Bishops bathing in a river. Fernando Botero
Failing in 'good faith' - kind of like, 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions'.
I really wasn't paying attention to the Bishop Finn story, but some details were brought to my attention this past weekend by a couple of readers.
Rod Dreher, a former Catholic who left the Church mainly because of the way bishops handled the sex abuse scandal, recently wrote a post about growing disenchantment with the bishops amongst Catholics - his thoughts were related to the Bishop Finn case. What did I think of what he had to say? The best part of his post - for me at least - was Dreher's comment concerning Catholics devastated by the failures of the institutional Church and its 'leadership class'*: "Many of the Catholics I know who have held on to their faith despite the scandal are people who always held the episcopate and the clergy in a certain unfavorable regard."
Works for me. I only returned to the Church because Christ is really, truly present in the Eucharist, and sins are forgiven in the sacrament of penance. I can't really say that I have an unfavorable regard for priests and bishops, but neither do I 'idolize' them, as some would suggest Catholics do. Though I've known 'fallen' priests, and my distress and disappointment in their fall has been deep - not so much because I had placed them on a pedestal, but because I knew them, and was confident that they were faithful and solid and stable. Rather than drive me away from the Church, their fall from grace has made me more aware of how frail, weak, and inconstant mortal man is, and more importantly, how unsure our salvation can be.
As for Bishop Finn? I have nothing to contribute.
The blog Waiting for Gadot to Leave has some interesting things to say however.
*Interesting choice of words, others, who dislike the hierarchy, refer to it as a caste system. In both cases, it suggests servility to clergy, and seems to issue from a certain anti-clericalism. There is the 'anti-clericalism of the saints' and then there is the anti-clericalism of dissent. Very often it is difficult to recognize the difference.