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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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Catholic Bytes

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“It is of course horrible and scandalous what some in the Church have done and utterly reprehensible, but I can’t get past the fact that despite all the failings of the clergy, that Jesus Christ’s love for us is real and I need to cling to it with all my strength,” said Father Conrad Murphy.  (CLICK the picture to read the article.)

CATHOLIC BYTES

6 Responses

  1. Father Joe: What you state is primarily what I was trying to express, although perhaps rather poorly. The RC Church has the vehicles available for eternal salvations; other denominations lack this or part of them. They embrace many of the fundamentals of the RC Church, but unfortunately, are on the outside looking in on much of what is needed to insure salvation. I am aware of this; I know many non Catholics who are good Christians however, and am confident they will be among the saved. My seminary training taught me this as well, but perhaps more on a conservantive level since I am older than you and influenced by the pre Vatican II Council Church, Nevertheless, the tenets are basically the same.
    Thank you for your reply.
    Raymond
    28March, St. John Capistran C

  2. I believe many Catholics have left the Church because of these on going scandals, and they find solace perhaps in other denomionations who teach many of the same tenets as the RC Church teachers. I also am aware that many of these beliefs were cherry picked by Luther, at al However, I recall good Sister Julia saying in grade school that all good people can go to heaven; those who cannot are those who deep down in their hearts feel the RC Church is the true Church but do not embrace this true Church. My blessed wife led a saintly life: she was a devout Methodist. I am sure she sits at Almignty God’s table. So, “Outside My Church there is no salvation” has qualifications.

    FATHER JOE:

    There is some truth to what you say although there are many important tenets of faith not shared by non-Catholic faith communities: the sacrifice of the Mass, the real presence of the Eucharist, the priestly power to forgive sins, the cooperative role of Mary, etc. There is also the Catholic teaching about the Church (the mystical body of Christ) as necessary for salvation. Thus, the status of someone raised outside the Catholic Church (who is ignorant of these truths) is very different from one raised within the Church. Catholics are held accountable to a higher standard since they have been given so much more. Everything necessary for salvation can be found in the Catholic Church. This is not true outside the Church. A shared faith and love for Jesus Christ is an insufficient reason to jump denominations.

    It is true that God can save whom he wills. The Catholic Church even prays for those outside her confession. However, we are not saved simply by being “good.” Such a view would make us the agents of salvation.

    Instead, it is a gift from God given by our response to his demands and the saving kerygma. Any “who believe that the Catholic Church is the true Church” must join if they are to be saved.

    However, most who remain outside the juridical Catholic Church do not wholly believe what Catholics believe— particularly about the institution of the Church and her role as the sacrament of salvation. Thus you are quite right for espousing hope toward our separated brethren who love the Lord and keep faith with Christ as best as they know how. As a seminarian, I took classes with Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist professors and students. We studied the important differences but also the many elements that make us true Christians (starting with faith and baptism).

  3. Dear James and Raymond,
    I too have been deeply angered and very hurt by the behavior of some of the clergy in the Church. I am even more angry at our bishops in this round of discovery than I was with the priest crises in 2002. But I will never leave because I know that I must separate, as difficult as that might be, a bunch of fallen sinners from the truth that can only be found in the Church Christ created. Their behavior doesn’t change that truth.

    Our faith is not based on men and woman but on the supernatural Church that Christ left us. We live in a fallen world that is getting worse almost daily. What is happening in the Catholic Faith is happening everywhere, most recently with the Baptists releasing info on more than 700 abusers in the ministry. The school system is no better. This isn’t an attempt to excuse anything, but rather add context to where we stand in our society.

    Those that place their faith in men will ALWAYS be disappointed. Our faith belongs to our Lord alone. His truth doesn’t change based on a bunch of sinful behavior because the Lord doesn’t change. I believe that He is pruning His church and this includes the clergy and well as many of those in the pews. After spending years away from the Catholic Church I came to the realization that if you proclaim to be a Christian there is only one place where the complete truth is found. Not only the complete truth but the sacraments too. Overlooked in all of this is that the vast majority (by far) of men in the priesthood are holy, committed to their vocation, and rejoice in their celibacy. They need our prayers now more than ever as they are carrying a heavy burden right now.
    Lastly, I have had to look in the mirror and ask myself the question, is my faith based in men or in the Lord’s Church? Am I just using this as an excuse to cover for my own loss of faith? Yes, my anger is just, and my sadness is deep, but there is simply no where else to go.

  4. I truly understand the rationale given here for staying with the Church throughout this horrendous scandal, but believe most of this reasoning can also be found in other denominations.
    Let me state here that I am a practing Catholic, born and reared in the Church and trained for some time in the seminary.

  5. The above comment is exactly right. The whole mixture of events has made the Church a toxic environment – in the words of St Paul, “a ministry of death”. So why would people want to stay in it ? Appealing to people’s loyalty is not good enough.

    FATHER JOE:

    The ultimate and real ministry of the Church is always the proclamation and the living out of the Gospel of Life. Jesus had his Judas and the Church today has hers. However, the Catholic Church is still the house that Jesus built. We receive salvation truth and sanctifying life through faith and the sacraments. Our response must be that of Peter when our Lord sadly acknowledged those who walked away because they refused to accept the teaching of the Eucharist. Jesus asked his apostles, “Are you going to leave me, too?” Peter, sometimes weak and sometimes strong, responded, “Where would we go, you have the words of eternal life?” This is a dark time for those of us who love the Church, care about our families and cherish the truth. Our prayers have us weeping with heaven. But we do not cut and run. If all should forsake the Lord, each of us would still be called to fidelity. This Lent we can truly appreciate divine summons, “Take up your cross and follow me.”

    35 missionary priests were killed last year. This does not count the many local or indigenous clergy who were murdered. Did anyone see headlines about this? Please do not define the priesthood by the current scandals. We have many holy men who are following Christ and laying down their lives to share the healing and mercy of the Good News.

  6. Unfortunately, especially for Holy Mother Church, many victims as well as non victims, find this repugnant and leave this environment just as an abused child, wife or even husband are encouraged by counseling or even the law, to leave this abhorrent and dangerous situation.

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