to some degree or another, but that’s hardly surprising considering one member in the relationship has relinquished the primary point of commonality. When I see punishment or shunning, it is usually not from catholic communities, but rather more fundamentalist or insular ones.

          Working to change a community could be seen as an act of love, unless the means are lies and deceit. The clergy who stay clergy despite their loss of faith are abusing their relationships and positions. That can never be an act of love or sacrifice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.