I am not one to be a knee-jerk critic of the Roman Catholic Church. As a participant for fifteen years in the discussions known as Evangelicals and Catholics together, I have made many friends within that communion and have come to appreciate - without wholeheartedly embracing - its theology and methods, as well as its heritage and vision.
The sex scandals coming, with increasing regularity, to light within the Church, however, leave me disgusted. Why does it always seem that the Church's first response is to protect the Church from embarrassment, by hushing allegations, moving offending priests away into safer confines, and refusing to discover and resolve whatever the root causes of this horrible evil might be?
The Church in all its communions exists as the Body of Christ to overthrow the works of the devil, not to shelter them. Our first response when sin comes to light must not be to protect offenders but to purify or, that failing, purge them.
How can any communion of Christians expect its message to be taken seriously when the most visible communion acts as shamefully as Rome does each time these perversities come to light? It is time for judgment to begin at the household of God, no matter where it needs to fall. And let the other communions of the Body of Christ take note and take action to cleanse themselves of whatever shameful little secrets they are presently refusing to address.
This is an occasion for tears. All the Body of Christ stands convicted in the shameful actions of one of its members. Do we need yet more evidence, or any more pointed word from the Lord, that the time for repentance has come? If we condemn Rome, while holding on to our own sins, or if Rome treats this latest round of scandal they way it has in the past - only acting with a modicum of justice when they're finally outed - then the Church as a whole will suffer yet more scorn and despite.
If, however, we repent with tears, pleading with God to cleanse and renew us, our tears of sorrow for our sins, coupled with earnest prayer for reviving grace, may bring a season of refreshment at last.
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