How can anyone remain Catholic after scandal?

When things get tough and messy, is it better to walk away? Cornelius, who identifies himself as a non-Catholic Christian, says that he is a history buff and has done a lot of research on the major religions in the world, especially Catholicism. Seeing all the scandals throughout the history of the Church even until today, he wonders how any person can support the Catholic Church in spite of it all.

How can someone be Catholic after all the scandal?

“There have been many, the sex abuse scandals and other scandals that have been caused today and throughout the centuries in the Church. My quick response would be I believe that the Catholic Church is the Bride of Christ … and Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth unlike our other Christian brothers in the same way. So that alone, for me, is reason for me to remain, to stay, and to love and to believe,” responded Fr. Marcel Taillon, guest host of Go Ask Your FatherTM on Relevant Radio®.

“I would point out to you that the first Twelve Apostles—Judas created a scandal. He took his own life and betrayed Christ and unlike Peter, did not seek the mercy of God. And he was scheduled to be an apostle, he wasn’t just a Johnny-come-lately, he was with Jesus all those times. The Church started really both with redemption and scandal on the first day.”

As with any other major organization, scandal is inevitable. The Church is not immune; her members are human, sinners. “The Catholic Church is enormous—the largest religious body in the world—we’ll have the most saints and the most problems and challenges because we’re the biggest, because there is so much people and complexity in the Church, in her members,” said Fr. Taillon.

Despite how horrific a scandal or abuse may be in the history of the Church, Fr. Taillon assures Cornelius that the good of the Church is not negated by the sins of some, even the hierarchy or clergy. “Back in the early centuries people questioned if there’s a priest who offers sacraments and he’s not living a holy life, are the sacraments valid? And very early on, the authority of the Church guided by the Holy Spirit said yes, those sacraments are valid—that the validity of sacraments and the encounter of Jesus with his people is not determined by the holiness of the clergy.”

“Any scandal is bad, certainly sexual abuse is deplorable, it’s evil, it’s criminal, it’s all those things that we all are just aghast at as we hear these things,” agreed Fr. Taillon. “But why would I never leave the Church? Because I’m in love and I experience Divine Love, I experience Jesus. I experience Jesus in other priests, in the teaching authority of the Church, the tradition of the Church, all those things. I know she’s true, I know she’s right; I could never leave.”

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.