Don’t Judge Jesus by the Roman Catholic Church

This morning’s headline has overwhelmed me: Report Identifies More Than 1,000 Victims of Priest Abuse.

Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, released a scathing grand jury report that outlined an investigation into allegations of child abuse conducted by Catholic priests, and covered up by the Church’s hierarchy.

Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades,” the grand jury wrote in its report.

I cannot begin to describe the grief, hurt, and rage I feel right now.

This is more than just wrong. It is demonic. It is satanic.

To abuse one’s power and authority by preying on the weak and vulnerable, all the while hiding behind the robe of a trusted “man of God” is to become evil incarnate.

What is equally troubling about this report is to know that many who are outside of the faith may now turn a jaundiced eye toward Jesus. If this is how the church acts, they may wonder, then why should I place my trust in Jesus?

I deal with this attitude constantly in my jail ministry. Abuse of power and obvious hypocrisy are often pointed out by those who are skeptical of the faith. Although these issues sadden me as well, I am always quick to point out that we cannot judge Jesus by how His followers don’t act like Him.

Roman Catholic priests – or any so-called Christian for that matter – who abuse others are NOT following Jesus. All of the unspeakable acts forced upon the abuse victims outlined in the Attorney General’s report are forbidden by Jesus. The cover-up by the Roman Catholic hierarchy is inconsistent with what a servant of Jesus would do. We can hardly blame Jesus for the deeds performed by those who were doing the exact opposite of what He charged His disciples to do.

Let’s say a father tells his teenage son that he is forbidden to smoke cigarettes and even warns him of the many health dangers in doing so. But the son is later caught smoking with his friends. Should we blame the father? Shall we say that the father was derelict? Of course not. The son is doing exactly what his father told him NOT to do.

In the same way, we cannot think Jesus was derelict when His followers stop following.

I would also caution my readers not to take out your frustration on Roman Catholics. It is no secret that I have many theological and doctrinal differences with the Roman Catholic Church, and in a more unguarded moment I may express more freely those differences. However, I have many friends who are Roman Catholic and are doing their very best to follow Jesus in spite of being in a severely-flawed system that lords over their thinking (see, that was one of my unguarded moments). Yet, these people are not to blame. Jesus is not to blame.

Please do not judge Jesus by how the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t follow Him.







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