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" good or as bad as the man..."

I watched the old movie "Shane" recently, and there was a fantastic line at one point. Shane is speaking to Marion about guns. He says:

"A gun is a tool, Marion, no better or no worse than any other tool, an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that."

Most of my readers know I am not a "gun control" advocate (unless by that term you mean learning how to hit a proper target and avoid harming innocent people), so I am not going to get into defending the second amendment (I can do that later). I am, however, going to make an analogy with a rewording of the above quote.

"Authority is a tool, no better or worse than any other tool. Authority in the Church is as good or bad as the man using it. Remember that."

If we look at the Scriptures we will see that authority is abused in two ways. First, it is abused when those with authority take more than they have been given. Second, it is abused when those in authority do not use the authority that has been given. In my own experience I have seen both, and have fallen to both (as most of us can probably admit to).

As so many of us struggle with the current pontificate and people start asking questions about where we go from here, I realize that authority is the underlying issue. If Pope Francis has misused his authority (I am not his Judge, so I cannot speak definitively about that), then he will give account for it. Let us not just pray that the next Pope be more Catholic, but that every one of us be so. It is easy to lay the blame on Pope Francis (he seems to give us so many reasons), but we must be more humble than that.

We did not get here overnight; we cannot fix everything with just a new Pope. That is the easy way, since it makes it someone else's problem to fix. Authority can be abused in every level of the Church hierarchy. Pray for holiness in your pastor, and in all clergy. Pray for a true revival in leadership. Pray for a restoration of the clarity of the faith and for a movement of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all Catholics (active and lapsed) that we may display the light of Christ to this dying world.


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