Why remain Catholic (with so much scandal)? Print E-mail
Word on Fire

Note: The text below has been transcribed from a YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ani_hnN8Fs&feature=youtu.be

This is the first article of a two article series.

Hey everybody, this is Bishop Barron. I wanted to speak to you again about this terrible crisis we're passing through in the Church, this crisis of sexual abuse and the countenancing of it by some bishops.

I know I spoke to you a couple of days ago. But what's been striking me recently is the number of people who seem to be calling for the abandonment of the Church: "Because of this crisis, it's time for us to leave the Church. We've simply had enough."

Fight for what you believe in

Now, can I just say this? I totally understand people's feelings. I share them -- the feelings of anger and frustration. I get it. I get it. But can I also suggest, I think this is precisely the wrong strategy at this moment in the Church's life. Leaving is not what we ought to be doing. What we ought to be doing is fighting.

Lessons from history

Let me explain that with a little historical reference. One of my great heroes is Abraham Lincoln. And Lincoln, of course, operated politically at one of the most convulsive times in our national history, when slavery was threatening the very foundations of American democracy.

Lincoln knew from the beginning of his career that the nation, as he put it, couldn't survive half-slave and half-free. But he saw more profoundly too that slavery as an institution was repugnant to the very principles of American democracy.

Now, we can hear that in the Gettysburg Address. And in a way it's sad that that's become so cliché, that we all memorize it in high school. But let's go back to those words:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Notice he's articulating the principles that define American democracy: freedom and equality. Then he says, "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."

Abraham Lincoln's approach

He knew what was at stake in the war was American democracy itself. He knew that slavery was a kind of cancer that would undermine American ideals.

Now, I suppose at the time an option would have been simply to give up on the American experiment. "I'm leaving the country. I've had it. This thing is a disaster. I'm giving up."

But Lincoln wouldn't take that option. In fact, he led the country down the other path toward fighting -- fighting for the ideals of American democracy.

Standing for all that is good

Now, can I suggest everybody, I think something similar is at stake right now. The Catholic Church, its great principles and ideals; the Catholic Church, grounded in Jesus Christ, the love of God made manifest in him in his dying and his rising; the Catholic Church, in all of its power and beauty and perfection, is indeed threatened by this terrible scourge of sexual abuse. It is indeed a blight upon the Church. It is appropriate that people feel anger, frustration.

I suppose the option is on the table: leave. "I've had it. The thing is just too corrupt. I'm out of here." But see, I want to suggest everybody, that is not what is called for.

Called to engage

Rather, what's called for is the Lincoln option: fighting for the Church that we believe in so powerfully; seeing this blight, naming it clearly, unambiguously, but then fighting to set things right. It's not the moment for cutting and running. It's the moment for getting into the fight.


Bishop Robert Barron is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. Learn more at www.WordOnFire.org