I have been asked on several different occasions lately what I think (being a seminarian) of all the sex abuse scandal in the Church, and how I continue to hope in a better Church. In each case, I gave a different answer. In fact, there are an innumerable amount of answers one could give to such a question. I guess that is why I hesitate so often before I answer such a question.
One could cite numbers and statistics showing how although the Church has a problem it is not any worse (in fact much better) than many other organizations such as the public school system. One could also attack and refute such bias reporting and slander and libel from other organizations such as the New York Times. One could even argue that is it just a sign of the times and the continual degradation of the morals of our society. But ultimately all of these have to fall short of a sufficient explanation. Why? In short, they are all natural or secular explanations for the Mystical Body of Christ, a supernatural thing.
So how do I keep hope? What explanation do I hold onto? Frankly put, whether you like it or not, Judas was one of the first disciples chosen by God to follow Him. Judas failed and betrayed our Lord, of course, but he was part of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Most people do not like to talk about Judas, and frankly I do not either. His partial presence at the Lords table is confusing and difficult to swallow. How could someone so close to Christ commit such a horrible offense against Him? If this does not seem like much to hold onto for hope, let us not forget the rest of the story. For from Judas’ grave sin, handing over our Lord to His passion and death came His resurrection, our salvation. That is the mystery of grace and God’s will, working itself out in our lives. There is no resurrection without the passion.
In the end, the Church will suffer. She is the Body of Christ after all, continuing on His mission. And, as we are seeing vividly now, the Church will suffer by the sins of her own members. So let us continue to hope and trust in the Lord, that he will bring ultimate goodness from this evil. And let us remember humility, asking not how does one commit such sins, but how does one keep oneself from committing such sins.