Saint Ignatius of Antioch: “Let everyone revere the deacons as Jesus Christ, the bishop as the image of the Father, and the presbyters as the senate of God and the assembly of the Apostles. For without them one cannot speak of the Church.”
The Church is suffering from a terrible crisis. How bad is it? Catholic historians and theologians think it is perhaps the worst it has ever been. Can it be traced, in part, to a misunderstanding of the pope’s authority?
Although we Catholics are blessed with many truly good, holy and caring priest-shepherds, one of the first things you need to learn as a faithful Catholic is to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing—and there are more than a few prowling about.
This will be a time of judgment and purification for the Church. I firmly believe that good will come of it—although the Church will suffer severe scars for decades. I have no doubt that the sexual abuse crisis will drive countless Catholics from the Church and prevent countless other people from entering into full communion with her. That in itself is cause for great sorrow.