The past several weeks have been fraught with heinous revelations in the Catholic Church. In Pennsylvania, documents from a grand jury were released detailing cases of rape and sexual abuse by hundreds of priests and bishops, many of which seemed to have been covered up by leaders of the Church.
Subsequently, an additional story spotlighted former Cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, who faces his own sexual abuse allegations of which the Vatican has known since 2000. During the previous papacy, Pope Benedict XVI imposed sanctions which restricted McCarrick’s authority, the same sanctions Pope Francis had lifted in 2015 for reasons he has yet to disclose.
Amid scandal on various fronts, the Church has been unusually disengaged. Following the news of Cardinal McCarrick, Pope Francis broke his week-long silent streak on social media to instead address environmental issues. While the Vatican has neither confirmed nor denied claims of covering up abuse, Pope Francis did eventually make a statement earlier this month. It was not about the predators in the Church, but about the “accusers:” “In these times, it seems like the ‘Great Accuser’ has been unchained and is attacking bishops. True, we are all sinners, we are bishops. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandal the people.”
It appears as though the Church is being hit on all sides without leadership to address the problems and guide us through. During such times, as a Catholic, you might feel helpless. You might feel tempted to abandon Catholicism altogether. As Children of God, we must resist this temptation.
Having faith and living out the Word of God transcend organized religion. The Church is a necessary institution to provide structure and a clear path. Even our highest leaders are still flawed humans. And just because their motives are being called into question does not mean we should scrutinize God or our individual faith in Him.