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How can I defend the Church against the damage caused by the priestly scandals?

Full Question

How can I respond when people argue against the Church by pointing to bad priests who are engaged in sexual misbehavior?

Answer

Tell them to read their Bible. In 1 Samuel 2 they will read about the two sons of Eli, who were wicked priests. These priests were known to be having intercourse with the women who worked at the Tabernacle (1 Sm 2:22-24). God punished them for their wickedness (1 Sm 2:25, 34, 4:11), but that did not disprove the religion of Israel or that its priesthood was from God. Similarly, the fact that there are bad priests today does not prove that the Catholic religion is false or that its priesthood is not from God.

Bad priests have been around since the Old Testament, and if you had judged the religion of Israel by the quality of some of its priests, you would have missed out on the true religion. Ditto for Catholicism today.


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10 comments

  1. Edward A. Hara Reply

    A good enough answer, but you forgot to remind them of the parables of the wheat and tares and the fishes in the net. Our Lord said that the wicked and the good will flourish together in the kingdom of God until the end, and there was no indication whatsoever that the wicked would be kept from positions of authority in the kingdom..

    1. Benito valeriano cabantan cenabre Reply

      Help in Church function but not hesitant to tell concerned Priest that maybe Fr we have to do it this way! Be a critic but helping concretely!

  2. Mimiche Guerrier Reply

    While all of that is true, we cannot deny that church leadership allowed that behavior to persist especially in Massachusetts – causing many more young people to be subjected to the abuse of one priest. There is no defending the church in those cases.

    1. Guy Reply

      Mistakes by a few can’t represent the entire Church. I wasn’t an investigator in any of the cases and I certainly won’t let the media explain to me what happened. It is up to those involved and in charge to properly handle these horrific cases.

  3. Shirley Reply

    My reply would be this: No one is trying to justify the scandals & our hearts go out to the victims. The church is making great efforts to address each case. Other churches have this problem & are watching how we handle ours. This is a time where one must examine the basis of our faith. If our faith depends on people; we will lose it; because all people sin. Some more seriously & publicly than others; but no one can say they are without sin & shouldn’t rush to judge all priests & the church in entirety. The church is full of good, holy priests, religious & laity. I am catholic because of how I feel about Jesus. This is the only church He founded on St. Peter & the Apostles. It was good enough for Jesus & it’s good enough for me. Where there is a problem that is untenable, one goes to a different parish. We don’t throw away our faith for anyone or anything. Jesus saw all that people do & still allowed Himself to be tortured, publicly humiliated, stripped naked & crucified with extreme cruelty for every human being that has or ever will exist. Who am I to spit on that & leave His church? I’m sticking with Jesus; in His church; no matter what. There is no substitute.

  4. Jeanna Sun Reply

    Priests are also humans, like us….they are not perfect…reason why they also need prayers from us, but it does not justify their wrong doings…our church does not allow this kind of wrong doings done by some of our priests….but please don’t misjudge our church….we have holy priests and many are they…..”who are we to judge?

  5. Eric Gami Reply

    it was good enough indeed for Jesus who did not call the righteous but patiently formed them to be better. Your priests need the Holy Spirit to make up for their human defects please do pray with them and the victims for healing, love and full restoration. Imagine Jesus with fallen Priest eating grilled fish with a piercing gaze of love and these words: N do you love me in spite of your self and your past? … will you still continue to feed my sheep out of true love?

  6. rita nassanga Reply

    I read a Catholic Pieta book that said that when priests sin, we should pray for them instead of critisizing them. They are only human.

  7. Patricia Devaney Reply

    Our Lady also said we should pray for priests and we are told not to judge anyone I have known a lot of good holy priests and they are so needed for our salvation

  8. John Hallman Reply

    All men are by nature sinful, and so do not nullify the saving message of Jesus Christ. For a local church, Matthew 18:15-20 shows us about church discipline. If a teacher or pastor (there are no priests in the New Testament) sins against someone in the church, then he should be approached and allowed to repent. If he refuses, even if several from the church talk to him, then he is shunned in front of the church. If that church does not do that, they are not a Biblical church. With upwards of 25-50% of Catholic priests homosexuals, this is not surprising. One can judge the Catholic church not by the sin of the priests, but in their response to that sin. How many priests who have molested young boys are now tossed out of the Catholic church? Good question, and the answer should be almost all of them.

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