Thursday, July 25, 2013

Christian Scandal ...

The Catholic Church is deeply troubled these days, and the trouble is what it always is: evil on the job, what we call sin. The problem is popularly called the "scandal." For Christians, however, being accused of scandal is an expectation, not a problem. It is how we know we are on the right track and not the wrong one.
We do not avoid scandal; we seek it out. Our Lord and Savior was fatherless, as the world saw it. His life therefore began in scandal. He was born destitute in a stable: also scandalous. Everything he advised was scandal - that fathers forgive sons who had renounced their birthrights, that prostitutes caught in the act not be punished, that the lame be healed on the Sabbath, that lepers be hugged, that Samaritans might be more righteous than priests, that servants are better than masters, that the donations of poor widows are better than the gifts of the wealthiest.
We wallow in scandal. In fact, as soon as we seek to avoid scandal, we run into trouble.
A bishop becomes aware of the evildoing of one of his priests and hides the fact so no scandal touches his diocese. That bishop thereby renounces every shred of advice Jesus ever gave. Only one horrific result is possible, and we have all witnessed it in the universal Church.
Protecting the weak instead of the powerful is the greatest scandal of all, be it a prostitute dragged naked to the town square to face the grim rage of fellow sinners, or a child walking into the arms of a priestly predator. The task of the follower of Jesus is simple: Step between the powerful aggressor and the helpless target. Side with the vulnerable one.

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