When will the spotless virginal bride of Christ, who I love, be seen in all her radiant beauty? Why does she continually present herself as filthy diseased harlot that is both corrupt herself and corrupts all who come in contact with her? I hate her and I am ashamed of her and I am embarrassed to be associated with her.
Yes, I know it is Original Sin. Yes, I know the Church is made up sinners. Yes, I know she will be both until the end of time and has been from the very beginning.
Today's news about Cardinal O'Brien is just the latest sign of the Church's sickness. I don't know, no-one seems to know exactly what "inappropriate behaviour" the Cardinal is accused of and despite his sacking - he has been sacked by the Pope, his resignation was due to take effect next month on his 75th birthday- he is of course contesting the allegations. However, it would seem to suggest that corruption is far from merely a Roman or Curial phenomena but embraces the whole Church. We have seen it all over the world, the Lavender episcopal palaces of Cardinal Bernardin and Weakland, the cover-ups by Law and Mahony and many other American bishops, the major sexual scandals in Poland, in Austria, in Ireland, in Belgium and a score of other places.
These are priests and bishops in a very grave state of sin, who seem to count it as nothing. These are men who are content to live in the sewer whilst ascending to the atar of God. There is not just the sin they are involved in, it is also the hypocrisy, the lies, the deceit, everything that runs contrary to the integrity of the Gospel, the betrayal of brother priests of laity, all contribute to the undermining of faith of "the little ones", "better millstone be tied around his neck ...".
Fr Eamon and various priest bloggers have posted the video below of Cardinal Arinze speaking about mortal sin. It strikes me that a restoration basic catechesis would be a good first step. An old priest friend of mine, sighs occasionally and says of priests and bishops, "In my youth they wouldn't have been allowed to make their First Holy Communion, let alone be ordained".
The Cardinal talks about effects of David's sin, one single act which destroys his empire. The sin of our first parents is trivial but its effects have huge ramifications for mankind. The "filth" of the clergy, their mortal sins, even the ancient ones, really do corrode and destroy the credibility of individuals but more importantly of the whole Church. Even after Confession though the sinner is absolved the wounds of mortal sin continue to disfigure the face of Christ's Bride.
Not unconnected my friend Fr Zhulsdorf recently published a little passage by Henri de Lubac on Heresy
“If heretics no longer horrify us today, as they once did our forefathers, is it certain that it is because there is more charity in our hearts? Or would it not too often be, perhaps, without our daring to say so, because the bone of contention, that is to say, the very substance of our faith, no longer interests us? Men of too familiar and too passive a faith, perhaps for us dogmas are no longer the Mystery on which we live, the Mystery which is to be accomplished in us. Consequently then, heresy no longer shocks us; at least, it no longer convulses us like something trying to tear the soul of our souls away from us…. And that is why we have no trouble in being kind to heretics, and no repugnance in rubbing shoulders with them… It is not always charity, alas, which has grown greater, or which has become more enlightened: it is often faith, the taste for the things of eternity, which has grown less…”We have the Catechism of the Catholic Church and various learned documents, perhaps the next Pope might produce a simple syllabus for First Confession and Communion, dealing with the basics which every Catholic child or bishop or Papal-Elector ought to know.