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Maybe it's Molock Obama or Cardinals Mahoney/Schoenberg.

Sometimes, the way the hierarchy behaves, it's almost possible to believe some of the Protestant drivel.

I mean the Blessed Mother is least likely to appear to a bishop.

Bishops have repeatedly not recognized the voice of the Blessed Mother or even her Son in requests relayed to them.

Then let's look at how religious superiors vex saints in their midst.

How can people so spiritually "tone deaf" rise to positions of leadership in Holy Mother Church?

Why does God allow these people to hurt/damage/maim or taint so many people's faith?

Why so many wolves tending the flock?

It seems like an instance of His children asking for bread and being given a [mill] stone instead.
I hear your anger and am right with ya.
The mystics no longer become leaders, as St. Teresa of Avila and St. Francis of Assisi did.  Of course they weren't bishops but they founded and administered orders.  I wonder how many bishops today would have the courage to go to their deaths for the Church, as St. John Fisher, who was a bishop, and many other saints have done.  Now we have CEO bishops.
Worldly hiearchy is really nothing new--it just takes different forms depending on what the world is valuing at the time. In the past, bad prelates acted like worldly feudal lords, caring only about acquiring property and receiving honors from other important people, rather than good shepherds and apostles. Today, they act like modern versions of the bad feudal lord: CEOs and politicians. There's a reason many saints avoided receiving a bishopric like the plague--there's a lot of possibel pitfalls and occasions for sin. St. Robert Bellarmine, for example, became a Jesuit because at the time they were never given bishoprics--too bad for him (but good for the Church) he was made one anyway! This kind of attitude is very common in saints. 

And it is true that bad prelates can harm the faith of many. For example, in the 14th century Our Lady told St. Bridget that there were "confessors and martyrs from Peter to Celestine," but when Boniface VIII ascended the "throne of pride" he pretty much sucked the holiness out of the Church, and in St. Bridget's time, decades later, the Church was still a mess as a result.

So why does God allow the sins of some to harm others? That is the million dollar question. However, like any tribulation, we should see bad prelates as an opportunity for greater holiness in ourselves. In my estimation, that is ultimately why God allows them. Bearing them with faith, patience, and compassion--and offering true and humble obedience--can be very purifying and earn us great merit.

As an aside, didn't St. Francis have someelse be the superior of the Friars Minor so he could be obedient?

I think we as laity always have to remember that they are human beings, and as such are sinners like the rest of us. Sure they are held to a higher standard because they have lots of responsibility and are highly visible, so their mistakes count for more.  God gives vocations to all sorts of people because the Church requires many different talents and dispositions. It's not their fault they're management material, but it would be nice if instead of acting as barriers they'd do the opposite, would it not?  They've been allowed too much free reign, I think, and need more training/formation related to their posts, as well as closer supervision from Rome both in spiritual and temporal matters.  It irks me especially to hear of parishes closing - there's no way they can spin that one and make it sound good.
All power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Forget who said that, but it's true.  With power comes the temptation to abuse it and/or use it for something it was not intended.

Part of Luther's and the Protestant complaints about a corrupt clergy were true, and Pope St. Pius V had to clean house.  But, a bad hierarchy doesn't give license to heresy and/or schism.

The clergy had corruption issues from the beginning.  Judas was an Apostle, and he went for money.  Simon Magus wanted the Sacrament of Holy Orders without a calling and for dubious reasons.  And the Pharisees are a whole other story of bad religious people.

Nutty prelates are just a different form of corruption: intellectual (and possibly spiritual).

So, at least we know it is nothing new.

As for why God allows it, it's because His Church has a definite human element.  He gives us many of the Sacraments through other humans.  Confession, Holy Orders, Confirmation, Last Rites, Communion, Baptism are all administered by one person to another (in Communion the Sacrament is confected by the priest, obviously), and in Marriage the Sacrament is mutually administered, in a sense, by the man and woman to each other.

So, it's clear in everything related to the Sacraments He wants humans to use their prudential judgment.  Sometimes, prudence is lacking, and a bad person is made a priest or bishop.  Othertimes, knowledge is lacking to make a prudential decision - a director of vocations may not know a person harbors heretical thoughts.  Likewise, a priest may not know that a person saying they intend to mend their ways really doesn't, but gives the Sacrament anyhow.

So if God allows us to use prudence in administring the Sacraments, it seems to me administring the offices of the hierarchy (i.e., granting them) is the same thing, and, of course, the Sacraments themselves are more precious than any sort of title in the sense of "Head of the CDF", for example.

If God allows human judgment in the administering of the Holy Sacraments, it seems to make sense He would allow it for something less precious such as administring of offices.

"Why does God trust us at all?"  May be a better question.  It seems to me that answer comes down to the same reason for why He saved us.  He loves us and wants us to have a chance to do right or wrong and come to Him freely with love and obedience.  That goes for the hierarchy of His Church as well.


I think Quis has a good answer.

The love we are called to is not just between the individual and God, but also other people as well (like the Trinitarian community of Persons). We all bring the love of God to those who need it and in doing so we partake of that divine love ourselves. (
1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and have heard, we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.) We of course, all do this in different ways: parents by raising their children, missionaries by going forth to teach all nations, religious by praying for others, etc., etc. and clergy in a very special way by offering the Mass, administering the sacraments and governing and teaching.

Ultimately God's love is a gift. We do not receive it of our own sufficiency or merit, nor does it depend on our merit when we share it with others. We hand on to others something that is from God and not from us. Again, this is especially the case with the clergy. The Mass and Sacraments are gifts from God which are not earned by the minister's merit. I think bad clergy help keep us humble knowing that just as what they hand on is a gift from God not based on their merit, we should not look at our own merit as we seek to receive and spread the love of God.


Quis, what a wonderful explanation. Thank you.
QuisUtDeus Wrote:
Quote:All power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Forget who said that, but it's true.  With power comes the temptation to abuse it and/or use it for something it was not intended.

The "all power" quote comes from Lord Acton of England.

Quote:"Why does God trust us at all?"  May be a better question.  It seems to me that answer comes down to the same reason for why He saved us.  He loves us and wants us to have a chance to do right or wrong and come to Him freely with love and obedience.  That goes for the hierarchy of His Church as well.

Well, for those who think or feel that His Love isn't enough because this corruption is allowed, they'll say "Why not despair?"