Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Sonja Corbitt

2/27/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Scandal, scandal everywhere. As, then, Cardinal Ratzinger prayed, [The] Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side

"Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers." When the Church seems like a boat about to sink, like a boat taking in water on all sides, there is safety in obedience, and it is the measure and mark of the Saints.

Highlights

By Sonja Corbitt

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/27/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: faith, clergy, scandal, misconduct, authority, obedience, justice, Sonja Corbitt


NASHVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - Priest, deacon, bishop, parent, or god-parent, whether serious or minor in comparison, sin makes us doubt their leadership. We question their legitimacy to guide. We question their Catholicism, their holiness, their credibility. We question the Church. We question everything.

Scandal, scandal everywhere. As, then, Cardinal Ratzinger prayed, "[The] Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion." (Cardinal Ratzinger's Meditations for the Stations of the Cross, Prayer at Ninth Station).

"Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers" (CCC 675). A sign of the times, even orthodox Catholics grow anxious and faint while the enemy - in seemingly too many forms to fight - surges and exalts within the ranks.

What better way to "deceive even the elect" (Matt. 24:24) than to cast doubt on the leadership? "All of you will be scandalized...for it is written, 'Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter'" (Matt. 26:31). The sheep race in every direction, terrorized into fleeing the safety of the flock so they are easily devoured.

"Be sober. Be watchful. For your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Pet. 5:8).

What is our duty when the sin of our fathers and leaders is on full display, when we are sick with grief over their real or perceived falls from grace, when we are subject to a disappointing or even treacherous leader who raises questions of legitimacy in our hearts?

Deceiving ourselves into thinking we are fully on the side of purity and truth, their sins often draw forth self-righteousness from us. They provoke us to division, to a lack of charity and to gossip, when we are, instead, instructed to pray fervently: "He that knows his brother to sin a sin which is not to death, let him ask: and life shall be given to him who sins not unto death" (1John 5:16). 

The temptation is, like Martin Luther, to abandon ship and do our own thing, to stop discerning the Providence and direction of God through the authority, or to place our orthodoxy above our obedience. According to the Saints, this is a grave mistake. To do this is to follow the false doctrine of Satan, whose sin was rebellion.

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves" (Rom. 13:1-2).

Obedience is the measure and mark of the Saints. When there is sin in the ranks of the authorities we are instructed, "[I]f your brother offends you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the Church" (18:15-17). As far up the hierarchy as is appropriate and necessary, we can avail ourselves of the authority of the Church.

And then? The Lord has providentially spoken. Sit down in sackcloth and ashes. Shut your mouth. Pray. And wait on God's deliverance. Jesus was led like a lamb to the slaughter by the hierarchy of his faith, yet "He opened not His mouth" (Is. 53:7). He obeyed unto death, "even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:8). Why? Because they occupied the position of legitimate authority, even in their sin.

Don't stone me. I didn't say it. Jesus did:

"The scribes and Pharisees sit on the Chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach and do not practice" (Matt. 23:1-3). Until they have been legitimately removed, they are legitimately in authority. We are commanded to obey legitimately placed leaders and submit to them, for they are responsible for our souls and will have to give an account to God for those under their leadership (Heb. 13:17).

Look, my whole life has been one loooong, painful instruction in authority and obedience (see Healing the Father Wound. I know this is difficult. But what is faith, if not this? We worry we will be treated unjustly and abandoned. Do we not trust God will provide for and deliver us? We worry that others will be led astray. Do we think God does not care for those? We worry the sin of our leaders will scandalize others. Do we not trust that God leads His Church, and that He can and will remove "bad" leaders when and if the time is right?

It's not that we mustn't do anything at all; we have a duty to work for justice. But in working for justice, we must be very careful that we follow the structure and method God has laid out.

"Take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men...keep away from them and let them alone; for if this plan or work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it--lest you be found to fight against God" (Acts 5:35-39).

"We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel, between Christ and Antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence.It is therefore, in God's Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously" (On the Present Age, John Paul II).

In the meantime, there are many radiantly faithful clergy, and a glorious batch of faithful seminarians in the works; we must pray them through the danger they will surely one day encounter.

But most of us are laity, and in the shadow of this time of widespread, fading clerical influence, John Paul II prophetically said, "...the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council marked a decisive turning-point. With the Council the hour of the laity truly struck, and many lay faithful, men and women, more clearly understood their Christian vocation, which by its very nature is a vocation to the apostolate" (Jubliee of the Apostolate of the Laity).

We are called, within our sphere of influence and the bounds of authority, to work in apostolate for justice, and it has never been more important that we do so: 

"The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all" (Cardinal Ratzinger's Meditations for the Stations of the Cross, Prayer at Ninth Station).

