Great to hear from you.
I have another question, but this one is on behalf of a friend.
My friend is of the opinion that most, if not all, human suffering stems from this formula:
collective population +
hierarchical structure +
power hungry psychopaths (or misguided persons) =
From his perspective, the Catholic Church meets the first two parts, with a collective laity and a hierarchical priesthood centralized on the papacy. While normally OK, all it would take is a few evil people at the top to complete the formula and lead to human suffering. He points to some of the Church scandals as examples of where Church hierarchy prolongs human suffering.
Here's my two cents. Although your friend has the general idea correct that purifying suffering, for our sins whether among the priests, Catholic lay people, or other non-Catholics, is redemptive, the mystery of suffering will always be just that, a mystery. He appears to have a formula for suffering but I would tend to disagree with this concept.
This Letter written by Pope St. John Paul II on this topic may provide addition insight. I would print it out and share it with him.
- Does the Church have any safeguards to ensure that the hierarchy is not abusive?
Yes! The Church has implemented safeguards. The primary responsibility for clergy abuse issues always lies first with the local bishop of each diocese.
That's why liberal media who blamed John Paul II and Benedict don't know what they are talking about. As soon both Pontiffs discovered the globe nature of this problem they took steps immediately to correct the issue.
These next questions are my own:
- Why has the Church persecuted some saints, only to canonize them later on?
Because like any other human organization, we have sinners as well as saints.
At one point in history, I think almost 95% of Catholic bishops held to the Arian heresy.
This is just a divine proof that with all this sinning going on in our Church, something divine must be keeping Her together. We believe it is Jesus, Himself.
I have heard other friends say that if any business ran its finances the way the Catholic Church runs its finances, it would be out of business a long time ago : )
Bob has also said in some of his recent answers, it took years to develop some of the doctrinal teachings we understand today on topics like the Trinity.
Some of our greatest theologically-minded saints were much more advanced than even the local bishops of their time.
- As an aside, what does praise and worship look like in a Catholic Mass in the Ordinary Form?
- Is it traditional hymns or are contemporary compositions with modern instruments used/permitted?
I would say it is (more) contemporary compositions with modern instruments used/permitted.
No matter what form of the Mass appeals to you, it's important not to politicize one liturgical rite over another. We are all on different faith journeys and all have different spiritual needs.
I hope this helps,