This post replies to an article (included, below) sent to me by a sweet Roman Catholic lady. The article, written by a Jewish author, excuses the Roman Catholic Church from the actions of a few bad apples. The author advises Catholics to ignore the attacks from leftist media and hold their heads high over the good things their church does.
I've come to the conclusion that every good organization does no better than the sort of members it it has. If it has human members, it has weaknesses that will eventually corrupt its practices, its message, and its reputation.
Human history, as recorded in the Bible and as interpreted through biblical principles, reveals a pattern of waves of God mercifully setting up ways for us to govern ourselves. Humans subsequently overwhelm each system with a tsunami of failure, demonstrating again how man's fallen nature permeates and overwhelms everything he touches.
Judaism, in particular, demonstrated the failure of a representative form of salvation. Priests mediated between sinners and God and enforced a code of righteousness. God gave that code not to justify man, but for the dual purposes of guiding man to the knowledge of his utter inability to achieve righteousness and of symbolizing the ultimate source of righteousness. "Universal guide to human behavior" was only secondary. The Jews, however, failed to recognized the Source, when He came, because they set about to achieve righteousness on their own. They focused on the code instead of on the Giver of the code.
Some such Jews became the church's "Judaizers" that Apostle Paul opposed, from the provinces to the council of the apostles. They wanted to continue the failed systems of human-earned righteousness that had failed in Judaism. For example, they interpreted circumcision as a gateway to God's grace, just as many feel that baptism or other human actions convey God's grace today. They failed to grasp that God bestows His grace Himself, not through the hands of the recipient or any other human intermediary. Paul had to correct even Peter for such errors.
I could argue against the Roman Catholic institution on the basis of its history. The gospel of liberty as taught by the apostles survived centuries of oppression by the institution set up by a Roman emperor who straddled the factions of Christianity, preferring not one most likely to serve God's Kingdom, but one most likely to further Rome's empire. Despite political, unjust civil, and military actions against biblical believers, the spiritual church survived countless reinventions of its human facade.
Even from a post-Protestant perspective, one can see a history of institutions wandering from the truths that originally set them apart, making necessary the departure of believers, faithful men who believed the Word of God rather than the words of men, to set up new institutions.
Having to allow for the corruption that comes with every human presence, I must instead judge the works-based gospel that catholicisms spread. (Not to get off topic, but, yes, the plural is intentional.)
I have seen enough human failure everywhere I've gone, including in my own footsteps, that I will take pride not in myself, nor in my efforts, nor in any human organization, but in the God who freely bestows His grace and who graciously sets up His works among men.
I send this to my non-Catholic friends just to set the record straight. Thanks for understanding. Love, H_____
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Excerpts of an article written by non-Catholic Sam Miller - a prominent Cleveland Jewish businessman:
"Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States, namely the Catholic Church?
Do you know - the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to that Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. The graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%.
The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an enrollment of 700,000 students.
The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people - not just Catholics - in the United States today.
But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage.
Let me give you some figures that Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8% of clergy women reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed.
Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic problem.
A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.
The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now and a number of bishops who failed to act.
Walk with your shoulders high and your head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the United States.
Then remember what Jeremiah said: 'Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls'. Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions.
Be proud that you're a Catholic."