(Originally posted at CARM)
I have seen a new slant to the postings of some here in this forum, that the actual beliefs of the RCC does not matter, but that what matters is the "fruits" of Catholics.
This, of course, is a major error in thinking. After thinking about it myself, I do see what they are trying to do.
Those people here who are attacking the church believe that Catholics only believe what they do (Assumption, PV of Mary, the Eucharist) because they are Catholic. So, their logic is that if they can convince us not to be Catholic, we will also abandon all the "unscriptural nonsense" that Catholics believe.
But here is the flaw in that argument. I do not believe in those things because I am Catholic. I am Catholic because I believe in those Dogmas. All Convincing me not to be Catholic would accomplish is either to drive me to the Orthodox faith, or away from religion all together, because if I am wrong, and you are wrong, then what is the point?
Those who would point out every error, sin, lapse in judgment, crime and questionable practice of this Bishop or that Priest or some church in the middle of nowhere are doing nothing to convince me that they are right, they are merely arguing that I am wrong. I have seen this on discussion boards before, rarely do radicals succeed in driving people away from the church and into their brand of Fundamentalism, if anything they succeed in driving people into agnosticism.
When Jesus preached to the people, he criticized the Jewish leaders for their hypocrisy and failing to practice what they preached. But never once did he claim Judaism was a false belief because of it. He said: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger."
Notice that Christ never says that they negate Judaism, but merely that they are hypocrites. It is a good statement of what Catholics believe about our Bishops. You could paraphrase this: "The (Bishops and Priests) have seated themselves in the (chairs of the apostles);
therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger."
Now, I feel this is a little harsh as the overwhelming majority of Priests and Bishops are good men. But I am trying to illustrate why posting story after story of a bad priest or a Bishop who did not do the right thing, will not affect my faith. Jesus never instructed the Jews to abandon their faith because of their questionable leadership, nor will I abandon mine.