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 second article of a two article series.

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.

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.

Tips on fighting a good fight

And you say, “Well okay, Bishop, I get it. But how do I fight?” Look: You fight through your own righteous anger. You fight by writing a letter to your bishop, a letter to the pope.

You fight by your very presence at Mass. You fight by keeping people’s feet to the fire. You fight by organizing your fellow Catholics. Fight any way you can.

But you fight because you believe in the Church; you love the Church; and you realize that despite this terrible blight, it’s worth fighting for.

You know, keep in mind everybody, we are not Catholics because of the moral excellence of our leaders. I mean, God help us if we were. We want our leaders — indeed, we expect our leaders — to be morally excellent.

Consider why we are Catholic

But we are not Catholics because of that moral excellence. We’re Catholics because of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. We’re Catholics because of the Trinitarian love of God.

We’re Catholics because of the Mystical Body of Christ. We’re Catholics because of the sacraments. We’re Catholics especially because of the Eucharist. We’re Catholics because of the Blessed Mother.

We’re Catholics because of the saints. Even as leaders in the Church fail morally, the Catholic Church remains the Mystical Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. And she’s worth fighting for.

Keep this in mind too everybody: every baptized person is priest, prophet, and king. A couple of days ago I talked about the kingly office. Can I talk now about the prophetic office?

When Israel got off the rails — read the Old Testament, it happened on a regular basis: this community was meant to reflect the will of God into the world, Israel the chosen people of God, but frequently its leaders failed, frequently its people fell into sin, frequently it fell away from the Torah and the temple — what did God do?

Make some noise for faith

He called forth prophets: people like Jeremiah, people like Isaiah, people like Amos and Ezekiel, people like Zechariah. And they raised their voices — sometimes, yes, in very angry protest — about these corruptions within Israel.

You’re a prophet. Every one of you listening to me right now who is baptized into Jesus Christ is a prophet. Raise your voice! Prophets didn’t cut and run when Israel was in trouble; the prophets spoke out. That’s all of our responsibility, all of us who bear the prophetic charism.

What we’re fighting for

You know, perhaps a last thought here. I said it a couple of days ago, I’ll say it again. Whom are we fighting for? We’re not fighting primarily to save our institutions.

See, I’m with my old mentor Cardinal George of happy memory. In the last talk he ever gave to all the priests of Chicago, he said, “Remember, at the beginning of the Church, there were no parishes. There were no schools, hospitals, institutions. There were evangelists,” he reminded us. “There were proclaimers of the word.”

We are their voice

But the point was the Church does not depend ultimately on institutions. We’re not fighting primarily for that aspect of the Church’s life. We are fighting for the victims of these terrible crimes. We’re fighting for people who were sexually assaulted, sexually abused. If we cut and run precisely at this challenging time, who will be the prophetic voice on behalf of these victims?

So that’s my little cri de coeur, everybody — my cry from the heart. I get it. I get the frustration people feel. I share it. But this is not the moment to abandon the Church. This is the moment to fight for the Church.

May God bless you all.


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