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John Fontenot wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • How can the Catholic Church justify sending known pedophiles to other parishes to continue to say Mass?

This is one of the main reasons I left the Catholic Church and it seems no Catholic priest or anyone has been able to answer this question.

Homosexuality is an abomination yet the Catholic Church seems to condone it by sending known pedophiles to continue to celebrate Mass.

Please answer.

Thank you.

John F.

  { How does the Church justify sending known pedophiles to other parishes to continue to say Mass? }

Eric replied:

Dear John,

It doesn't justify it. It is as simple as that.

Bishops are human and they are fallen. That means they can commit sins. Sending a known pedophile back into ministry is a grave sin and the bishop will face the wrath of God for that sin, as will the pedophile, and very possibly be excluded from Heaven, if they do not sincerely repent.

There is no guarantee that the leaders of the Church will always do what is right and they are sinners like the rest of us. People expect clerics to be sinless saints, but they aren't. They're supposed to eschew sin, as all Christians should, but they are not necessarily saints. This is a perfect example of the sins bishops commit. It's a result in part of a misguided attempt to protect the reputation of the Church, but obviously it backfired in a horrendous way.

There is simply no justification or valid excuse for this behavior. But the Church, as a whole (and the Church is both the lay people and the clerics), is the spotless Bride of Christ (cf. Ephesians 5:27). We should obey the leaders of the Church, but not do what they do (when they sin) (cf. Matthew 23:2).

The sins of the bishops do not disprove the Church or negate its authority. If they did, we'd never have a Church because the Church is comprised of sinners. Moreover, if the Church is really what it claims to be, her greatest enemy would be satan.

  • And who would satan attempt to attack most vehemently?
    <Her leaders, of course!>

The fact that so much demonic filth is going on should be proof that the Church is who She claims to be.

  • Does this satisfy your question?


John replied:


This does not answer my question.

It's not just one bishop who sent non-pedophiles to say Mass. The Catholic Church sent many pedophile priests to parishes to say Mass.

Besides that, another thing I don't understand is Peter was supposed to be the first pope and he was married.

  • Why are priests allowed to marry?

That is a problem too. You can't take a vow celibacy. It has to be a gift from God and being celibate doesn't make you more holy.

I suppose people should be married instead of being forced to be celibate.


Eric replied:

John —

  • So what if it is not just one bishop?

If one bishop can make a mistake, any number of them can. Jesus never guaranteed that bishops, even popes, would not sin, even boatloads of them. That is evident from history. No one set a threshold of how few bishops could sin.

You are right to be upset about this issue, no doubt about it. The behavior of these bishops is inexcusable.

At the time, their advisors had convinced them that priests could be treated, cured, and returned to ministry, but this turned out not to be true, unknown to the bishops, but still they were playing with fire. Nevertheless, it is not a justification for leaving the Church, because no one promised most of the leaders (or the followers) of the Church would be without sin, or even without this particular sin. You will find sinners outside of the Church, as well; pedophiles are known in other churches and outside the Catholic Church.

As for celibacy, we know that Peter was married at some point, yes, (only by virtue of the mention of his mother-in-law). Believe it or not, there are married priests today, and have been for years. (In fact, my pastor is married.) Married priests are the standard in some Eastern churches, but even in the Latin Church where celibacy is the norm, married converts can become priests; I know several.

It's a discipline, not a teaching or dogma, so finding one counter-example doesn't bring the whole house down like you seem to think it will.

The Church decided at some point in its history that it was more effective to have celibate men appointed as priests, and made a shift in that direction. Just because the Church believes that, on the whole, celibacy is preferable, doesn't mean She doesn't retain the right to allow exceptions.

No one argues that celibacy makes you more holy. That is not the claim. What it does is free you up for ministry to serve the Lord with an undivided heart (1 Corinthians 7:32). No one is forced to be celibate, we simple opt to choose most of our priests from among those who voluntarily opt to be celibate. (No one is forced to be a priest, so no one is being forced to be celibate. Priesthood is not a right; it is a privilege.) If you can't be celibate, if you burn, then maybe priesthood is not for you. In fact, one could argue that ordaining men who burn, who haven't mastered their sexuality, is part of the present problem.

We invite you to come back to the Catholic Church. There is no salvation outside of any other fold, flock or gathering. Here we are make partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), here we are filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19); here is the cup of salvation (Psalms 116:13); here is the Bread that comes down from Heaven (John 6:51).

Don't let sinful men deter you from receiving the salvation that comes through abiding in the Church (cf. John 6:56, John 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:16).

Please don't cut off your nose to spite your face.


John replied:


The problem many people have with the Catholic Church is that they teach things that are non-biblical. Just like the Mormons, who teach there will be marriage in Heaven, when Jesus strictly said there will be no marriage in Heaven.

  1. Catholics pray in vain repetition when Jesus clearly said do not pray in vain repetition, and
  2. Jesus never told us to pray to his mother but Catholics continue to pray to Mary. They use the excuse "Well, she's just interceding for us." The Bible clearly states that Jesus is the Great Intercessor and when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray He strictly told them. He never told them to pray to his mother . . . not even in the Book of Revelation which is in the future.

So those are just two things that are incorrect based on Biblical teachings.

I was baptized at Baptism though it is not required to be saved. It is an outward sign of an inward change but the thief on the Cross was not baptized nor was he in — Purgatory; another false Catholic teaching.

Jesus said, "I say today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43) [He, the thief] wasn't in Purgatory. He excepted Jesus and went to paradise which later will be in Heaven where there is a great white judgment throne where the sinners will be cast into the Lake of Fire and those of us who's names are written the Book of Life will experience the New Jerusalem on Earth.


Eric replied:

Hi John,

Please use Reply All when you reply so the whole team is copied and can reply with their input — Thanks!

You said:
The problem many people have with the Catholic Church is that they teach things that are non-biblical.

  • OK — On what basis do you conclude that something has to be biblical to be believed?

After all, the Bible itself testifies that Tradition is of equal weight. Paul praised the Corinthians for following tradition (1 Corinthians 11:2). In 2 Thessalonians 2:15, Paul says,

15 Hold fast to the traditions which you received, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.

The pillar and foundation of the Truth is not the Bible. It's the Church (1 Timothy 3:15), which is founded, not on the Bible, but on the Apostles and Prophets (Ephesians 2:20). The faith was entrusted once for all to the saints (Jude 3), not to the Bible.

Now the Bible, it is true, is inspired and inerrant, but it has to be interpreted correctly, because people distort it to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).

What is really unbiblical — indeed, contrary to Scripture — is to insist that only those things taught in Scripture are authoritative, as I've shown above.

You said:

  1. Catholics pray in vain repetition when Jesus clearly said do not pray in vain repetition, . . .

Jesus said not to pray with vain repetition. He did not say, not to pray with repetition. There is a difference. What Jesus is referring to is pagan prayer. Let's look at a few translations of this verse:

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Matthew 6:7 (KJV) 1900

7 And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Matthew 6:7 (ESV)

7 But when you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the pagans, for they think that because of their many words they will be heard.

Matthew 6:7 (LEB)

The Greek word used is as follows:

βαττολογέω battŏlŏgĕō, bat-tol-og-eh´-o; from Βάττος Battŏs (a proverbial stammerer) and 3056; to stutter, i.e. (by impl.) to prate tediously:—use vain repetitions.

Strong, James, A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009), 18

Note the reference to babbling and empty phrases.

This refers to a specific type of prayer that the pagans used, where they made a lot of noise at length, thinking they could wear their gods down by the sheer volume of their words, but that's not what Catholics are doing. Ironically, the counter-example of good prayer that Jesus uses here is the Lord's Prayer, which is part of the Rosary that you are referring to.

  • What if you are not convinced?

