This week’s episode of Reign deals with French and Vatican treatment of Protestants under Catholic rule. The episode depicts Francis II ratifying and edict that each citizen must declare his faith publicly. Terrible penalties are exacted for the sins of being a Protestant or lying about being one. While the show is ficitonal, history has recorded the terrible things done in the name of God and the Catholic church.
Not long ago a friend complained about Protestant friends of hers and atheists bringing up the Church’s sins. Her response struck me, “Those things happened. Sure. So they should just…deal with it.”
It struck me because, we need to start dealing with it too. We can’t just say, “those things happened, let’s not talk about it.” That shows a lack of compassion for everything from being drawn and quartered to the sex abuse scandals of the 20th century. We need to start talking. And more importantly, we need to listen. We need to hear the sadness, the confusion, the betrayal. No, we may not have directly perpetrated the crimes, but we confess to being part of the Body of Christ that not only perpetrated them but endorsed them. For the glory of God. It’s not enough to say we’re enlightened now and we know better, more compassionate ways to win hearts and minds. Because if we don’t endure some of the pain with the victims, if we don’t listen to what they have to say, we cannot offer real comfort. Our compassion will not feel genuine no matter how we feel in our hearts.
We need to start dealing with the not-so-nice parts of our collective past. We need to stop being defensive and start being the loving believers we were created to be. If we want to change hearts and mind and irrational prejudice, we have to step up and