Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Msgr. Albacete gives some historical perspective

I have commented in numerous places that those stating that the Church is facing a catastrophe because of the sex abuse scandal and its aftermath are overstating the case. I've also argued against drawing too-strict comparisons between our situation today and that of the Church prior to the Reformation.

I'm happy to be able to point to someone worthy of much greater esteem than myself to confirm the latter point. In the May 6, 2002 issue of New Republic, Michael Sean Winters quotes (at the bottom of the article) Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, who told Winters, "If, in addition to all the terrible things we have learned, if tomorrow it was revealed that the pope had a harem, that all the cardinals had made money on Enron stock and were involved in Internet porno, then the situation of the Church today would be similar to the situation of the Church in the late twelfth century ... when Francis of Assisi first kissed a leper."

Not only does this quote give some perspective to how bad things have been at various points in the Church's history (and how things today are far from the worst), it points to the solution: saints. As Fr. Neuhaus writes in the new issue of First Things -- after this quote from Msgr. Albacete -- "In short, the Church will only be renewed by saints, meaning sinners -- bishops, priests, and all the faithful -- responding to the universal call to holiness."

Don't just Be Happy. Be Holy.

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