Many years ago, a couple of Mormon missionaries came to my door. My policy has always been to invite them in for a chat. I do this for two reasons: 1) I’m able to evangelize them about Catholicism, and 2) they can’t be knocking on anyone else’s door while they’re with me.
We hit it off well, and they promised to come back another time. And they did. And they did. For the next few months, they were regular visitors. When they walked up the drive, my kids would yell out, “Dad, your Mormon friends are here!” I think my openness to talk gave them hope that they could convert me. And of course I was hoping to do the same to them.
In one conversation, they decided to bring up the topic of history. Anyone who knows Mormonism well knows that the historical record isn’t kind to Mormon claims. But they wanted to discuss Catholic history—specifically, the stories of scandal and immorality surrounding popes and bishops. They hoped that would weaken my attachment to the Church.
But before they could really get started, I interrupted them.
“Listen—you think you have some good scandals to report. But you don’t know the half of it. I’ve studied Church history for years, and the sins and scandals are far worse than you could imagine. But here’s the thing: only a divine institution could survive the people who have led the Catholic Church over the years. So if anything, these past scandals make me more convinced that I was right to become Catholic.”
Needless to say, they quickly changed the topic and moved on.
I’ve thought about that discussion a few times during the recent scandals rocking the Church.