Catholics and credibility
Út 05 dubna 2016
(originally started as a comment on the article on First Things).
I completely agree with all this article says about the God's mercy. Unfortunately, it seems to me that you mostly ignored the path through the natural law, God’s teaching get to people. As I see it (and yes, I am a Protestant, so I just look from the outside) the biggest reason why so many Catholics don't follow the teaching of the Magisterium is that the hierarchy lacks credibility and trust of its people. And trust is something which can be only earned or lost, not demanded.
Why should Catholic married couple put their life on the line (literally, if I am not mistaken a pregnant woman is not allowed to get the abortion even if she is in a danger of her health), when the hierarchy doesn't? Particularly in the sexual arena, we have Cardinal Law living comfortably in Vatican instead of being in a jail, where (many believe) he belongs? In the non-sexual sphere, we have former bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst helicoptered to Vatican as well, and he most likely won't face prosecution of defrauding his diocese of millions of Euros for his personal luxury. Getting to it, why should lay Catholics living out there in the wild follow teachings of those who are living a life with insurance (if you screw up too much, you will be lifted to Vatican to avoid embarrassment for the Catholic Church; and yes I know that particularly your diocese was not involved in any of such scandals)?
Hmm, a thought sneaks in: why there is a Vatican as a separate state at all? All other religions in the world, all other denominations are doing just fine without their own special banks following their own rules (and laundering money while doing that; and if a bishop talks about it, he is immediately sacked … e.g., bishop Róbert Bezák of Trnava, Slovakia), hiding people who do not deserve to be hidden, etc.
I am afraid the change will happen only when the Catholic hierarchy will start to really desire credibility. When the relevance and impact of the Gospel will be more important for them than their comfort, security, and insured life. Perhaps, abolishing the Vatican statehood may be one good step?