Some of you may have heard a local radio station this past week playing essentially a marathon of Protestant preaching against the Catholic Church in light of the most recent round of scandals. And on one hand I get it. If you already protest the Catholic Church, then the sins of some of the highest ranking leaders in the Church would probably be worth banging a drum over.
First of all, let me say from the pulpit, yet again, that I am exhorting all of you to continue to demand transparency, accountability, and thorough forensic investigations of what all has happened with money, sins, cover-ups, and more.
This is not an overnight fix, and I think we have more dark times ahead as thankfully more information will continue to come to the light of truth. For those who hate the Church, this will make for a royal feast.
But I would also say this. The Catholic Church is a family. And if you come into our family and try to talk people into leaving – if you try to take advantage of this situation to preach against the Catholic Church then I directly rebuke that and I say “Get behind me Satan, you are thinking as men do and not as God does.” I do not think they are actually Satan, as Jesus didn’t think Peter was actually Satan, but I say as Jesus to the tempter – get behind me
The thinking of men is this – the higher in the Church you move, the holier you must be
I became Catholic because
1) My awesome parents baptized me and brought me to Church
2) Wonderful teachers, lay people, sisters, priests etc. formed me and walked with me
3) Catholic education for 12 years
1) I believe that when Jesus said in the Gospel today that “I am the Bread of Life” He meant it literally and
2) When Jesus said to Peter “On this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of the nether world shall not prevail against it” he also meant that literally. Not an ethereal theoretical merely spiritual Church, a real concrete THING with sinful people leading it
And so to return for a moment to the preachers on the radio. I listen quite often to them as I’m driving around. I hear lots of good things. But let me tell you something, I also here insanity. There is a lot of solely Bible preaching that goes something like this:
“Friends, I want you to take out your Bibles and turn to Acts such and such…(teaching) and then friends, I now want you to turn to verse such and such…(teaching)”
Let me say this really clearly – if you let me pick 5 verses from the Bible I can teach anything you want. You could literally put every topic under Heaven, even quite contradictory topics, in a hat, pull one out, and you could justify it with 30 minutes of Bible preaching.
Topics could include:
1) Why God wants you to have a yacht
2) Why God wants everyone to own nothing
3) Why war is good
4) Why war is always evil
5) Why the Bible says you must vote for Pat the politician
6) Why the Bible says you CAN’T vote for Pat the politician
7) Why you should leave your family and join a cult
And so to the Bible preaching folks trying to get people to leave the Catholic Church, I would say there are 30,000 different and very contradictory denominations of protestant Christianity. Get your own house in order before you invite anyone to leave THIS home.
It is hard right now (and it will be hard for the rest of time) to stay in the Catholic Church
It is even harder when you hear your priest say something, and you turn on the radio and you hear someone attacking that idea
If it is Father Hollowell vs. Bible preachers on the radio, you might start to wonder
So here’s what I ask you to do. READ the lives of the Saints and READ Church history. It isn’t Father Hollowell vs. Bible preaching people attacking the Church
This is an ENTIRE BOOK of 2000 years of quotes of saints ALL saying the same thing: The bread and wine truly become Jesus Christ on the altar, and that changes everything
This book includes Men and women. Lay saints. Pope saints. Cardinal saints. Monks and nuns. Black saints. White saints. Asian saints. Mexican Saints. Saints that walked with Jesus and His Apostles. Saints that lived 2,000 years later.
Through the next two weeks of Gospels Jesus will reiterate seemingly 100 times “I am the bread of life, you must consume me, it is true flesh and true blood, if you don’t consume my flesh you will not have eternal life”…at the end of all that Jesus turns and asks an amazing, beautiful question that gets me teared up every time he looks at his Apostles as lots of people are bailing on him and He says “Do you want to leave too?”
He looks at us and asks the same question in the face of these scandals – “Do you want to leave”. I pray every day that my response and yours is the same as Peter’s: “Where else could we go Lord? You have the words of everlasting life”