How can the Church be true when it produces hypocrisy?

By December 24, 2014 17 Comments

Full Question

I’m seriously considering leaving the faith. My pastor and others who preach at my parish do not live up to what they are teaching. How can the Church be true when it produces such hypocrisy?


Please don’t leave the Church. You are misplacing the blame. If a preacher, religious, or layman fails to live up to the standards he is preaching, the blame lies with him and not with the message he preaches. His actions say much about himself but not about the teachings of Christ.
Jesus certainly practiced what he preached, but if someone else preaches Jesus’ message exactly the same but does not practice it perfectly, it is not logical to conclude that the message of Jesus must be flawed.
By way of analogy, if it were proven tomorrow that Albert Einstein was a child molester, that would not disprove the theory of relativity.
A system should not be judged by its worst adherents but by its best, those who actually live up to its standards. Judge the Catholic Church by its saints, not by its hypocrites.


  • Reva Perkins says:

    I was at the point of leaving the church as well…for the same reason. But we are all flawed beings, so we must offer consolation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for those who abuse his love and mercy.

  • Franz Christian Velasco says:

    Remember what Jesus said about the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees who do not practice what the teach:
    “The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees occupy the seat of Moses. Listen and do all they say, but do not imitate what the do” (Matthew 23:2-3).
    Jesus wanted his disciples to follow the teachings despite the hypocrisy of the teachers because the attitudes of the teachers didn’t discredit the Law of Moses. In the same manner, Jesus wouldn’t want us to leave the Church he himself established because the mistakes of the people teaching the faith doesn’t make the teachings of the Church less true.

  • Allen weston says:

    So very true and think that the examples given prove this point,there is often a bad apple in a box but you still can enjoy the rest.

  • Pete Parks says:

    I am a hypocrite and I know it. The reason I attend church is to seek forgiveness for my hypocrisy.

  • Wally Caancan says:

    Well said; well explained. Amen! Amen!

  • molly malek says:


  • Kilama David says:

    Never get surprised when you see the govt defrauds the very people it shd protect.

  • Mark says:

    Peter was a sinner. He denied Jesus 3 times and yet Jesus chose him to lead Christ’s Universal Church on earth after He was crucified. We are all sinners lest not we forget. We are ALL in need of healing including the hypocrites! Peace.

  • Reva Perkins says:

    Redeeming Grace! How sweet. How loving. Step back from the Pharisees in the church and go into yourself. In silence, in front of the Blessed Sacrament, you feel His abiding love which gives courage and hope. Jesus I Trust in You!

  • Becky Jo says:

    I LOVE Matthew 23, and use it often, when asked this same type of question!
    I also use Matthew 23, when speaking to our Protestant brothers and sisters, when they inform me, the Bible is the sole and only source of God’s revealed Truth. I simply answer their question first, with “the Bible does not state that it IS the sole and only source of God’s Truth”. Then I ask Who are your current Moses chair sitters, which states that we MUST hear/obey what these Moses sitters teach, beacuse Jesus says they have the authority FROM God to do so. (Jesus goes on to say don’t DO as the chair sitters DO, when what they DO is contrary to what they authoritatively teach).
    The amazing thing about this verse for sola scripturist is MATTHEW 23 is the ONLY Book of the Bible, that mentions Seat/chair of Moses. Jesus is speaking from a Jewish ORAL Tradition, past down, but never recorded in their OT. Jesus’ crowd that day however KNEW who their chair of Moses sitters were, and what authority they had teaching The Truths of god, to His chosen people.
    I as a former Protestant knew of the hypocrisy message Christ was teaching His crowd that day, but I simply missed altogether the “final authority” issue, which precedes the hypocrisy message. Which imho means that Jews were NEVER sola scripturist, either!
    There are other truths imho of which our separated brothers and sisters, hold which are not found IN Scripture as well, ie. the Biblical table of contents, the number exact number of inspired writings/books, or the criteria used and who then WHO has the final say, about which and how many inspired of God writings (since none of this information is IN the written Word of God, known today as the Old-New Testaments
    Did ALL known early Christians “vote” on important issues like this (which, how many and criteria). Were ALL known Christians even invited to the Councils? How come the leadership FIRST decided to settle the Truth of the Trinity issue, BEFORE coming up with the inspired of God writings, we now refer to as the Bible? Where in Scripture does it speak to Christians being bound to Jewish seat sitters decisions=criteria for their OT Table of contents, since this was done historically by Jewish chair sitters in the late to early 1st-2nd century?
    It is my hope, that our separated brothers and sisters see the hypocrisy, they foster, when picking and choosing which Truths of God, HAVE to be specifically stated in Scripture, and which Truths they hold, don’t have to be IN Scripture at all?
    I love being Catholic!

  • Dave says:

    Since Christian seminary, my chosen way has been . We emphasize action over belief, do not postulate the God, and value neither blood sacrifice nor cannibalism. Lifetime study backs prayer and internationally standardized liturgy. Though some degree of hypocrisy is natural, it can usually be handled by a determined effort at self-reformation, a teaching and practice effective enough to enact it and a supportive faith community. I have no statue of a Buddha in my home. Thanks…

  • Shirley says:

    We are all flawed human beings. Not one of us is without sin. We must be careful not to judge the Church Jesus established by the sins of the people in it. This time of Lent reminds us that all of us have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. It is why Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of all mankind. In all things there is something to be learned, even if it is what not to do. If your faith is built on the people around you, then how will you keep it because everyone in this world has sinned? Put your faith in Jesus’ hands & follow Him in His church that He founded on St. Peter & the Apostles. Learn about them & the saints. Find another parish if necessary, but resist temptation to walk away from God & His Church. We can’t change other people but we can change ourselves. Consider going to an extra Mass each week, if not daily Mass or find where you can do adoration. Please pray for Catholics everywhere to come back to frequent confession. Pray for the grace to grow firm in faith out of your love for God & His for you. Ask God to bless the people you don’t like. Remember there is no grace in only praying for those you like. Prayers are with you. God bless!

  • Marie says:

    My daughter wants to marry in a Christian Church, not Catholic. After being an acolyte for many years and completing her sacraments, she now sees Jesus. I am hurting. I cannot make her see. I am confused.

  • Marie says:

    I find I cannot judge anyone. I can pray. I am finding it harder to be a good Catholic. Do what Jesus would do is what I tell my family to go by. We find Jesus but I cannot tell anyone which way is right or wrong. Then I fell like a hypocrite. We will be judged at the end. Most of my friends who are good people and believe in God do not go to any organized Church. They are people of faith and I have no right to judge.

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