Blog note. As the following article notes, “We lay Catholics are taught from earliest childhood to — in the words of the old saying– “Pray, pay and obey.” This blogger’s question to this comment, is this the “gospel” of the Catholic Church? Or the gospel of Jesus Christ? The article’s comment sounds a lot like a church that is placing itself between the faithful believer in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ himself. Jesus Christ is the mediator between mankind, sin and the Father, not any church including the Catholic Church. Why the emphasis on “paying”? Why the emphasis on obeying the “Church” and man-made rules and rituals instead of emphasizing and following Christ and his teachings? For better or worse, right or wrong, we all learn what we are taught to believe. In my Christian walk, I never followed or “obeyed” any doctrine or man-made theology that suggested I needed to be subservient to a “Church” in the form of “paying and obeying.” Jesus came to forgive our sins and release us from the bondage of legalism and following false doctrines and man-made rules and works of self-righteousness.
My heart goes out to those who are Catholic and staunchly follow Catholicism, Catholic Doctrine / Rules / Rituals / Beliefs and the rulership of the Pope. Somewhere in this muddy mess is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I trust that Catholics who are aware of the true gospel of Jesus Christ will hold onto it with both hands and are strong enough to discern deception and to avoid the smoke screen that is sent to cover the light of Christ with the admonition to “pay and obey.” That sounds a lot like the mafia in a nutshell. God help those indoctrinated in the Catholic system of rules, rituals and man-made theology. It is part of the Mystery Religion of the last days. It is sad that many churches, not just Catholicism, have twisted the gospel of Jesus Christ into doctrinal forms of “self-righteousness” “religiosity” “prosperity” “ritualism” “entertainment” “self-actualization” and so on. Most churches who make the news because of an abhorrent situation resulting from “pay and obey” are usually viewed as cults. Could the Catholic Church be a cult of “clericalism” and “pope worship”? Money is god and obeying and not questioning church leaders is the doctrine. Christ is nowhere to be found. Man (church leadership) is placed and exalted above Jesus Christ. Christ warns us that there will be wolves in sheep clothing that are sent to deceive those who belong in the flock of Christ. These wolves are the false teachers, priests, pastors, clergy, ministers, elders, bishops, cardinals and popes who follow their own rules, agenda and make up their “gospel” as they go along creating new “edicts.” The true gospel of Jesus Christ was stated once, accurately, in the Bible. It does not need to be modified, codified, adjusted or evolved to fit the times. Truth stands as truth and does not change. The wolves in sheep clothing create doctrines and demand that the church “followers” follow accordingly, like the pied-piper’s mice, and pay handsomely to the self-righteous leadership so it can show its opulence to the world. Do any of these wolves need the widows mite from a third world country? no.
Matthew 7:15 … Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Matthew 10:16 … Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Luke 10:3 … Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
Acts 20:29 … For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Lastly, I pray for the healing of those affected by the abuse at the hands of these wolves. A pack of wolves will always attack the weakest of its prey. End of note.
Catholics in the pews, unleash your anger
By Paul Begala. CNN. Updated 11:59 AM ET, Tue August 21, 2018
Editors Note. The opinions expressed in this commentary are Paul Begala’s.
Bishop John McCarthy of Austin will be laid to rest Friday. A larger-than-life, gregarious Irishman, McCarthy led the Catholic Diocese of Austin from 1986 until 2001, and was a priest for more than 60 years.
He was powerfully committed to civil rights (not always popular in the Texas in which he grew up), questioned the church’s tradition of priestly celibacy, and advocated for a more inclusive and powerful role for women. The diocese thrived under his leadership. Enrollment in Catholic schools, membership in the church, baptisms, and conversions more than doubled, the diocese said.
I first met Bishop McCarthy when he was an auxiliary bishop in Houston and I was a teenager active in the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). In the 90’s, when he was Bishop of Austin and I was living there, we had regular lunches, where we talked about politics (which he loved), movies, books, and — as we say in Texas — life its ownself.
I remember one conversation in the mid 90’s especially. A lawsuit had been filed in Dallas, alleging that a priest had molested children and the church had covered it up. It was one of the first such lawsuits in the country. I recall being shocked, and disbelieving that such a thing could happen. Not in the church that had given me a moral compass and spiritual sustenance; the institution that sponsored dances and retreats and even found a spot on the Holy Family CYO basketball team for a kid who was too short and too slow for the high school team.
I was then — and remain today — an active member of the Catholic Church, and had never even heard a murmur about abuse. But Bishop McCarthy told me that my blissful, blessed experience was not everyone’s. He had fought in 1987 to defrock an abusive priest, and knew well the resistance many in the hierarchy had to addressing the abuse scandal.
He told me about numerous bishops back east who had asked him to accept priests who had been “cured” of child molestation. He refused. They implored him, he said, even saying he was being un-Christian by not forgiving the priests’ sins and accepting their redemption.
The bishop scoffed at the notion. His diocese was far-flung, covering 25 counties; he knew he could not sit in Austin and supervise a “former” child molester 130 miles away. So he resisted. He refused to be part of the priest abuse pipeline. God only knows how many Texas children he saved from abuse.
Pope Francis’ letter reacting to the shocking, heartbreaking report from Pennsylvania, in which more than 1,000 children were allegedly abused by over 300 priests, is necessary but not sufficient.
The Holy Father rightly acknowledges the staggering toll and the church’s culpability. “Looking back to the past,” he wrote, “no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.”
The pontiff called for prayer and penance, fasting by the faithful, and decried a culture of clericalism, which he said “helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today. To say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to all forms of clericalism.”
The solution, it seems to me, must come from inside the Church but outside the clergy. We lay Catholics are taught from earliest childhood to — in the words of the old saying– “Pray, pay and obey.” No more.
Father James Martin, the Jesuit writer on all things Catholic and a consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, communicated this clearly. In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Martin roused the faithful, exhorting lay Catholics to “Speak to your pastor, write to your bishop, express your anger to the Vatican’s nuncio in this country. Most of all, work in any way that you can for real change, even at the cost of being seen as a troublemaker.”
Reformers from outside the priesthood — especially women — must be empowered. After the clergy abuse revelations of the early 2000’s, the Catholic Church in America appointed a lay-controlled National Review Board. Its chair, then-Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, is a former FBI agent. He described the behavior of the bishops and others in positions of authority — resisting subpoenas, refusing to reveal the names of rapists, denying the extent of the scandal — as akin to the conduct of the Mafia. He resigned from the panel, saying, “My remarks, which some bishops found offensive, were deadly accurate. I make no apology.”
In an interview this week with Rod Dreher of The American Conservative, Keating, himself a conservative Republican, remained unapologetic. Noting the revelation that Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick faces allegations (“credible and substantiated” said church officials) of abuse of a minor, Keating said, “Surely people knew about it, but no one talked. That was the cosa nostra, not my church. I found that incredible that that could occur. Priests that were misbehaving were outed, but not bishops, not the cardinal? That’s hypocrisy at its worst level.”
Like so many Catholics, I am reeling. I am praying that Pope Francis will institute reforms with teeth — yet I also believe that the Church is the People of Christ, and so the laity must lead. One lesson from the Pennsylvania report is, there are not enough Bishop McCarthys, sadly. But there are a lot of Frank Keatings.
The amount of power vested in lay reformers will tell us how serious the church is about truly addressing the scandal.