The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church. That was Jesus’ promise to us. He promised to always be with us, and that the gates of Hell would not prevail. I think that this was not just a promise from Jesus but a warning as well. The Gates of Hell will not prevail. That statement carries with it a supposition that Hell would indeed try to prevail against the Church, and that has been happening since the earliest day of the Church. Scandal, sin, and abhorrent behavior from clergy, including Bishops and Popes have been with the Church since her birth on that very first Pentecost. Even Saint Peter had to be rebuked by St. Paul, and we just celebrated a Saint this past Monday, August 13 who was an anti-pope for 19 years, St. Hippolytus (170 AD to 235 AD).
The Church has so much filth within its ranks of Clergy and laity, but I would argue that the filth can highlight the brightness of Her beauty to new heights of glory. It is within the darkness that light can shine the brightest and this happens within the Church. Is there anything more beautiful than repentance, forgiveness and redemption?
I certainly do not want to downplay or dismiss the injury and hurt that this sort of betrayal by those who should above all be the fiercest protectors and defenders of the Faithful causes. It hurts bitterly when we are betrayed by the very people who been bestowed with the task of loving, healing and bringing us together. I also though want to point out that the distrust these kinds of behaviors elicit are exactly what Satan works for and expects. His mission is to divide and to cause schism within the bonds of the Body of Christ. He will stop at nothing to do this and continues to execute his vile and loathsome spirit and works within the hearts and minds of all of us, and his aims have become the cultural norms of our society. His greatest achievement is convincing so many that He doesn’t exist and so without Him, we can revel in the freedom to do what we want and what feels good. The goals of power, wealth, and fame are causes to be achieved at any cost. Costs that reap destruction and death upon those who are weak, or get in the way of whatever it is that those of strength want and feel are deserved.
We are all prone to this kind of sin. Yes, we hold our Clergy to a much higher standard of moral behavior and existence than we expect of ourselves. Yet the clergy are fighting a much fiercer battle than most of the faithful. They really are marked when ordained and must maintain an exemplary life of prayer and sacraments to fight against this evil effectively. We can help them, we must do our part, we can pray fervently for our Priests, Bishops and the Pope. We desperately need good and Faithful priests who are a sign of Christ’s love for His Church. Satan’s plans are to scatter the sheep, is there any better way to do that then to take down the shepherds?
The Church will get through this mess we are now experiencing. The Faithful among the Body of Christ will rise in holiness with the Grace of God and the gates of Hell will not prevail. Jesus never breaks a promise. God allows evil in this world to bring about from it a greater good, a good for all peoples. I am sure that redemption is a part of that plan. It was through the death of Christ after all that resurrection and eternal life was born. So too, through sin and evil, is born repentance and redemption. Let us all unite and pray for all those effected by these horrendous deeds and look forward with the hope that only Jesus can bring us through the Faithful Body of Christ, which is His Bride, the Catholic Church.