Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Church is Full of Sinners: This is not new.

Let’s see now: we’ve got a Sunday night series on one of the most corrupt and tawdry families in Church history, the Borgias, with popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests, all part of this big, happy family; we’ve heard non-stop for a decade about abusive priests, (albeit a small minority) and lax bishops who reassigned them; we’ve got front page stories of priests who embezzled money from their parishes; and I saw one not long ago about a priest arrested for DUI.

Yes, all this is scandalous, sinful, sickening, and criminal.

But, it is not new.

Popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, nuns, brothers are human.

That means, we are sinners.

Granted, when one of us falls, it hurts and shocks more. People rightly expect their spiritual leaders to practice what we preach. When we don’t, we’re hypocrites. And we know what Jesus thought about hypocrites.

But, this is not new.

If you think it worse today than in the past, I ask you to consider the solemn days we will observe next week, Holy Week: Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

Within an hour or so after Jesus had ordained His very first bishops and priests — the twelve apostles — what happened? They fell asleep when He asked them to pray with Him; one betrayed Him for thirty silver coins; one — the first Pope — denied three times even knowing Him; and all but one, the youngest, ran away scared at the time He most needed them. That lonely loyal one, St. John, was there with our blessed Mother at the foot of the cross on a hill called Calvary on a Friday strangely called “good.”

Not a very good start for bishops and priests. Within a few hours after their ordination, 11/12 had abandoned Him. That’s a worse record than even the Mets!
Archbishop Dolan hits one out of the park ... and this is just the beginning of the article. Go read it all.


  1. This post hits the nail on the head. I've been noticing the previews of the new TV show, "the Borgias" and it makes me cringe a little.

    I had our 3rd & 4th grade CCD students act out Holy Thursday and Good Friday. How sad they fell asleep when He asked them to pray. How sad they betrayed Him.

    So I love the point of this post,

    "The point is that, if the life, vigor, holiness, and efficacy of the Church depended only upon the virtue of priests and bishops, it would have been dead-on-arrival, not surviving that afternoon when the sun hid in shame and the earth shuddered in sadness.

    Our faith is not in popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, or even in monsignors. Nope: our faith is only in Jesus."


  2. Julie- I am currently reading "Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal Building St Peter's," by R.A. Scotti. She writes:

    "Looking back across centuries of checkered history,across the lapses in Christianity and compassion, across the bloody Crusades and the Inquisition, it seems more than happenstance that, of his twelve apostles, Christ chose Peter to lead his new church. Simp Peter, so clearly flawed, seemed to be the least among the disciples. He lacked the poetry of John, the curiosity of Thomas, even the boldness of Judas. He was one of us. He was ignorant, impulsive, boastful. He shared our ebullience and our errors. He was the first to swear his undying faith, and the first to fail...On the shoulders of this empathetic, eminently fallible man, Christ placed the future of the Church, and the humanity of Peter, that uneasy balance of sinner and saint, has sullied and sustained his Church ever since. A communion of sinners who would be saints, led by the most mortal of men-- such is the enduring strength of the Roman Catholic Church."

    I don't think I've ever read a description of what the Church is.

    Comment by Susan Vigilante, but made on the wrong post maybe? I moved it here.

  3. You need to add share links. I'd like to attach this to my twitter. I have a few atheists I want to show this too. And I mean Richard Dawkins atheists.

  4. Hi John, believe me I have tried and for some reason they won't show up on my darned blog posts when they are published.

    The best I could come up with, is if you have that particular chosen, then check the top right on the Blogger Navbar. There those buttons are!


  5. Susan, here is what has served me many years as a "definition" of the Church. Don't know if it speaks to you but it does to me!

  6. With Holy Week approaching I find myself looking to keep away from the news because it is really just the gossip of other people's business which I love to hear but pay for in unsettled nerves and irritation spiritually. We are all the prodigal sons and daughters that recieve grace from our Father.

    I do better in the back yard, as you can see by my link below...



  7. Dave, you didn't leave a link below but if narrowing your gaze to the church at home doesn't leave you ever unsettled by this "hospital for sinners" then you are one of a rare breed.