As we move through the Easter season, our Scripture readings tell about the early Church leaders and the growth of the early Christian community. In the news, we continue to hear about how the failings of a few of our Church leaders, past or present, have caused suffering for so many.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York points out the connection between the early apostles--who were far from perfect--and present day leadership. We aren't perfect now, but we weren't perfect then. "If the survival of the Church depended upon the brightness, the virtue, the courage, the holiness of her bishops and priests," he says, "the Church would have collapsed only hours after the ordination of her first ones, the apostles."
By far my favorite line from this article (which is highly worth a read!) is the archbishop's response to a reporter asking if he was shocked and scandalized by the latest reports on abuse. He responds: "Well, yes. But I happen to have a Ph.D. in scandal, so it doesn't shake my faith. I have my doctorate in Church history, which is one long tale of sin, scandal and shock, always redeemed by the grace and mercy of God."
As we continue to hear about the failings of some of the leaders of our Church, let us pray for them, for the victims, and for our own faith. After all, our faith is not in an institution, it is in Jesus.
We are the body of the risen Christ
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