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WHY REMAIN CATHOLIC? (WITH SO MUCH SCANDAL)

By Bishop Robert Barron     9/11/2018

This month’s column is transcribed from a video chat with Bishop Barron, available at wordonfire.com. 

 

Hey everybody, this is Bishop Baron. I wanted to speak to you again about this terrible crisis we’re passing through in the Church, this crisis of sexual abuse and the countenancing of it by some bishops. I know I spoke to you a couple of days ago. But what’s been striking me recently is the number of people who seem to be calling for the abandonment of the Church: “Because of this crisis, it’s time for us to leave the Church. We’ve simply had enough.” 

Now, can I just say this? I totally understand people’s feelings. I share them—the feelings of anger and frustration. I get it. I get it. But can I also suggest, I think this is precisely the wrong strategy at this moment in the Church’s life. Leaving is not what we ought to be doing. What we ought to be doing is fighting. 

Let me explain that with a little historical reference. One of my great heroes is Abraham Lincoln. And Lincoln of course operated politically at one of the most convulsive times in our national history, when slavery was threatening the very foundations of American democracy. Lincoln knew from the beginning of his career that the nation, as he put it, couldn’t survive half-slave and half-free. But he saw more profoundly too that slavery as an institution was repugnant to the very principles of American democracy. 

Now, we can hear that in the Gettysburg Address. And in a way it’s sad that that’s become so cliché, that we all memorize it in high school. But let’s go back to those words: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Notice he’s articulating the principles that define American democracy: freedom and equality. 

Then he says, “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” He knew what was at stake in the war was American democracy itself. He knew that slavery was a kind of cancer that would undermine American ideals. 

Now, I suppose at the time an option would have been simply to give up on the American experiment. “I’m leaving the country. I’ve had it. This thing is a disaster. I’m giving up.” But Lincoln wouldn’t take that option. In fact, he led the country down the other path toward fighting—fighting for the ideals of American democracy. 

Now, can I suggest everybody, I think something similar is at stake right now. The Catholic Church, its great principles and ideals; the Catholic Church, grounded in Jesus Christ, the love of God made manifest in him in his dying and his rising; the Catholic Church, in all of its power and beauty and perfection, is indeed threatened by this terrible scourge of sexual abuse. It is indeed a blight upon the Church. It is appropriate that people feel anger, frustration. 

I suppose the option is on the table: leave. “I’ve had it. The thing is just too corrupt. I’m out of here.” But see, I want to suggest everybody, that is not what is called for. Rather, what’s called for is the Lincoln option: fighting for the Church that we believe in so powerfully; seeing this blight, naming it clearly, unambiguously, but then fighting to set things right. It’s not the moment for cutting and running. It’s the moment for getting into the fight. 

And you say, “Well okay, Bishop, I get it. But how do I fight?” Look: You fight through your own righteous anger. You fight by writing a letter to your Bishop, a letter to the Pope. You fight by your very presence at Mass. You fight by keeping people’s feet to the fire. You fight by organizing your fellow Catholics. Fight any way you can. But you fight because you believe in the Church; you love the Church; and you realize that despite this terrible blight, it’s worth fighting for. 

You know, keep in mind everybody, we are not Catholics because of the moral excellence of our leaders. I mean, God help us if we were. We want our leaders—indeed, we expect our leaders—to be morally excellent. But we are not Catholics because of that moral excellence. We’re Catholics because of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. We’re Catholics because of the Trinitarian love of God. We’re Catholics because of the Mystical Body of Christ. We’re Catholics because of the sacraments. We’re Catholics especially because of the Eucharist. We’re Catholics because of the Blessed Mother. We’re Catholics because of the saints. Even as leaders in the Church fail morally, the Catholic Church remains the Mystical Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. And she’s worth fighting for. 

Keep this in mind too everybody: every baptized person is priest, prophet, and king. A couple of days ago I talked about the kingly office. Can I talk now about the prophetic office? When Israel got off the rails—read the Old Testament, it happened on a regular basis: this community was meant to reflect the will of God into the world, Israel the chosen people of God, but frequently its leaders failed, frequently its people fell into sin, frequently it fell away from the Torah and the temple—what did God do? He called forth prophets: people like Jeremiah, people like Isaiah, people like Amos and Ezekiel, people like Zechariah. And they raised their voices—sometimes, yes, in very angry protest—about these corruptions within Israel. 

You’re a prophet. Every one of you listening to me right now who is baptized into Jesus Christ is a prophet. Raise your voice! Prophets didn’t cut and run when Israel was in trouble; the prophets spoke out. That’s all of our responsibility, all of us who bear the prophetic charism. 

You know, perhaps a last thought here. I said it a couple of days ago, I’ll say it again. Whom are we fighting for? We’re not fighting primarily to save our institutions. See, I’m with my old mentor Cardinal George of happy memory. In the last talk he ever gave to all the priests of Chicago, he said, “Remember, at the beginning of the Church, there were no parishes. There were no schools, hospitals, institutions. There were evangelists,” he reminded us. “There were proclaimers of the word.” But the point was the Church does not depend ultimately on institutions. We’re not fighting primarily for that aspect of the Church’s life. We are fighting for the victims of these terrible crimes. We’re fighting for people who were sexually assaulted, sexually abused. If we cut and run precisely at this challenging time, who will be the prophetic voice on behalf of these victims? 

