When viewed in a historical sense, the news that the Lavender Mafia has been buggering a host of teenage boys for decades is almost on the tame side for a Catholic scandal. As awful as these revelations have been, they nevertheless pale in comparison with Pope Alexander VI’s murderously nepotist imperialism or the Church-sanctioned massacres of the Crusades, and they represent less of a complete institutional failure than the cynical sale of indulgences once did.
But there is no question that the abusive, hypocritical evil revealed by the sins of these gay fathers is going to taint the Catholic Church in the eyes of every American for a long, long time. I may not be a Papist myself – I happen to be a Christian of the Protestant variety – but the revolting behavior of these priestly predators nevertheless makes me feel a sickened sense of betrayal.
Still, the Catholic Church will survive this nightmare, as it has survived others. But even if it did not, what of that? We Christians – Catholic and Protestant alike – do not worship an institution, a tradition or a man. We worship a living God, the Son of Man, Who was crucified, died and rose again. And 2,000 years later, we eagerly anticipate His return, which, with every suicide bombing in Jerusalem, appears more imminent. That some of those who claim to serve Him should fall in such a deplorable manner changes nothing about our Lord and Savior or the truth of His Way.
I have not always been a Christian. Educated at an elite university, I was steeped in the amoral existentialism that is the ineluctable result of secular humanist logic. But like Saint Augustine, I eventually came to realize the double-minded futility of pretending to exalt Reason while spending my days in slavish service to Kundalini and the lizard brain.
Over time, I also came to discover that reason and faith are not contradictory. Indeed, one of the fascinating things about studying the history of the conflict between science and the Bible is discovering the many occasions when the ancient document has triumphed over the intellectual conceit of highly educated men. Keep this in mind when the next person asks how you, an otherwise intelligent and educated person, can possibly believe in the literal truth of the so-called Word of God in spite of what everyone knows to be true.
A favored technique of past scientific debunkers was to note something cited in the Bible, then point out that modern archeology had “proven” that it did not exist. The mythical Assyrian empire was often cited in this regard, as was that of the legendary Hittites. While both nations were frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, they remained undiscovered by archeologists until the late 19th century.
However, in 1906, excavations at B?y?kkale led to the discovery of Hattusa, the capital city of an empire famously defeated by Pharaoh Ramses the Great at the battle of Kadesh. Hittites to the Jews, they were called Hattians by the Assyrians, whose own existence had been proven in 1842, when Paul-Emile Botta uncovered the first Assyrian monument at Kouyunjik.
Furthermore, the Chronicles of the Assyrian Kings reveal them to have very much been the bloodthirsty, warmongering psycho-killers described in the Bible. And while modern archeologists still deny the historical authenticity of the Old Testament account of the Jewish people’s invasion of Canaan, the new chronology developed by David Rohl threatens to demolish the scientific assumptions of this generation’s scientists as well.
With regards to Jesus Christ himself, it suffices to say that in addition to the biblical accounts, the Christian references appearing in Tacitus, Josephus, the younger Pliny and Lucian offer more support for His existence, if not His godhood, than exist for many accepted figures of antiquity. Unless one is prepared to also deny Alexander the Great, just to give one example, it would be wise not to rest too heavily on historical scholarship as a basis for one’s unbelief.
Thus even in this time of war and ghastly bloodshed, in a time when nations battle over Jerusalem and a great Christian institution shows every sign of rotting from within, those of us who claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior can still say with confidence and joy: “He is risen!” and “Come, Lord Jesus.”