In the Wake of the Child Abuse Scandals in the Catholic Church

In the Wake of the Child Abuse Scandals in the Catholic Church

The recent scandals committed by clergy in the Roman Catholic Church with the thousands of victims, and these victims young boys and girls, is the focus of this essay.

I am not a Catholic Christian, but I am a Christian, and all of us who openly identify with Jesus Christ are tarnished by the events that go deep into the Vatican itself. And this is not something new, either.

What follows is a reporting of a conversation I had this morning with members of the local clergy.

First, someone said the exposure of the abuse has nothing to do with homosexuality but everything to do with pedophilia. And to suggest it has to do with homosexual behavior is homophobic. I take issue with this.

I have been around too long to cringe at this slanderous statement. As a pastor for fifty plus years, I have seen plenty. Yes, not all the molestations are of a homosexual nature, but most are. The altar boys are just right there.

Second, I mentioned that there is a pro-gay contingent at the heart of the issue, which is rooted, and deeply, in the Vatican itself. And the issue is not about celibacy either, meaning clergy has to find some sort of sexual outlet since marriage is not permitted them.[1]

Third, there is nothing new about clergy engaging sexually with youth under their care and guidance. It has been going on for centuries.

Everything changes when the molester holds the power of salvation over the victim’s head. In the Roman Catholic Church, salvation is only attainable through the Church itself, with the rites of baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, and the other “sacraments.”

Sacraments are rites and rituals that confer salvation, and the Church’s clergy give out the sacraments. So what we are seeing now is none other than the abuse of power.

Fourth, power is always the corrupting element. For so long the molesters could get away with what they did because of the power they held over others, plus the ability to cover up the crimes in case there would be complaints.

We happen to live in a day when whistle blowers are honored and protected, and thus it should be. So a crisis is brewing in the sacred halls of clerical power.

Correspondingly, we live in an age when homosexual behavior is almost sacrosanct, and by this I mean, one dare not even suggest there is anything wrong with homosexual behavior. Even those who say they stand with the “Word of God” equivocate. But there are still those of us who will say, “No! homosexual behavior is wrong, it is sinful.”

Fifth, as a sinner myself it is no simple thing to point the finger at others. Quickly the story of the woman taken in adultery comes to mind. Jesus said to the woman’s accusers, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone at her” (John 8:7). Then the Apostle Paul referred to himself, and in the present tense, as the chief or foremost of sinners. (see 1 Timothy 1:15)

Sixth, a way out of this morass may be the recognition that no human being, no church, no group, gives the gift of eternal life. Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. (see John 14:6)

This great truth frees people from being fearful of exposing clergy abuse. This alone must be the message of those who call themselves Christians.

Seventh, it is not homophobic, or hate speech, to call homosexual behavior sin. Yes, in a culture that is bent on appeasing and promoting homosexuality, there is a cost to pay. Indeed, many         will be cowed by the fear of being labeled homophobic. However, we who follow Jesus must be braver than this. We must make a decision. Will we strive to avoid criticism from those who want to fit into the massive trend to okay sinful behavior? Or will we desire to honor the One who created us male and female and gave us the gift of marriage?

A final personal word: This is not a political statement. No one knows how I vote and I advocate for no one. But because I do not want this essay to be rejected out of hand by someone saying, “Well, what do you expect from a Trumpite!” I tell you right now I did not vote for President Trump. I advocate for Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Kent Philpott

September 2018

[1] There is nothing in the Bible stating that preachers, pastors, and other church leaders are not to marry. The history of celibacy is long and complex, but for it being a biblical mandate is absolutely false.

# 14 The Parable of the Talents Matthew 25:14-30

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 14

The Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:14-30

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. This parable is remarkably similar to the Parable of the Ten

Minas of Luke 19:11-27.

