My number 1 reason for anger with the Church is disappointment. So is most people’s from what I’ve seen. We (rightly) demand that the Church’s members be better than they are, because of what they are members of. That’s why people get angry at me when I point out the sociological reality that public school teachers have abuse rates that dwarf the abuse rate in the Church. People shoot back “Public schools don’t claim to be the Bride of Christ”. True. And some people claim to be the Czar of all the Russias. We are not disappointed and angry when such people act like lunatics. But we *are* disappointed when the members of the Body of Christ fail to live out their dignity–because the Church really *is* the Bride of Christ and *should* be a communion of saints.
In short, we feel the very real tension of the now vs. the not yet. That tension is a feature, not a bug and is part of what God uses to urge the Church on toward holiness. Don’t expect him to let up. Just as the hatred of the Assyrians was used to chastise rebellious Israel for her good, so the hatred of the world for our sins is part of what keeps up the pressure on the Church’s members to become what the Holy Spirit–the source of the Church’s holiness–demands we become.
I don’t enjoy that anymore than you do. My preferred method for living would be to blame everybody else for the Church’s problems while demanding that everybody else bear with me because of my good intentions. Instead, Paul typical pastoral counsel is that we should “become what we are”, that we should devote relentless energy to becoming more loving ourselves and relentless energy to “bearing with” the failings of other Christians. You don’t “bear with” Spotless Saints Living in the Golden Age of the Church. So that means New Testament Christians were made of the slobby stuff we are and we, conversely, have the same shot at sanctity they did. A good place to start that course with the Holy Spirit as our Personal Trainer in holiness is with forgiveness for every member of the Church who has let you down. Don’t forget to include yourself. And say a prayer for me, the biggest disappointment of them all.
I don't know Mark, I know I've disappointed more than a few.
It's something I chatted with a priest about in the confessional on Saturday. My poor example. Whether it be at the office or at home or with family members, I too often fall short in being who I ought to be. It's something I'm especially aware of as I take the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ and as I pray while partaking that His holy cells I'm digesting change my unholy ones.
If the Church has disappointed you, if other Christians have disappointed you, and especially if I've done so, bear with our failings and know that many of us are sincere in our desire to be more like our Savior.
Bear with us. Pray for us.
And come to Church with us.