Saturday, October 10, 2009

Another Look at Scandal

And its devastating effects. To quote Terry Nelson:
Scandal leads to sin and many times, loss of faith. One's faith can be shaken even when one claims to know one's faith. The bishops and priests who scandalize the faithful by their sins and or apostasy, they too know their faith - just as well if not better than the people they lead. And yet - they betray the faith, fall into sin, and sometimes apostatize entirely.
So we should never think we are safe from scandal because we know our faith. We shouldn't be too harsh about those who leave the Church because of scandal. Catholics have to understand that this is exactly what scandal does and means - to scandalize someone is to cause them to sin, to lose faith. If the accusations against Bishop Lahey are proven to be true, this bishop scandalized his people.
We need to pray for the real victims - the people who are scandalized and the victims of the pornography industry. As for the Bishop, if the charges are true, unless he repents and makes amends it would have been better if he had never been born.
St. Paul explains that our brothers and sisters in faith who are scandalized are weak - Christ refers to them as little ones - they have faith, but it is weak, and scandal can rob them of it.
"Extend a kind welcome to those who are weak in faith... we must no longer pass judgement on one another. Instead you should resolve to put no stumbling block or hindrance in your brother's way." - Romans 14. Knowledge of the faith is not a competition, someone who appears to be unaffected by a public sin because his faith is strong is not better than the believer whose faith is weak and suffers scandal. It is not the same thing as priding oneself upon scholastic achievement while disparaging the under-educated.
Little children (simple, ordinary folk) do not have to understand the faith in order to believe. In truth, anyone can have the gift of faith taken away or destroyed by those who cause scandal. Especially when the ones who cause scandal are those who know the faith, who understand the faith - those who have ears to hear, eyes to see, and so on.
People have to understand this and stop feeling sorry and making excuses for the [scoundrels] who take advantage of their positions to exploit the weak and give scandal to little ones. "Scandals will inevitably arise, but woe to him through whom they come. He would be better off thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck than giving scandal to one of these little ones." - Luke 17


Mary N. said...

Thanks for the link. I live in a small city with a population of about 90,000. We lost many priests and brothers when the sex scandal broke out. Many people left the Church completely. Our churches were half empty but I noticed that the daily Mass goers stayed. Thankfully, I have noticed an increased attendance at Sunday Mass lately so this is a good sign.

Terry Nelson said...

Thanks for the link to one of my more controversial posts - I lost a few readers over it. My only regret is that I shouldn't have used the "B" word.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, that's what my mom said, too.

elena maria vidal said...

Terry, I just changed your original word to "scoundrels." Hope you don't mind.

Julygirl said...

The Church and Christianity has weathered fierce storms over the centuries and this is all part of the winnowoing of the wheat from the chaff. This is why St. Paul invokes us to put on the armour of the Holy Spirit as we make our way on our 'Pilgrims Progress'.

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