  1. A talent, some commentators say is worth 20 years of labor.
  2. A very wealthy man before leaving on a long journey gives 5 talents to one servant, two to another, and one to still another.
  3. The servants with five and two talents put the money to work and each doubled their money as a result.
  4. The third, however, thinking the boss was an exacting and difficult person, hid his one talent in the ground.
  5. An accounting is given when the master comes back. He finds the one with five talents now has ten to give him. The master says he is “a good and faithful” servant. Likewise with the servant who had two talents, now has four, is also “a good and faithful” servant. And to both of these he says, “I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
  6. The servant who hid the talent in the ground did not hear the master’s words of praise and reward.
  7. The Master scolds the “wicked and slothful” servant and tells him he should have at least gotten interest from the money with bankers.
  8. This servant now has his talent taken from him. And this procedure, the faithful servant is given more while, the unfaithful servant suffers loss and loss to the extreme.
  9. The unfaithful servant is now cast into the outer darkness, a place of pain and torment.
  10. The point of the parable: the faithful servant goes about his or her work using what the Master has given each one.

 

THE PARABLES OF JESUS # 13 The Parable of the Ten Virgins Matthew 25:1-13

THE PARABLES OF JESUS # 13

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Matthew 25:1-13

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. The background to the parable is the wedding customs of the Jewish people in that era. The bridesmaids (known as virgins) would gather with the bride for the arrival of the bridegroom.
  8. The timing of the arrival was usually at night but the bridesmaids would not know exactly when. There is some indication that the wedding processional would be in the wee hours.
  9. Since the event would take place at night, it was necessary for the virgins to have their torches ready along with a supply of oil. A miscalculation might mean the virgins without enough oil for their lamps would be left out.
  10. Sure enough, five of the bridesmaids were caught without enough oil for their lamps as the bridegroom tarried. They would be then left out then, a truly sad event.
  11. It would seem that those with a supply of oil might share with those who needed more. But no, the “wise” virgins realized there would not be enough oil for all so they advised the other five to purchase some from oil dealers.
  12. As the “foolish” bridesmaids were off to buy more oil, the bridegroom and his companions arrived to usher the virgins off to the wedding.
  13. Not willing to give up, the five with a fresh supply of oil, nevertheless showed up at the wedding party.
  14. Shockingly, the “master” or bridegroom in this scenario, refused and even said, “I do not know you.”
  15. The single point of the parable is that Jesus’ followers are to be ready for His second coming. which was largely the subject of the previous chapter, Matthew 24.
  16. In Revelation 19:6-10 is the story of the marriage supper of the Lamb. The theme of a bride, the church, bridesmaids, individual members of the Church, and the bridegroom, Jesus Himself, paint both a beautiful and joyous picture, but a tragic one as well.

 

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 12 Parable of the Two Sons and the Wedding Feast Matthew 21:28-31 & Matthew 22:1-14

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 12

Parable of the Two Sons and the Wedding Feast

Matthew 21:28-31 & Matthew 22:1-14

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. The audience for the Two Sons parable are the religious leaders who rejected John the Baptist, who did not cater to their ideals. However, the worst of the worst, the tax collectors and prostitutes, did.
  8. So the parable of the Two Sons: one said he would not go to the work but did, the other said he would but did not. The ‘losers’ embraced John’s testimony about Jesus while the chief priests and elders did not. Jesus is not scolding as much as reaching out to these leaders.
  9. Then a king gave a wedding feast for his son. Is Jesus making a comparison with a king of that era and His being a Son of the King?
  10. The king sends his servants out to invite people to the feast but none of these would come. So the king sent others out who let it be known how wonderful the feast would be.Yet again, no one came to the feast. They even treated these servants badly, killing some of them. But the king did not give up.
  11. Now the king gives fresh orders to his servants. He has them go out broadly, not to the usual places, but to the roads and invited everyone, both good and bad. Soon the wedding hall was filled.
  12. The king came into the wedding hall to see the guests. Doing so he found one of these who did not have on a wedding garment. It was common for the host of the wedding, in this case the king, to supply wedding garments for the guests as these would be costly and few if any would have such.
  13. The king now asks the improperly dressed person how he got into the wedding feast in the first place. This person was “speechless.”
  14. The king’s servants were then ordered to cast the person out, and into the “outer darkness” where here would be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This two phrases meant the casting into hell and away from the presence of God to people of that era.
  15. Jesus concludes the parable with, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Though the religious leaders were called, not all of them, few of them, were chosen, thus reflecting on their rejection of John.