Trust and Doubt: Our Endless Dichotomy

Yet Christ Himself called Judas, and we must take comfort in that.

As Catholics, we should not deny the existence of our Judases, nor should we seek to lessen or expunge the evils they have committed in the eyes of the world. Our doubt is not a failing on our part; it is the consequence of the failings of another. But we must be careful and clear about what exactly (and Whom) we are doubting. Our Church (and its hierarchy) is made up of humans as prone to sinful actions as are we.  Yet we must remember that, no matter how clearly we are shown the clay-footed reality of our clerics, we are not members of our Church because of them. We are part of an institution we believe to be founded and guided by God Himself, no matter how human (and inhuman) His instruments.

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman has said, "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt." We must strain and struggle to remember that distinction, particularly in times like these. The dichotomy between the mistrust we now feel in our fellow humans and the trust we must always have in the strength and omniscient power of the Divine Comforter has never been clearer for those of our generation. But remembering that they are but two sides of the same coin should give us hope in the face of our advancing fears.

As John Donne wrote, "Despair is the damp of hell." It is only by recognizing that God knows of and grieves for our loss of innocence, and believing that His Church will overcome this great threat (as it has survived every grave threat throughout its history), that we will avoid the damp clutches of despair. No matter how we are dragged down by our own sins and the failings of those around us, our Shelter and Bulwark is always there, as unfailing as ever.

2/4/2011 5:00:00 AM
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    About Joseph Susanka
    Joseph Susanka has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since his graduation from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. He blogs at Crisis Magazine, where he also contributes feature articles on a variety of topics.