This is our Church, and come sin and hell and scandal, anti-pope, antichrist, or personal faults and failings, "the gates of hell will not prevail against her." THANKS BE TO GOD!
-----

Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic speaker, Scriptural evangelist, and a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit pursuingthesummit.com to book Sonja for your next great event, or to order her CDs or 10-week, DVD-driven Bible study Soul of the World on the Old Testament tabernacle as prototype of the soul and Church.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More U.S.

On the Memorial of St. Bernard: Lord, Send Us Monks for This New Missionary Age! Watch

Image of Bernard, Monk, Abbot, Doctor of the Church, and Model of the Christian life and vocation. - Monasteries are a seedbed of the great renewals of the Catholic Church. Monks are prophetic seeds of the kingdom who always seem to be around right when we need them the most. We need Monks for the authentic renewal of the Church in this hour. Lord, send your Holy Spirit, send us monks for the renewal of your Church and the work of this new missionary age.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Even though he was regularly summoned to leave the monastery by the needs of Church and State, Bernard was above all a monk, a man of deep prayer, communion and contemplation. It was that sincere devotion which made it possible for him to have wisdom to offer the ... continue reading


So this is where school money goes?! Watch

Image of A new study shows that massive amounts of funding go to non-teacher staff in schools, which has little impact on education quality.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Non-teacher employees make up 50% of public school employees, a number which has grown 130% since 1970, a new study claims. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found ... continue reading


Romney weighs in: Obama is doing 'a good deal worse than even I expected' Watch

Image of Mitt Romney called President Obama out over numerous failures in the six years he has been in office during a West Virginia political rally.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney made quite a scene as he attended a West Virginia rally for three Republican Congressional candidates who are up for election in November. Crowds cheered "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!" as he spoke. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Money is NOT the Root of Evil. Learning to Live Evangelical Simplicity in an Age of Idolatry Watch

Image of Simplicity is not about the quantity of the goods of the earth we possess. It is about our relationship to them. Jesus said - Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21).

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Learning to live in evangelical Simplicity strips away what impedes love. In finding our proper relationship to the goods of the earth- not rejecting them, craving them, or turning them into an idol- we can learn true freedom. Our eyes are opened and everything begins ... continue reading


STUPID: Political analyst says indictment of Texas governor is 'the stupidest thing I've ever seen' Watch

Image of A video taken inside the jail after her arrest shows an aggressive, uncooperative Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg under restraint.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Calling it "potentially was the stupidest thing I've seen, I think, in my entire career," MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin says the indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry on two felony counts of abusing his power is asinine. "I hope some judge throws it ... continue reading


Persecution: W. W. Bridal Shop Forced Out of Business Because the Owners Are Faithful Christians Watch

Image of W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania is being forced out of business because its owners are faithful Christians who believe that marriage is solely between one man and one woman.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In the first two centuries of Christianity, as the early Christians sought to serve in the broader Roman society by engaging in all suitable occupations, some occupations had to be avoided. To practice them would require them to violate their faith. As some other ... continue reading


Obama denounced as 'greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation' Watch

Image of In the face of incarceration that could arrive this year, James Risen has resorted to journalistic defiance.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Denouncing U.S. President Barack Obama as "the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation," New York Times reporter James Risen now faces jail time over his refusal to reveal a source. Risen also refuses to testify against a former CIA agent accused of ... continue reading


Rick Perry on potential indictment: 'I stood up for the rule of law' Watch

Image of Texas Governor Rick Perry is fighting back against an abuse of power indictment leveled against him by Democrats.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On an August 17 interview with "Fox News Sunday" Texas Governor Rick Perry insists that a grand jury indictment, which alleges that he abused his office and attempted to coerce an elected official, is unjustified. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The indictment ... continue reading


SOBERING THOUGHT: Only 11 nations on Earth NOT at war currently Watch

Image of The world in general has been getting incrementally less peaceful every year since 2007. This has bucked a trend that had seen a global move away from conflict since the end of the Second World War.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The news has been bleak as of late: A standoff in Ukraine, shelling in Gaza and Islamic State making a hash of Iraq and Syria. A think tank has some sobering news for the casual observer; as of late ONLY 11 nations are not currently at war. It's a distressing ... continue reading


Sheriff deputy plows into, kills two pedestrians, gets no jail time and may keep his job! Watch

Image of A Kern County Sheriff's deputy may return to the streets following a plea deal for community service, despite killing two pedestrians.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A former sheriff will spend no time behind bars as a result of a plea deal, although he struck and killed two pedestrians while on duty. Locals are blasting the deal as a failure of the justice system. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Although national attention is ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 34:1-11
1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
1 [Psalm Of David] Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16
1 'Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 20th, 2014 Image

St. Bernard of Clairvaux
August 20: St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church St. Bernard was born ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter