Recently I was asked whether, in light of the recent media reports on institutional abuse by some members of the Catholic Church, I have lost my faith. I answered ’no’.
That response surprised my questioner. He wondered how I could seriously listen to the dreadful things that have been happening (supposedly) in the name of the Church and still believe. I gave this explanation: “you asked if I have lost my faith because I have discovered that there are members of the Church who are not only imperfect, but who have also participated in evil. As terrible and appalling as these events have been, discovering that members of the Church are imperfect is no surprise to me. In my experience no human being is perfect, and I've discovered over the years that many human beings are capable of downright evil. It's how we deal with the evil we encounter that matters - be that in the Church or outside it.
"The question inferred that my faith is in the Church. It is not and neither should it be. My faith is in God. Specifically, in the love of God as expressed in my life by his gentle invitation to be reborn through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ his Son. I love and respect the Church to the degree to which it leads me and others into this gentle invitation. To the degree to which it fails to do that, the Church deserves whatever is coming to it."
This article is part of Faith Journey, a newsletter from the National Centre for Evangelisation.