Some of you will be angered by this title and denounce the author as an insignificant upstart. Some of you will peek inside to view the lurid activities of clergy members behind closed doors. Both of you will be disappointed...and guilty of the shocking revelation the title describes.
"I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not." Romans 7:18-25
Now if St. Paul who is holy, can say these words, where does this leave the rest of the Catholic Body? Shocking! But the Bishop of your diocese has impure thoughts. No, he doesn't walk on water. Yes, he sometimes acts with prejudice. Shocking! Your pastor can either be a people pleaser or a big bad burly man. Shocking! The deacon can be a windbag! Shocking! The Knights who supposedly resemble the spirit of Christopher Columbus can sometimes resemble good old boys who hold hard and fast to their little power perches. And ladies, don't think that you're going to get away scott free! Catholic ladies, sometimes, are meaner than the meanest man, in gossip, and passive aggressive mockery.
The pious shudder at the fact that they are no better than the worst of sinners!
St Paul continues, "For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want."
Every parish has their outcast. The guy or the gal who just doesn't fit in. Maybe they are overly negative, or angry, or have emotional issues too deep for the people around them to handle. If they're lucky and they're attractive, people will show interest. But every parish has Lazarus, sitting on the periphery, with dogs licking his sores, as the rest of the rich men and women feast away. Yes, there are some of us who blatantly sin, and blatantly struggle in our defiance of God's Mercy. But I dare one single pious Catholic parishioner to denounce us in the name of personal perfection!
The great saint continues: "So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand. For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind..."
Theologically, we have all been catechized in the great doctrine of original sin. Yet, we don't live in a purely intellectual or spiritual realm. We also live in the flesh. Because of this, even those of us who have been educated in the Living Tradition of the Church, find it hard to avoid prejudice in participating in the the reality of the Catholic parish caste system. The Body of Christ Theology, with its indispensable parts, endowed with indispensable spiritual gifts, is supposed to mean that Joe and Jane struggler have as much to offer as Bob and Betty Superstar. But, anyone with an honest heart knows this is not true. For unfortunately, Orthodoxy of thought usually doesn't become orthopraxy of action.
The end result is usually a load of praying and praising on the outside, and a ton of envy and selfishness on the inside.
Yet, St. Paul exclaims: "Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Truth be told, the only holy One in the Parish is the Father, Son and the HOLY Spirit. Superstardom, and cult of personality aside, everybody in the parish is a schmuck next to God. And only in God do we become saints. So the next time you see that poor sinner, please remember that he, or she, may be thinking the same of you. And you would both be correct!
If you want to boil me in oil, contact me at email@example.com