I recently watched the pope’s visit to England, and how he expressed regret for the acts of sexual perversion that occurred to a lot of Catholic priests. How do you explain such a total deviant behavior from some people who consider themselves educated in the Bible, who should be models for believers, while they indulge in pedophilia, zoophilia, homosexuality and other abominations to God? Maybe the fact that the Catholic priests are not married could determine this? However, there were even cases in Romania, in the midst of Orthodox priests and monks, and our priests are married, except monks. What penalties should be applied to them, except of course the punishment from God, that however they will not escape? Thank you and God bless.
I find it important to mention at the outset that this issue affects both the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations in the world more or less. The causes are various, but there are some key mentioned in the Epistle of Jude.
1. They crept into ecclesiastical positions
There are people who have worked hard and tried to do everything they could and taking advantage of the time when other Christian leaders have not watched, they managed to creep into ecclesiastical positions. Therefore, at the beginning of the Epistle that bears his name, St. Jude wrote:
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:3-4)(NASB)
2. They allowed to be dragged by their dreaming
The flesh incites every man to sin. Therefore, the wise Solomon wrote:
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)(NASB)
Our world is sensual and continuously causes our minds to sexuality and perversion. In bookstores, newspapers, magazines, TV, internet is continuously talking, writing and showing things that cause people’s minds to debauchery and perversion. Church ministers must learn to guard their hearts and I was saddened when I read some statistics that a big percentage of priests and pastors have recognized in an anonymous survey that they access pornographic websites. All these things poison their minds, and once they have conceived immoral thoughts they will develop to reach their achievement if they do not repent. Jude writes about them when he says:
Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. (Jude 1:8)(NASB)
3. They do not have the Holy Spirit
I’m sorry to say this, but there are many servants of the Church who were not born again and do not have the Spirit of God. Only the Holy Spirit can give victory over sin and flesh and can empower every Christian to live a holy life in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, as the Scripture says. Therefore, St. Jude writes about those who indulge in perversion the following:
These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit (Jude 1:19)(NASB)
Or maybe some have the Spirit, but they are not led by the Spirit, but begin to follow and fulfill the desires of the sinful nature.
4. They did not beware the garment polluted by the flesh
At the end of the Epistle Jude wrote the following advice:
… save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh… (Jude 1:23)(NASB)
Through this figure of speech, the author wants to tell us that sometimes, pastors and priests, wanting to help others to get out of sexual sin, they can find themselves drawn into these sins. Therefore, let us be merciful and help those who fell, but to do it with caution so as not to realize that we have been caught in this trap of immorality and perversion. In Galatians, Paul writes the same principle as follows:
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)(NASB)
So, not everyone can restore the fallen in sin, but the spiritual one. And a spiritual man will watch not be tempted and caught in the same sins and perversions.
Pope’s deed is worthy of appreciation, because he did not hide things, but seeks to confront and eliminate this problem within the Catholic Church. The question, however, remains …
How to deal with priests who indulge in sexual perversion?
Just as it is fitting to do with any Christian. In the Corinthian church there was a case where a Christian has indulged in a sexual perversion, having sex with his father’s wife, who was his stepmother. Here’s what Apostle Paul said about that event:
It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your boasting is not good Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (1 Corinthians 5:1-13)(NASB)
God bless the ministries of the Church to keep themselves pure and holy and to serve with faithfulness and righteousness unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru