There is more to the Church than it’s Roman Catholic branch.
In an article about Roman Catholicism, Charles F. McElwee writes the following.
“Catholicism has entered a dark period in America. The Church’s disgraceful handling of sexual-abuse scandals—with shocking new reports routinely emerging—plays a direct role in shrinking congregations and closed churches, especially in the Rust Belt. These revelations have shown an institution that protected its power while victimizing or dismissing the powerless. Already confronting dwindling vocations, aging priests, and fewer active members, the Church in America is challenged as never before, on a path to irrelevancy and disrepute.”
Whether or not Roman Catholicism is “on a path to irrelevancy and disrepute” I do not know.
What I do know is that the Church in America isn’t. That’s because there is more to the universal Church than it’s Roman Catholic branch. That bit of reality tends to be overlooked by some people and denied by others.
If a Christian wants to belong to the Church’s Roman Catholic branch, then so be it.
Personally, I have encountered plenty of devout Roman Catholic Christians who model “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”.
I don’t want them to lose the branch of the universal Church that they know and love.
However, one can be a member of a Church congregation that isn’t Roman Catholic and still be a saved, born-again, Heaven-bound Christian. After all, one is saved spiritually by grace through faith, not by membership in any branch of the universal Church.
To be fair, it should be pointed out that non-Catholic Church congregations aren’t immune from scandals. Plenty of non-Catholic Christian clergy are just as corrupt as Catholic clergy who are sexual predators and who protect sexual predators.
The scandals of the Church’s Roman Catholic branch are major news stories because the Church’s Roman Catholic branch is as large as it is. Its scandals affect people in multiple states and multiple nations.
Yet, those scandals aren’t worse than scandals taking place in non-Catholic Christian congregations.
How a non-Catholic Christian congregation is governed greatly influences how its members respond to a scandal and how quickly that congregation recovers from the scandal.
For example, I have been a member of two separate non-Catholic Christian congregations in which the lead pastors were caught committing adultery. Because both congregations are governed by a body of Elders (Greek: Presbyters), the Elders were able to quickly remove the adulterous pastors. Because each congregation isn’t centered on its lead pastor, its members stayed united.
I hope that the Church’s Roman Catholic branch recovers. It is currently being led by a man whom I believe to be capable of shepherding it to recovery. He inherited a mess, and he will need time to clean it up.