Monday, November 26, 2007

The Scandal of Scandal

Picture in your mind a man sitting down in front of a beautiful mahogany grand piano on the stage of an immense concert hall packed with people. The stage lights glisten off of its shiny surface. The man pulls out an ornately decorated copy of Mozart's Piano Concertos and places it reverently upon the music stand. He opens up the book to a suitable place and stretches his fingers as he readies them for the task at hand. A bead of sweat trickles down his forehead and he wipes it on his sleeve.

Then he begins.

And the sounds that reverberate from the piano are sounds to which no person ought to be subjected. The pianist, if he can be called that, does not know how to read music and has never played before in his life.

The people in the audience begin to murmur and most begin to leave. In the lobby area, some people begin to remark about the performance:

"I had heard good things about that Mozart guy, but evidently he is very overrated. He couldn't compose his way out of a paper bag!"

"So true. I don't think I'll be listening to anything else by Mozart anytime soon!"

Do you think it a bit strange that one poor "musician" would actually change the way people think about Mozart? Does it seem unrealistic that people would react in such a way?

It does seem silly to think that reasonable people would respond negatively towards the composer over one bad musician. Yet, in regards to God and the Church, such responses are common place.

How many people think poorly of the Church or Her practice of a celibate clergy in light of the sex abuse scandal? A lot.

But we don't judge the Sacrament of Marriage on those who are unfaithful to their marriage vows. Neither should we judge the priesthood based on those who have been unfaithful to their vows.

The familiar statistic is that half of all marriages end in divorce. Many of these are the result of marital infidelity. Would allowing married people the freedom to commit adultery help decrease divorce and improve the institution of marriage? Then why do we think that allowing priests to marry will somehow solve the sex abuse scandal?

It is more reasonable to judge something based on those who can do it well rather than on those who cannot. We should judge the brilliance of Mozart on those who can faithfully play his music as it was written. We should not judge the merits of Mozart's music on those who have no musical skill whatsoever.

In the same way, we ought to judge the teachings of the Church on those who live those teachings faithfully (i.e. the saints). We should not judge the Church based on those who fail to live up to Her own teachings.

1 comment:

Weetabix said...

Good call!

I've noticed that with other things and aspects of the church - people judge a good thing wrongly based on people or situations that don't accurately reflect the thing they're judging.