Truth is the Catholic Church’s best argument
First the search for the truth, the trial. Then justice was served, and the Catholic priest was jailed. And then came mercy.
A few days ago, on Dec. 20, Pope Francis ordered the release of the Spanish priest Lucio Vallejo Balda who was sentenced and jailed for leaking files to journalists, after a painful trial that exposed plotting at the Vatican.
Our Mother Church can neither ignore the TRUTH nor hide the mistakes her leaders and have members made in history.
Regarding the scuttlebutt of clerical sex-abuse, the problem was made more complicated by the seeming cover-up by some bishops, maybe out of self-preservation, just maybe, or, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “a misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal.”
The lovely Bride of Christ is not afraid of the truth! The good Australian Cardinal George Pell was more precise in admitting, during his 2016 video testimony to Australia’s Royal Commission investigating local Church’s responses to child sex abuse cases, that the mistakes were “enormous!”
“Scandalous” is how Pope Francis described them.
Man up, Pope Francis seems to urge our shepherds, man up to all mistakes and blunders. Be truthful! His Holiness has already admitted: “We are human beings, all of us are sinners.” Just admit, the Jesuit pontiff insists, and be TRUTHFUL. Be really sorry, do not fear, and the miracle of mercy will happen!
‘God cannot alter the past, historians can’
Samuel Butler (1835-1902) once wrote: “God cannot alter the past, historians can…” Butler was forced to write such words, so I thought, maybe because he might have had personally read how some “historians” had altered the past and passed on to the present quite a different story.
In the Philippines, powerful personalities have exerted efforts to revise and distort history vis-a-vis the dictatorship of Ferdinand E. Marcos and the nightmares of Martial Law.
13th century historian Martin of Opava had included Popess Joan, a female pope who allegedly reigned in the AD 850s, on the official list of Catholic pontiffs (in his work Chronicon Pontificum et Imperatorum).
And, unfortunately, Hollywood in 2010 expounded the legend of a pregnant pope in a movie “La Papessa,” because people were curious and excited, and billed it as “a true story.” But the authenticated and verified list tells us that no woman pope ever existed!
Nobody wants history to become a trash bag of unverified bad news torn open in a howling wind. History is not a game of name and shame, and verify later. No, no, no! What everyone wants to read and to spread is a truthful story, nothing less, nothing more.
The Da Vinci Code
Even as Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) defined a LEGEND as “a lie that has attained the dignity of age,” I still think people want genuine history, true and factual.
A TRUTHFUL STORY and a legend are polar opposites. The problem appears to be with some people. It seems only a few can separate, let’s say, Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code, a fiction, from non-fiction.
The best-selling novel, again a fiction, depicts the Catholic Church as an institution so determined to hide the truth about Mary Magdalene.
Brown brilliantly makes the Knight Templars the Keepers of the Holy Grail, which is not a cup but a woman of “royal blood” (in ancient French). The novel (funny that some people read it as history) claims that Mary Magdalene is the Holy Grail, the wife of Jesus and the bearer of His royal seed and blood.
When the best-selling novel accused the Catholic Church as “big, bloody, woman-hating,” the confusion the novel created has dignified a lie. The overly reactive response of some Catholic leaders further dignified the lie, and the novel became a best seller!
Gossip and hyperbole
I’ve heard it said more than once that history is a gossip well told. Mother Church does not want to do anything with gossip either. In fact, Pope Francis himself exorcises gossips from the Roman Curia. He’s mad at it.
The Catholic Church speaks the truth, wants the truth, and she “can handle the truth.” The lovely Bride of Christ is not in the business of saying one thing today and saying the opposite tomorrow. She’s not into hyperbole that needs to be explained later by a spokesperson.
In social media, a Filipina has accused the Catholic Bishops (CBCP) as the “anti-Christ!” Gossip, hyperbole, sanitized or editorialized versions, and big generalizations that we find in Twitter and FACEBOOK
have no place in Christian decency. Even the secular society is inclined to mistrust a hyperbole.
The recognition of the truth is a source of peace and unity among divided people, as Saint John Paul II believed it is. As he put it:
“Love of the truth, sought with humility, is one of the great values capable of reuniting the men of today.”
The lovely Bride of Christ is not afraid of the truth! In fact, I insist, TRUTH AND MERCY ARE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S BEST ARGUMENTS!