You can read it for yourself in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect (n. 670).” (My italics.)
Accept or Reject?
Jesus chose twelve men to be His Apostles. They became His inner circle, listening daily to the living Word of God – something to be envied!
Yet Judas turned his back on Christ and sold his soul to Satan - for thirty pieces of silver.
Given that 8.3% of the Apostles turned out to be traitors, why are we surprised that there are traitors within the Catholic Church today?
If Judas’ evildoing didn’t prevent the Catholic Church from being founded and flourishing after Christ’s death, how can the evil which has been perpetrated by some members of her clergy (reckoned to be about 4% between 1950 and 2002) mean that the whole Catholic Church is rotten?
Priests are human beings and you can bet that they are the number one target of the devil!
Jesus is reputed to have said to Mama Rosa Quattrini in San Damiano, Italy, (August 14th, 1965) “Pray for the priests. Pray with might and do not cease praying, for the devil wants their downfall.”
Priests who fall into temptation and sin grievously against others should indeed make reparation to their victims, and they will be judged by God. And what an awful judgement it will be!
But should the whole Catholic Church and all her priests be rejected because of the small minority who couldn’t keep their vows?
Satan is successfully attacking individuals within the Church, and those who are not truly grounded in the Faith will fail.
This means not only the abusive priests, but also the laity who don’t fully subscribe to the Catholic Church.
Saint Peter says that God protects us through faith (1 Peter 1:5) and “if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith … even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1: 6-7).”
If we are cafeteria Catholics who pick and choose which of the Church’s mandates we want to follow, our faith is lukewarm. It is not be strong enough to withstand the coming trials.
Those of us who are not walking in friendship with God need to repent and ask for His mercy. For God will judge everyone who doesn’t obey His Word and this includes Catholics. As the Catechism points out, “the trial of evil ... does not spare the Church (n. 672).”
Saint Peter has told us: “For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God's household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God's Good News? (1 Peter 4:17).”
We have been warned!
God allows evil: it part of His plan. But it shouldn't shake our faith.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28).”
As one parish priest put it: “I have read the Bible and Jesus wins!”
But there is much to go through before this happens.
“Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers… The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh (n. 675).”
Those who reject God and His commandments in favor of “secular messianism (n. 676)” will find themselves in deep trouble if they don’t repent before “God’s triumph over the revolt of evil (which) will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world (n. 677).”
Even those who scoff at the idea of the Last Judgement are aware of the scientists' prediction that the world will eventually come to an end when the sun expands and fries the earth. (See Life of the Sun)
Would it therefore not be smart to at least entertain the idea of the Last Judgement and the need for repentance?
The Wheat and the Tares
Just because the law has become permissive and ‘everyone is doing it,’ Christians are not free to follow ‘secular messianism.’ The evil example of others does not justify evil behavior in ourselves.
We are more likely to be ridiculed, or worse, than given credit for good behavior. But remember that “Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history (n. 681).”
It is foolish to think that we can hide from Him. Christ “will render to each man according to his works and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace (n. 682).”
Do we want to be part of the wheat harvest, or the chaff that gets thrown into the eternal burning fire of hell?
The message of the Catholic Church is extremely unpopular in today’s world, but that shouldn’t deter us from wholeheartedly accepting it. Rather we should be proud of our Church and stand by her to the end.
If we do, God will stand by us.