Skip to content

The good side of the Catholic Church

May 4, 2010

Add to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to StumbleUponAdd to Twitter

Sisters of Mary

It was another black episode in the history of the Catholic Church when recently three bishops – Irish John Magee, Max Mixa from Germany and Belgian Roger Vangheluwe – resigned over abuse relates cases in one week. The ongoing stream of sexual and physical abuse cases in the Catholic Church is spreading out like a dark ink stain, first in the US and now all over Europe.

Like everyone else I feel intensely for the victims and the devastating effects the abuse, humiliation and betrayal have had on their lives. At the same time it strikes me how the entire Catholic Church is put in bad light by the scandals. Because without budging an inch when it comes to the horridness of what has happened on such a large scale, I see a different side of the Catholic Church as well. So different in fact that it almost seems a different church entirely.

On the one hand there is the hierarchical all-male church of the Vatican that often seems out of touch with reality. In this church rigidness and dogmatic beliefs rule and cover-ups for the sake of an institution and at the expense of its people have been tolerated far too long.

But there is also the grass-roots church of the street that we don’t hear about to often yet that deserves our greatest respect and admiration. Here we find innumerable hardworking, passionate priests and sisters who devote themselves everyday to the most unfortunate in society.

Father Rick at St. Helene orphanage in Haiti

This is the church of organizations like Catholic Relief Services, Caritas and big city charities such as Catholic Charities of New York. Through emergency aid as well as running food pantries, homeless shelters, educational funds and healthcare and AIDS programs they support the poor and vulnerable on a daily basis.

This is also the church of the countless missionaries in the underdeveloped world that operate schools, hospitals and orphanages thereby saving lives, nurturing children and offering them a way out of poverty.

In Haiti for example we find St. Hélène Orphanage, that ministers to the physical, emotional and educational needs of more than 500 children, and St. Damien Hospital, that provides medical care to as many as 30,000 patients annually. The missionary priests of the Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo work around the world. In Paraguay for example they operate a clinic for the terminally ill in the city of Asunción.

In the Philippines, Korea, Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil the more then 200 Sisters of Mary manage free-of-charge relief projects. Not only do they provide the children with basic needs of a safe home, food, and education, they also prepare them in their culture and environment for a better future in their own country.

And this is only a fraction of the incredible work Catholics do globally…

Sisters of Mary

Regarding the abuse cases, the church faces an enormous challenge in attempting to restore trust amongst Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Whether it will succeed relies importantly on how church officials, under the guidance of Pope Benedict XVI, will address and acknowledge victims and are willing to make changes to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

In this effort it wouldn’t hurt the church of the Vatican to take a good and close look at its fellow Catholic’s selfless dedication to those who need them most. In Matthew 25, verse 40 Jesus said that ”whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me”.

Now may that be an inspiration.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: