I have recently connected with a Sister (Nun) on line and received the best answer yet to my question…read below.
(Me) I have a question for you. It is not doctrinal but perhaps more personal.How can you believe in a church that has done so many things wrong? There came a time in my life where I had to question. Surely you have also. It is one which I have been struggling now for about 4 years.
(Sister) The Church herself affirms that she is always in need of reform. She is holy but not perfect and she is there to proclaim a Kingdom which transcends her and a Gospel she herself serves and so, is subservient to. Meanwhile, she is composed of saints and sinners and always will be. I don’t so much believe IN the Church as I believe in the God she mediates and serves — the God who graces and protects her, sometimes from herself, through the power of the Spirit. And, in spite of the Church’s flaws, I have met Christ regularly through her members, sacraments, scriptures, and ministry. It’s hard to argue with or walk away from that.
In any case there is nothing wrong with questioning. After all, the people we love are the ones whose faults we are clearest about, and about whom we can be critical — though not in a cynical way. Contrary to the old adage, Love is not blind, I don’t think, but it is honest and hopeful.
(Me)Thanks for your answer. It has made me think much. You see I have been 28 years as Catholic and 28 years as a Mormon. From what I can understand of studying these two religions is that both claim to be of God…the only two I believe. Many say that only one can be right. I don’t necessarily believe that though. But my problem and the cause of my anguish as to whether to stay in either of these, is that both believe they have never made a mistake. I’m OK with mistakes (as I’ve made many I’m sure) but when someone or a church believes they are above that…that is what I have problems with.
I see you have justified or believe (and rightfully so) that the Popes have made mistakes (and they have), but I don’t think that the Church believes it has. There lies my problem…my unwillingness to follow such “pride”. I have always believed in God, since a little girl and at one time considered being a Nun, but now I really have no church and pray as a child, with no connections.
Well, I cannot convince you on this, and I will not try, however, one correction is important: the Catholic Church does not say she has never made a mistake, or never sinned.
She herself says she is always in need of reform and does so in her most binding documents. In fact she defines herself in this way in those documents and calls herself a pilgrim people. The doctrine of infallibility, which is commonly misunderstood, does not mean the Church does not make mistakes; it means that the Church through the grace of God is maintained in the truth of the Gospel which she will proclaim in season and out (meaning in her holiness and in her sinfulness). However, infallibility (or indefectibility as some prefer the term) emphatically does NOT mean impecability (without sin). The Church admits sinfulness (indeed, she has, in the person of recent Popes apologized for some of them, most notably her role in the holocaust, etc) and at the same time believes that through the grace of God she will be able to continue proclaiming the Gospel to which she considers herself subject.
Our faith is built on paradox and the nature of the Church is one of those. She is a pilgrim people on her way to the Kingdom of God. She is not the Kingdom, however, but merely does her best to prepare the way for that reign. She believes (and I do accept this as true because I see it happening and continuing to happen) that she is maintained indefectible in the truth of the Gospel she proclaims despite her own sinfulness and (sometimes) bumbling journey towards the Kingdom.
All my best,