Friday, June 13, 2014
We Are All Sinners
The Pope is the Successor of the Apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ. Some of our Protestant brothers never understood why we follow a Pope when he is merely a man. "We should be following Christ," they often say. Little do they know that Christ's ministry is carried on by men.
History will show that all the Popes were sinners starting with the Apostle Peter who denied Christ three times. So, why would anyone find it shocking to find that even bishops and priests were also sinners? Who among us is perfect that they can actually cast a stone to the Archbishop of Guam?
History will show that corruption and immorality were sins committed by some bishops of Rome. But what does that prove, except that they, like the Apostles were not always faithful to the graces God gave them? This is true of all of us, to one extent or another. Yet, we have seen that Christ entrusts important work to men who are sinners.
In the Holy Bible, Jesus points to the Jewish leaders and reminds his audience that they possessed a God-given authority to teach. This authority was valid even though many of them were corrupt. This explains why even today the teachings of the Catholic Church remains intact despite the sins of the Pope, bishops, and priests. Jesus made it clear that even though men were personally corrupt and unworthy of their position of authority, they nonetheless had that authority, which Christ told them to respect.
Matthew 23:1-3 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying, "The Scribes and Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all the things whasoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice."
Today, this chair of Moses is the chair of Peter. We are to respect the Pope and all Church leaders. This is taught in the Catholic Church.
CCC 1269 Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to "obey and submit" to the Church's leaders, holding them in respect and affection. Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.
Hebrews 13:17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not contradict the Holy Bible. Obedience to our Church leaders is not easy because for almost all of us, we prefer to do our own will rather than the will of God. Almost all of us trust ourselves rather than trust God. Yet, as St. Padre Pio said, "The will of the authorities is the will of God." We are all sinners. The Church teaches us that when someone hurts us, we are to forgive the person rather than carry a grudge against the person. Christ taught us that if someone slaps us on one cheek, give the other cheek. This is the hardest, but it is not impossible to do with Christ.
For more than 2000 years, the teachings of the Church have remained intact, not because of sinful men who ministers the liturgies and the sacraments, but because Christ is the Head of the Church who leads her into all truths. We trust that Christ continues to lead His Church through the leaders He appointed.