Nearly 4,500 Roman Catholic priests have been accused of sexually abusing 1,000 children in the United States between 1950 and 2002, CNN reported Feb. 16, citing a draft of a study scheduled for release at the end of the month by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
While the intent of the 50 year study by the bishops was to prevent future abuse, these vile actions on the part of a small percentage of the priests (who have served in the billion plus member church), have become religious and political fuel for those who reject the church's 2,000 year old opposition to birth control, abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc.
It reminds me of the account in the Bible where one of Christ's hand picked chosen 12, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What are you willing to give me to betray Him to You?" And they weighed out 30 pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus. Can you imagine the confidence and determination this gave to the chief priests. This was all the evidence they needed to assure them that Jesus couldn't be the Son of God, or this great prophet whose coming had been foretold, for one of those He had hand picked and walked with from day to day, was a devil willing to sell Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Next is the account of Peter who was previously know as the most devout follower of Christ angrily denying Jesus in a moment of cowardice. These accounts by themselves do not speak well for Jesus or his followers, but taken in the context of Jesus previously foretelling that Judas would betray him and that Peter would deny him three times, they become just another example of the weakness of men and the futility of judging Jesus or his church by those within it, who betray him.
Jesus made a prophecy concerning the church he had started and which stands to this day; "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hell will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven..."
He didn't say that the members and leaders of that church would automatically be perfect. In fact, he and his apostles warned; "Beware of those who come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Take guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood, I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you. Some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils..."
Wolves in the flock has been a sad, clearly foretold, reality from the beginning. But as predicted, the church founded by Christ 2,000 years ago rapidly continues to grow and spread its founders message of life, hope and peace.