Spirituality For Today                                                                       

The Survival of the Church                                                    


by Father John Catoir – 2012


           The Second Vatican Council defined the Church as, The Sinful People of God. However, this human weakness doesn’t shock those who can distinguish between the human and divine elements of the Church. We are all sinners. The real mystery is how the Church has managed to survive through more than 2000 years of sin, mismanagement and scandal?

            Civilizations have disintegrated over the centuries, but our wounded Church is still alive because it mysteriously renews itself daily. This is clearly a moral miracle, a phenomenon that requires a supernatural explanation.

            I wrote a book about this miracle, entitled Joy, The Gigantic Secret of The Church’s Survival, (ALBA HOUSE PUBLISHING, NY). In it, I asked my readers, ‘Why they have remained a Catholic, in spite of all the scandals in the Church?’ Their answers were interesting. 

           The Lord promised to be with us all days even until the end of time. Our intimate relationship with Our Divine Savior gives us access to the inner life of the Blessed Trinity. When we delve deeply into this mystery, millions find a life of Joy and Peace.

           Those who have ceased to believe in the Divinity of Christ have no clue about how this wonderful gift operates. In Europe, many Catholics have lost their faith in the Divinity of Christ, as a result their lives have been derailed. 

           Faithful Catholics somehow grasp the indescribable splendor of the Divine element of the Church. For them this truth towers over all of the human scandals. We don’t stay in the Church because human beings, who happen to be Catholic, commit sins of weakness. We do however, find deep contentment in the Lord, and understand the Church is a port in the storm of life. Like St. Peter, we say, “To whom shall we go Lord, You have the words of eternal life.”   

          The Church in Europe is in decline because so many have lost faith in the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Nevertheless, the Universal Church is actually growing stronger in many parts of the world. We are the oldest, pan-national organization in human history. The Church is a unique and extraordinary force for good, notwithstanding the centuries of notorious scandals in high places and low. 

          The Church is Jesus Christ, who promised to be with us always. It is always drawing to herself an endless flow of devoted followers in search of truth, salvation and healing.

           Outsiders try to conquer the Church by dividing us, turning against one another. In today’s political climate there are brothers and sisters who are angry with one another over politics. They say to one another, “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.” They’re all good people, but some refuse to believe that bankruptcy is possible in both the State and the Church. Survival is the essential issue.

          Both modern politics, and all the medieval baggage of the Church conspire to make the Church’s survival even more amazing. Those who do not see that this survival is a moral miracle  are blinded by controversy. They have no explanation for how to the Church has managed to retain the loyalty of so many millions of devout followers. 

          For more than 2000 years, the Church manages to carry on, giving succor and solace to millions of good and holy human beings because of Jesus Christ who said,, “Come to me Blessed of my Father, and I will give you rest.” The truth will make you free, and give you a joyful heart.