In Oregon an evil cloud camps over the Catholic Church as certain priests stand accused of pedophilia. The scandal is not unique to this northwestern state. Perhaps what is lost in this brooding scandal is the misleading charge of the press. First, the real issue is not whether the cause of these problems is the vow of celibacy priests invoke. Second, it is more than abusing boys that is occurring, it is homosexual relationships—something the press will not touch for fear of offending the homosexual community.
The root of the problem is much deeper than abstaining from sex. History is long in examples of clergy (Catholic and Protestant) who strayed from vows—whether vows of celibacy or vows to be faithful to one’s spouse. A man can wear the cloth that identifies him as a follower of God. But if his heart is intent on pleasing himself than his true allegiance is in question.
Sadly, many people will use the unfaithfulness of clergymen to prove the unreliability of Christianity. They will cite bigoted words of Billy Graham to Richard Nixon as proof that religious leaders are really phonies. They will conjure the Crusades to contest the Gospel. They will trump hypocrisy as license for godlessness. But to do this is to err spiritually. It is not Christianity that we worship and it is not Christianity that saves sinners. Nor should we find God derelict for the actions of those who follow their own misguided causes under the guise of religion. Nowhere does the Bible call us to pick up our cross and follow Father Clancy. It is holy Jesus, the cross-hanging, grave-departing Savior, who calls us to follow Him. God will not absolve me of sin because I was turned off by the sins of others. He will judge me on whether or not I obeyed Him.
Psalm 19:13--Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule over me. Then I will be innocent and cleansed from blatant rebellion.
Sin is disobedience to the known will of God. I hope in these days where wickedness seems to be the plant most watered in the garden, we will fall to our knees and beg God to keep our eyes on Christ. Let us not give in to evil and let us not fail to pray for those who have fallen. There are many good servants of the Lord—leaders who work hard to honor their Lord and keep Him first. But there is only One perfect Savior. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves again of those four beautiful words, “In God We Trust.”
Sin is the outcome of a relationship God never ordained, a relationship that maintains itself by means of a wrong disposition, namely, my claim to my right to myself. That is the essence of sin.—Oswald Chambers in Disciples Indeed
Sin is not an unfortunate slip or a regrettable act; it is a posture of defiance against a holy God.—Max Lucado
©2002 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)