The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“Be proud that you are Catholic”

Those words conclude this remarkable speech, delivered by a non-Catholic businessman in Ohio way back in 2003!  

You’ll want to read it all, but here’s a sample:

The Church today, and when I say the Church keep in mind I am talking about the Catholic Church, is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by an infinitesimally small number of wayward priests that, I feel, have probably been totally weeded out by now. You see the Catholic Church is much too viable to be put down by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, take your choice, they can’t do it, they’re not going to do it and sooner or later they are going to give up, but you’ve got to make sure that you don’t give up first.


In 1799 a notice was placed in a French newspaper that a citizen Brachi had died in prison. Little did the people realize that this was Pope Pius VI who had occupied the Chair of Saint Peter for 25-years. He had been taken prisoner by Napoleon’s forces and died in prison as an indigent. At that time the thought was that this was the end of the Catholic Church, this was 200 and some odd years ago. And the reason was that there was no Pope to succeed him at that time. But you fooled them then, and we’re going to fool them again.

Do read the rest. It’s really something.

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Queens Catholic

posted April 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Here’s a quote from 1840, from another non-Catholic, Lord Thomas Bablington Macaulay:
“There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.”

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posted April 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm

I am not proud to be Catholic. We have shown to be hipocrites. Look at our goverment… Vice president and Senate Pelosi and most Catholics supported them in abortion issues. We are hipocrites… makes me wonder about the direction of our faith.

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Not a Saint

posted April 19, 2010 at 7:26 pm

I am Catholic and I AM PROUD to be so. Just because others choose to look away from Jesus does not make me a hipocrite. I cannot cast blame on them as they have their own life to live and to answer for. I can do what I can do to the best of my abilities. I will continue to pray for them and my loved ones but I would never be of any other faith.
God bless.

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NY Mom

posted April 19, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Lily, it’s not that you should be proud to be Catholic. It’s more that you should feel blessed to be one. Being one doesn’t automatically qualify you for sainthood, as evidenced by the political celebrities who call themselves Catholic and bring such shame upon the bruised and bleeding Body of Christ, which is what we’re all a part of. Think of it this way: He is undergoing His passion all over again by the duplicitous actions of those baptized into the Faith who openly distort the Truths of our Faith. The direction of our Faith is not open to change – it is God who guides it, and He gives everyone free will to stay on the hard path as they wish. Certainly there are clergy who distort it – and they will pay dearly in the end. This is why we must pray for their conversion, and do what we can to encourage good catechesis in our parishes. What you feel is a pain shared by Jesus, one He knew on Calvary and one He still knows as we sin against Him. Pray the Divine Mercy chaplet for them all, even for us “good” Catholics whose hearts are so wounded by what they do.

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posted April 19, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I am proud to be a Catholic convert. It doesn’t mean “proud” in an arrogant way, it’s like NY Mom says, I’m “blessed” to be Catholic and in the Church Jesus founded. It has ‘wheat’ and it has ‘tares’ growing side by side since Peter & Judas. One doesn’t leave Peter b/c of Judas. If you do, it’s to your own peril. It would be a good idea to check your spelling when commenting however. I don’t mean to criticize, but I’m the daughter of a teacher who always corrected me and I can’t help it. Better to spell words correctly to be taken ‘seriously’ than worry about what others think of us. We are NOT hypocrites,at least, I’m not! Pelosi and ilk are and maybe worse than hypocrites! They’re definitely on thin ice! I pray for them, for their souls b/c if they keep on in rebellion and defiance of the Church and her teachings on LIFE they will be humbled one day by the Justice of God. Our God will not be mocked. That said, here’s a little definition and spell check. I’m only trying to help, so please don’t misconstrue my intent. God Bless.

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Orpheus Odinga

posted April 19, 2010 at 10:09 pm

It is truly pathetic to see, in these times, people claiming proud, tribal allegiance to the roman catholic church. One would hope that after all the public embarrassment, the moral, ethical, financial and other scandals, people would recognize that they were and are dealing with a moribund entity. The church has no authority left in the world.
There is no conceivable reason to pay any attention to this church, despite its size and wealth. It has no more to say than Marcel Marceau.
However, it continues to wield power. It continues to interfere in the lives of people who would be much better off without that interference. I guess there is at least some truth in the testaments. Is it not written that there is none so blind as he who will not see.
And so it goes.

