Magnification of the Church’s wrongdoings and their unfair application.
“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:15
“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.” – Corinthians 4:5
That horrors and crimes occurred within or via the Catholic Church is no secret to anyone who’s ever read a history book. In fact, these appalling events do discourage many from seeking the positive things Catholicism offers. Sometimes we are so outraged at the negative that we won’t or can’t look at the good.
While there is no justification for wrongdoings committed by people in the Catholic Church, there is an explanation.
It began in the Garden of Eden, continued through the history of God’s people, Israel’s Kingdom and into Jesus’s days on earth. Jesus removed the death-sentence wrought by our sins but He never removed sin itself. Every person has free will to choose good- or evil.
God’s own people whom He created, called out of slavery and redeemed have perpetuated most-vile, sinful acts. The same happens in the Catholic Church. Time and time, those choosing sin despite their high-calling as saints, clerics and missionaries, disappoint God. Indeed, many Christians probably didn’t make it to heaven. Even for them the gate is narrow.
It’s hard dealing with any church or ministry that violates the Gospel it claims to preach. This also includes other churches besides the Catholic one. When faced with humanity’s great capacity for evil, one must cry with Jesus on the cross: “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
The anti-Catholic role is refusal to take Christ’s attitude. Instead some people fester at the Church’s shortcomings and use them to attack Catholics living today who had no hand in them at all. When refuting the Church, they bring up sin after sin using them as ammunition. Nothing can undo the Crusades; every Catholic must apologize for it. Every Catholic must wage a personal war against immoral clergy or else he is just as guilty. This attitude is unfair and damages truthful dialogue.
The Christian apologist, G.K. Chesterton has said: “Any opponent of the Roman Church in history must acknowledge that in addition to producing great infamies, it produced great saints.”
Fairness is seeing good as well as bad. Just like humans, organizations made up of humans are both righteous and wicked. The truth is, Catholic Church leaders have already voiced apology for past wrongdoings. Faithful Catholics in our time have never declared an inquisition or burned a heretic. Like most Christians, they want to live holy lives and spread the Gospel- and gladly would work with fellow-Christians.
Those sitting in judgment of the Catholic Church should remember they themselves will account to God for every word and deed- and pray that God is more forgiving.
~Rachel M. Gohlman is a convert to Catholicism from Evangelical Protestantism. She is the author of the "Misadventures of Cardinal Fratelli" book -series and is known on facebook for her apologetics work. She is a graduate from Bradley University in Peoria.