She will survive
The Catholic Church has been through this before and survived, and she will again. If papal mistresses, murders, excessive greed and gross immorality in centuries past didn’t bring her down, neither will these latest scandals. I have mixed feelings about that.
I was raised Catholic and still have dear family members and friends for whom the Catholic Church is everything she claims to be and are offended by any criticism of her. I understand that and don’t relish being an offender. Though they are certainly grieved over the moral failings of many of her clergy, it will likely not cause them to reconsider their devotion to her. And I get that because though God and his ways are perfect, his people are far from it and it shouldn’t surprise us when they/we fail. What church, industry, or academic institution would survive if multiple cases of immorality compromised its very legitimacy? Unfortunately, despicable behavior abounds because we are all human with a propensity to sin.
But still it should make one wonder about the Catholic Church’s claims of superiority in Christendom when so many of her leaders have demonstrated radically inferior Christianity. It should plainly call into question her assumed mantle as “the one, true church.” Her apologists will cite her continued survival in spite of a history of scandals as proof that she is THE church against which Jesus promised, “the gates of hell shall not prevail.” (Matt. 16:18) But since such grave sin repeatedly brings such disgrace on those who claim to be leaders of Christ’s church, I would think Satan himself is quite content to see the Catholic Church continue.
I, however, must sadly admit that I would like to see it meet its demise. I know that sounds awfully harsh, but if the Catholic Church teaches a false gospel (which I have written on here and here) and its multiple man-made doctrines have cast doubt on the truth of Christianity itself, turning many away from God, isn’t it right that I should wish for an end to what Satan has found so useful?
Is a second Reformation a possibility? Not of her doctrines. The reforms necessary to bring the Catholic Church in line with true biblical Christianity, and not just weed out the immorality in the priesthood and hierarchy, would effectually put her out of business. She would cease to be the Roman Church. She cannot annul or change her many unbiblical and “infallible” teachings without negating her claims of apostolic authority.
How I wish that these latest reported atrocities committed by supposed men of God would finally tip the scales in the minds of the Catholics in my circle…that they would disturb them enough to make them willing to look objectively at what they have so long accepted as truth, in light of the bad fruit of many of its purveyors and the truly infallible Word of God. As one who took that long, objective look over 30 years ago, I can promise them it will be an illuminating turning-point they will thank God he brought them to.
The church Jesus said he would build will prevail against the gates of hell, because it is not an institution but the unorganized conglomeration of saved sinners trusting in God wherever they find themselves and whether or not they belong to any denomination. It consists of folks identifying as Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, and multiple other affiliations, including no affiliation other than with the Triune God.
And Roman Catholics. There are many Catholics in the one, really true, unorganized, Jesus-believing church. And to them cries a “voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people.’” (Rev. 18:4) Come out of the man-made organization that enslaves you to rules God did not decree, and a fear of death Jesus died to deliver you from. Do not fear the false threats of condemnation for rejecting her but hear and believe the words of our Lord.
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. – John 5:24
Well done, Caroline. This is a delicate subject, but you’ve continued to handle it with compassion and gentleness while not shying from stating the truth. Praying that our Roman Catholic friends and family will affirmatively respond to that truth.
Your words are very encouraging to me, David. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to say them. Praying with you…