Thursday, June 17, 2004

Rumors, rumors, and scandals

There are rumors floating around of some new awful clergy abuse story coming up soon. I'm not going to link to it--you can find such things for yourself if you are interested in them. I'm going to repost something I wrote on scandals and faith.

How many scandals are too many?

I had this thought the other day, and since I have a blog, every thought must be published! Here it is: there have been lots of people recently who claim that they just can't belong to a church which has so many abusive clerics. But what if there were only one priest who abused a child? Would that be enough to get you out of the Church? How about two? Three? If not three, then maybe ten? How about fifty? If one isn't enough, then how come fifty or a hundred is enough? Where is the limit? If one scandal is not enough to destroy your faith, but a hundred is enough, then we can put a value on your faith. John Doe's faith is strong enough to withstand 49 scandals, but no more. Mary Jane's faith can only withstand 10 scandals.

But faith is not a deal made with God: "I'll believe in You and follow You as long as less than 49 of Your ministers don't betray me!" It is a personal relationship with God which involves putting all of one's eggs into God's basket. We accept the free gift of salvation from God. But like all gifts, we can't put conditions on it. We can't say to Grandma that she can give us Christmas presents as long as it's an electric train and not a sweater. We just have to accept what we are given. We can't have faith in God and then reject it if difficulties arise. It would be bad manners. It wouldn't really be faith.

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