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Rejoice in the Church

By Susan Ciancio

I was saddened to read this story about a priest who stole his parishioners’ money and used it for his own personal gain, including sexual gratification. This is exactly the type of fodder that the culture of death pounces on and loves to shove in our faces. “See?” they say. “The Catholic Church is corrupt and immoral.” Or “The Catholic Church is full of old men who prey on children.”

But this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Catholic Church is the one true Church founded by Christ Himself, and it stands for everything that is true and good in life. Some people are corrupt and immoral. Some people prey on children. But this is not the Church. The people who do these things are flawed—and sometimes evil—human beings. And while it’s shameful that they represent the Catholic Church, they are not the Church.

No, our Church teaches that we should see the dignity in every single person—born and preborn, disabled and able-bodied, and elderly and young. Our Church teaches that we are not to kill, so through this we know that not only is it wrong to rob someone and kill him, we know that abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide are wrong too. Our Church teaches that family is the foundation of society, so we know that the sacramental nature of marriage means that we must be faithful to our spouses and open to children. Our Church teaches that we must open our hearts and minds to the word of God by going to Mass, reading the Bible, discussing our faith with others, and doing good for others. In essence, we are to look at our fellow man and see the face of Christ—and then we are to treat each person accordingly.

Though stories like the one above may disgust you or leave you feeling unsure about your faith or the Church, do not despair! Remember that for every one of these sensationalized stories, there are hundreds of stories of faithful and Godly priests who go about their days acting in the person of Christ. They listen to people’s problems, they sit with sick parishioners, they officiate weddings, they baptize, they counsel grief-stricken parents, and they answer your 2am call. And, like this priest, they take the time on a rainy night to bless a rosary. They do all of this because that is what Christ asked of them—what He asked of all of us—when he said: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

So, don’t be sad. Rejoice in the Church and in the people who make her what she is. Rejoice in Christ’s teaching. And do your best to extend that teaching in everything you do.