So that’s my little cri de coeur, everybody—my cry from the heart. I get it. I get the frustration people feel. I share it. But this is not the moment to abandon the Church. This is the moment to fight for the Church. 

May God bless you all. 

 

Bishop Robert Barron is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. 

6 Responses to “WHY REMAIN CATHOLIC? (WITH SO MUCH SCANDAL)”

  1. Coleen

    You talk about it’s about ” the Catholic Church ”
    It’s about being a Christian ” not a Catholic ”
    If you believe Jesus is the son of God , whom died for our sins and rose from the grave . Your talking about Being a Christian, who chooses to worship in a Catholic Church …
    Hate the sin , Love the sinner
    The FIGHT is for Jesus and Christianity, not a religious denomination!!!!!

    Reply
  2. Grace Mascola

    God Bless Bishop Barron for his words of wisdom and his zest for the Word of God and deep love Christ and the Body of Christ! With Respect and gratitude, Grace Mascola

    Reply
  3. Rochelle

    I WILL NOT abandon my church. I love my church.
    My heart bleeds for all you Holy Priest. Believe me I pray for you everyday. I relie on you to say mass. No priest – no mass.
    Like every other industry – if I may – there are good & bad.
    You would not believe the outcome of my last place of employment. THE LIBRARY. And what happened there reads like bloody fiction.
    So all you Holy Bishops, Priest, Cardinals etc. hang in there & May God Bless you & Mary Keep you.

    Reply
  4. Joe Sansoucie

    Great article!

    My thought is simply this.

    If you are a confirmed Catholic, YOU ARE A SOLDIER OF CHRIST!

    Stop giving into what Satan desires (giving up your Faith and your Church) and Fight Him!

    Use the righteous anger to fuel the spiritual warrior within you through your confirmation!
    Fight Evil!

    Stand in it’s way!

    Fight to get rid of the in-moral homosexual clergy and sexual abuse and rid our Church of this filth once and for all!

    The secular media is not something you should listen to because they too are part of Satan’s plan
    to destroy the Church our Savior Jesus Christ established and built for our Salvation!

    Stand in the direct path of the attacks against our Church, our Faith and our God!

    That is your duty as Soldiers of Christ as Confirmed Catholics you have no choice really.

    You are to report to the battle field and fight and if necessary to die there!

    There is NO Neutral ground as Christ himself said!

    Fight Evil every second of every day!

    How to fight?

    Be in a state of grace always by going to confession, going to mass as often as possible and receive Holy Communion,
    and pray the Rosary.

    Start each day with the St. Michael prayer.
    Pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory be, the Fatima prayer, the Oh My Jesus, the Rosary
    before you leave your home for work or play, every single day without fail!

    Teach this to your children and pray with them daily…

    Even when sick, offer up your suffering before you pray and it will strengthen your prayers.

    This is called devotion to your call of duty.

    Praying well is to fight well – to live well – to die a Holy death.

    Pray the divine mercy chaplet every single day, even pray it several times a day!

    It’s not like our entire world doesn’t need our Lords mercy every second of every day, just look around
    at our society and you can’t help but see the devil working everywhere!

    Practice praying the litany’s daily, the following…

    Litany – Blood of Jesus
    Litany – Blessed Sacrament
    Litany – Divine Mercy
    Litany – of Humility
    Litany – of poor souls
    Litany – of the Holy Rosary (This litany combined with the daily praying of the Rosary is extremely powerful!)

    Pray for the priests and all the clergy including the Holy See.

    If you are in public and one of your friends offends God, you rebuke them! You are a soldier and
    should not tolerate that which offends God, ever. You are here as Catholics to SAVE SOULS!
    Everybody’s soul can can be saved!

    Pray for each other as well because we all need it.

    Also please head this warning!

    If you are doing these things correctly, you can most assuredly expect to be attacked by the devil and his
    demons for doing it because after all, he hates all of us! We are defending God the Father, God the Son, and God
    the Holy Spirit and the only TRUE Church which has the Authority from Jesus himself to save souls, which Satan is determined (Hell Bent) to stop us from doing.

    Like Jesus said, the road to damnation is wide and easily traveled, but if you follow me, you can expect
    to be hated because they hated me first.

    St. Paul said, work out your salvation in fear and trembling.

    These are the words you draw strength from in your fight against evil.

    Join me on the battlefield today and defend the Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church Christ founded and
    built for our salvation!

    I will fight with you and for you.

    I need, we all need, your help, on the field – the spiritual field of battle.

    Like Jesus said, Do not be afraid.

    Jesus also said, the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. He didn’t say that the attacks wouldn’t shake the windows
    and bang on the doors…

    Hang in there, keep the faith strong in your heart and the heart of your family, and fight.

    Keep in mind, where there is two or more gathered in his name, he is there with you.

    God Bless You All!

    Reply
  5. Sheila Beingessner

    Amen. I think he says it all. I would never leave Christ or his Church. Heaven help us where else would we go!

    Reply

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