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posted April 19, 2010 at 10:47 pm

If members are ever to be proud of the Church, we must start by admitting the number of wayward priests is not “infinitesimally small.”

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posted April 20, 2010 at 12:45 am

As one who is seriously comsidering entering the priesthood, I hear questions asking me why? I do see the Church as being wounded with self-inflicted strikes. At the same time the Church temporal is under assault by those individuals and organizations who have no love of the Roman Catholic Church. It does seem to me that I have been witnessing a feeding frenzy surrounding the Church. The Pope does seem to hav a duty to relect on and properly respond to these charges.
All the same the Church does have a mission to bring the opportunity salvation to the world around us. I hope as a priest that I will bring help to those around me. Beyond that it it an unknown, all I do known that I will help the Church in it’s place on earth.

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Mike Andrews

posted April 20, 2010 at 6:47 am

Christ instituted the Church as His instrument of grace on earth. But it is filled with sinful human beings who must constantly convert themselves in pursuit of the greatest good. I will pray for you in your discernment. The Church has thousands of good and wonderful bishops, priests, deacons and religious men and women, including our pope. Perhaps you will be one of them some day.

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posted April 20, 2010 at 7:10 am

What is truly pathetic is your comment. The Church will be around long after you’re gone.

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Steve P

posted April 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm


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posted April 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

I kind of laugh when people take off on the Catholic Church, especially those from the left. The problems in the Catholic Church by and large are becuase some in the Catholic Church have lost their way including some in leadership positions. Their error is in not following the teachings of the Catholic Church which some on the left complaining also dissent from.
Some dioceses allowed their seminaries to be turned into houses of homosexual grave depravity and over the next 40 years we have a large number of homosexuals going after twinks, young boys. Church teaching has always defined the homosexual acts as gravely disordered and grave sin. Why would you allow this into the seminaries? Any abuse of a minor by anyone should be rooted out and punished and any cover up should be punished. Jesus has promised them an eternity with a millstone around their neck and a deep ocean for their lifestyle in harming children. They should all understand this.
We have so called Catholics in public office that are not following church teaching in that they can not and should not support abortion in any way and yet they fight to keep the abortion mills open and fight to fund them. They have to do a kabuki dance around their belief and even when Pelosi and others are clearly taught by the Catholic Church leadership they are in error they do not stop. They place themselves outside the Catholic Church by their actions.
The reason the Catholic Church has lost some moral authority has nothing to do with its teaching, but he lack of its leadership to enforce those teachings. To me that is their first and greatest job to help souls get to heaven with Christ. You cannot lead if you do not let those marching way out of step to get in line or get out of the ranks.

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Rob Pollock

posted April 29, 2010 at 9:14 pm

“10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia.”
This information regarding Protestant ministers has no basis in fact. It is hugely wrong! It was refuted when originally published by Sojourners in 2002 but seems to have found an eternal home in Mr. Miller’s popular speech!
Mr. Miller cites, and reads extensively from, a July/August 2002 Sojourners article by Rose Marie Berger in which she misinterprets statements from Penn. State Prof. Philip Jenkins regarding sexual abuse by Protestant ministers.
In the original article Berger writes…
“Philip Jenkins concludes in his book “Pedophiles and Priests” that while 1.7 percent of Catholic clergy have been found guilty of pedophilia (specifically of boys), 10 percent of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia.” (This quote is used in Miller’s speech)
To which Philip Jenkins responds (Sept/Oct 2002)…
“I regret to say that the statement is baloney. I never said it, and it’s not true!… Every time this ten percent statement appears attributed to me, I try to debunk it, but these things have a life of their own. I have no idea what the actual proportion of pedophile protestant clergy is, but I would be amazed if it was more than a fraction of one percent.”
Cjeck your sources here…
Sojourners apologized to its readers for passing on erroneous information and revised the article, removing the incorrect and defamatory information. But not before Sam Miller got a hold of it!
Regrettably, various versions of Mr. Miller’s speech have recently gone viral within the Catholic community by way of the internet and e-mail. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of websites, blogs, facebook sites, forums, and Catholic news services carry various versions of Miller’s speech.
By all means be proud, but bear not false witness!
Rob Pollock

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