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Back to 2018-01-17-Opinión-TEO-Humildad y valentía del Papa
Tomás Trigo, Professor of Moral Theology. University of Navarra
Pope's humility and courage
Those of us who love the Church may be tempted to cover up or minimize the defects of our brethren, because we think (wrongly) that otherwise the sanctity of our supernatural family will be tarnished. Something similar happens in any institution, be it political, cultural, religious or sporting. Undoubtedly, we all have the right to have our reputation respected. But there are things that cannot be covered up, because they seriously harm other people and require reparation for the damage caused.
Pope Francis, who loves the Church with all his heart and is its visible head, has not fallen into this temptation. In Chile, as in other places and on other occasions, he has just expressed his pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by ministers of the Church. This recognition is the essential step to take the next step, as he has been doing for some time now: to put in place the means to effectively prevent the repetition of such abuses.
The holiness of the Church is not diminished by recognizing the sins of its members. The Church is holy not because we Christians are holy, but because her head, Christ, is holy; and the means she gives us to follow Christ's example are holy: the sacraments and the word of God.
Those of us who love the Church join in the Pope's request for forgiveness, and we are pained, as he is, by the damage that our brothers and sisters have caused, and the damage that we ourselves cause every day with our miseries. Miseries that we have not because we are members of the Church, but in spite of being so: because we do not live as Jesus Christ, through the Church, teaches us.
In addition to the pain of so many errors, there is the sorrow of seeing how the faith of some Christians is wavering. Perhaps it was not well established. Because the Christian faith is not based on the examples of priests, bishops, popes and religious (we would be in trouble!), but on our Lord Jesus Christ.