Our Lord Himself repeats His prayers. For example, in the Garden of Gethsemane we are told:

44 leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. (Matthew 26:44)

As blood was streaming from the face of Our Lord in the midst of His agony, no one could accuse His repetitious prayer of being vain or meaningless. In fact, Scripture teaches that in the Heavenly liturgy, where we will worship God in spirit and truth, the angels and saints pray the same words over and over,

"Holy, Holy, Holy!!":

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all round and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! (Revelation 4:8)

(Martin, Curtis, "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary," in Catholic for a Reason II: Scripture and the Mystery of the Mother of God, ed. by Scott Hahn and Leon J. Suprenant Jr., Second Edition (Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2004), p. 26)

Certainly we would not accuse the angelic hosts of vain repetition simply because they repeat their words. [emphasis mine]

You said:

  1. Jesus never told us to pray to his mother but Catholics continue to pray to Mary. They use the excuse "Well, she's just interceding for us." The Bible clearly states that Jesus is the Great Intercessor and when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray He strictly told them. He never told them to pray to his mother . . . not even in the Book of Revelation which is in the future.

Actually we are commanded to intercede for one another in 1 Timothy 2:1. Jesus is not the only intercessor; He is the Chief Intercessor. Yes, Jesus told the disciples how to pray, as I mentioned, by offering the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) which we pray in the Rosary and which you reject.

  • Jesus never told us to rely entirely on Scripture, either, right?

Sure, he condemned "traditions of men" and traditions that nullify the Word of God, but not ever tradition, is a human tradition, and not every tradition, nullifies the Word of God. In fact, Jesus specifically bound his disciples to follow a tradition. In Matthew 23:2-3, Jesus says,

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."

Matthew 23:2-3

Moses' Seat was a tradition. One of the priests held it as an office and he made decisions for the whole community which were binding.

Anyway, I digress. Mary elicits Jesus's first miracle through her intercession, the Wedding Feast of Cana, (John 2:1-12) so we know she is a powerful intercessor. James 5:16 says that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. In any case, I am sure there are lots of things you do, that Jesus never told you to do.

By the way, Mary does make an appearance in Revelation chapter 12. She wears a crown because she is the Queen of Heaven. In verse 17 we are called her offspring.

In Psalm 45, she makes a prophetic appearance:

12"the people of Tyre will court your favor with gifts, the richest of the people with all kinds of wealth." (She will be an intercessor.)

16 "Instead of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth."
(We are her offspring, and she will do favors for us.)

17 "I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations; therefore the peoples will praise you for ever and ever."
(Luke 1:48b: "For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.")

  • So what was that again about Jesus never telling us to ask his mother for her intercession?

You said:
I was baptized at Baptism though it is not required to be saved.

Then how do you interpret:

1 Peter 3:20-21:

"Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ..."?, and

Titus 3:5–8:

"He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. The saying is sure."

So He saved us by the washing of regeneration (which is Baptism), so that we might be justified and have eternal life. It doesn't say we were justified, so that we might be baptized, but baptized, so that we might be justified.

You said:
[Baptism] is an outward sign of an inward change . . .

OK, Mr. Bible Believer,

  • Where does the Bible say that Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change?

The Scriptures say:

The Israelites were "baptized into Moses" (1 Corinthians 10:2)

  • Was that an "outward sign of an inward change", or did it actually free them from the power of evil?

Romans 6:3 states:

"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" Romans 6:3

  • Does that sound like an "outward sign of an inward change"?

Not, "all of us who have been baptized into his death have been baptized into Christ Jesus."
That would be your belief. Or this:

"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."

Galatians 3:27

As for the thief on the Cross, just because he was in a situation where he couldn't be baptized doesn't mean that no one needs to be baptized at all. That would be like saying because a policeman gives you a warning (or doesn't pursue you at all) that it is always OK to speed. We don't believe that Baptism is absolutely necessary; God is not bound by the sacraments. We believe that someone who wants to be baptized, but through no fault of their own, cannot before they die, dies with the grace of Baptism. (And by the way, we don't believe that everyone goes to Purgatory.)

  • Speaking of Purgatory, what do you make of this portion of Scripture:

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15

Our works are going to be tried by fire. Those who don't build with gold, silver, and precious stones will see their work burned and shall suffer loss, which wouldn't happen if they go to Heaven, but they shall be saved, which means they don't go to Hell.

  • Where do they go?


Eric followed up:

Just for the record, I thoroughly enjoyed answering this one. :-)


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