Scandals, scandals, scandals..
they’re never over and done.
In the beginning and midway
–we’re always at Square One.
That’s the toughest part of being a Roman Catholic publicly. Scandals. Yet, when haven’t we had them? When in these 2000+ years haven’t we had them?
The Heart of the Church is so amazing, one is almost incredulous that especially one ordained or consecrated could allow him- or herself to profane anything about this furnace of love Who never gives up on us, Who willingly took our place, Who paid our terrible debt, and Who bides with us while He waits.
And yet, even we lay non-molesters/abusers do exactly that. And yet, no one holds a priest’s or pope’s feet closer to the fire of human judgment than do we! We conveniently forget that the Lord handed off His church to Simon barJona. Simon Peter — really?? Why not the deeply contemplative John the Evangelist? Why Peter the laborer — someone so steeped in human weaknesses that we can identify with him immediately? Did I just answer my own question? What is it about Peter’s example we are to follow? A contrite heart. The will to love the Lord rightly. Peter’s own never giving up on the Lord, ‘though he give up on himself a hundred times!
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. The spirit is willing to trust the Paraclete, but the flesh says, “The Pope is too weak! Imperfect! He’s wrong. What’s he DOING??”
Or, yes: different but real scandal.
I myself am not a fan of Pius X, never have been, probably won’t be until my soul understands with all its faculties exactly why he has been declared a saint. Meanwhile, I am to trust the Church on this. If that means I have to keep my mouth shut about him so as to not sin against the Holy Spirit, and so as to not give scandal to the Bride of Christ, that is what I must and will do.
The same should apply to all the Popes, especially the living one(s). There are some who think Francis is profaning the Church. (As if any one of them might replace him, as if any of them could fix “this mess” as they call it.) They will harm no one by keeping quiet about him, as I do about Pius. It will serve to bless the Church we all profess to love. Our terrible words expose only our own human weaknesses.
Part of every indulgence requires prayer for the Pope’s intentions. There is a very Roman Catholic reason for that, and it will never change! Does anyone really believe that the (any!) Pope’s deepest intentions could be evil? If so, he or she should bring it to the confessional asap. Meanwhile, let’s just hush and do our own best. To love. To keep our eyes on the Prize.
At the height of the scandal in Boston a number of years ago, I read reports of how even Protestant ministers were converting to Catholic (laity). That’s not easy — their congregations supported them financially, and now, they will have to find work no matter what age or skill sets. Right in the middle of raising families! What courage. What great understanding they have of the Heart. And what trust in the Paraclete, yes, Who reminds us of every word Jesus said — and of every healing we are to know of.
A few Sundays ago, I was at Mass at a (personally unbeloved) parish church, here. It pretty much drives me around the bend, but Mass is Mass. I put away my preferences, because I am as sincere a Catholic as I can or must be. Wouldn’t you know, though, that it was there that He showed me something that erased all stupid boundaries? O, He does that often, if our eyes and ears are open.
In this church that is finally becoming one of color (Rwandans, Chinese, Indians), I have seen much that touched me. How the Rwandan women sometimes dress in their native celebratory clothes and headwear; how the Chinese cherish their old granny and will never be without her; how the Indians love their little children so much.
It happened at the Consecration, here in the midst of more clerical scandal. I’d seen it before, and somehow had forgotten! The Indian husband and wife in front of me, beautifully dressed as if in India, removed their shoes. From my kneeler, I saw their bare feet under the pew. Indeed, they were on holy ground! What courage it takes (anyone) to convert, and not least of all to something so colorless and staid — until they come! It made me cry, oh, in a good way.. in a very good way.