Summary: The moral failure of the priesthood within the Catholic Church points us to look at the priesthood of all believers and how we can avoid the same pitfalls.
“How The Catholic Church Crisis Impacts You & Me”
C.T. – The moral failure of the priesthood within the Catholic Church points us to look at the priesthood of all believers and how we can avoid the same pitfalls.
There is an unbelievable church scandal I want to talk about. It involves priests, abuse of power, sexual immorality, attempts at hiding and covering up sin, the raping and pillage of people’s faith, and religious callousness.
The scandal I’m referring to is found in the Old Testament. The shocking details are found in the book of I Samuel… chapters 1-3. (pg. 187)
I Samuel 1:3 – “Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord.”
I Samuel 2:12 – “Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord.”
- The tabernacle at Shiloh, where these evil priests worked, was the center of religious activity in the nation of Israel. Israelite men were required to go to Shiloh three times a year to worship and celebrate three different feasts.
- “Year after year…” Did these two evil priests simply grow comfortable, relaxed, and apathetic in their calling? Did they start out evil, or did they grow into being evil? Did they say, “Hey, let’s get into the priesthood so we can be contemptible to God and get him really ticked off at us!”
(Illus. – guys I went to school with – other ministers/pastors I looked up to – they have experienced a moral failure and are out of the ministry - … Dean of Men at CBC … - what happened? – did they start out saying, “Hey I want to go to school, study, spend lots of money preparing for ministry, and then I want to have a moral failure to erase everything?”)
Maybe the priests that went bad got comfortable. They stopped growing. They stopped learning. They stopped being hungry for more God in their lives.
In I Samuel, there is a stark contrast between these two evil priests, and a Godly priest
by the name of Samuel that is being raised up. Look at what is said about Samuel in
chapter 2, verse 26 – “And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor
with the Lord and with men.”
(Illus. – sometimes you hear me talk about Willow Creek, or a retreat, or a conference,
or a book, or a prompting that comes from a quiet time – if you stop hearing these
things from me – someone should wake and shake me – because when myself or any
one of us stop growing and stretching ourselves, we are inviting trouble)
Ecclesiastes 10:18 – “If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house
When we become comfortable, lazy and apathetic in our spiritual lives, we are inviting
sin and trouble. Within the Christian life, if you are not growing and moving forward,
you are moving backwards.
Let’s continue to unfold this priestly scandal…
I Samuel 2:13-16 (pg. 188) … read
What we’re they doing wrong? They were taking the sacrificial meat before it was
sacrificed. They wanted the best cut of meat for themselves. They wanted the meat
with the fat … and God had directed the Israelites to burn off or boil off the fat. They
were taking something that was for God and worship, and making it their own. They
were ignoring God’s commands. What good-hearted people were trying to give and
sacrifice to God, they took for their own benefit. What they wanted became the goal of
their priesthood. It was clear-cut, obvious abuse of power.
I Samuel 2:17 – “This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they
were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.”
What else were these priests doing wrong?
I Samuel 2:22 – “Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were
doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the
Tent of the Meeting.”
With these women, who were probably coming to confide in and take comfort with
these priests, their bodies, souls and faith were raped. The very priests they placed their
trust in, were the same ones that robbed their trust.
And the scandal continues to unfold …
I Samuel 2:23 – “So he (Eli) said to them, ‘Why do you do such things? I hear from all
the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; it is not a good report that