This is the source of great sadness. Whenever a Christian sins, no matter how great or small his or her position is, it scandalizes the world. And when an important prince of the Church falls so grievously, we are all diminished, for Christ’s witness in the world has been compromised and vilified.
The reality is, we can never fully trust a person to be 100% good all the time, not a priest, not a bishop, not a cardinal, not even the pope, or any religious person, no matter how well known they are, no matter how great a responsibility has been entrusted to him or her.
We are all sinners. We all are frail. We all sin. Unfortunately, when someone high up falls, the resulted scandal brings many more to fall.
The Church is led by sinners, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot trust the Church. The mystery of the Church is that Jesus picked sinners to lead, to show that God can use even sinners to do good. In the long history of the Church, there have been many very sinful popes, and yet, amazingly, the Church’s teaching was preserved. Not one of them managed to corrupt her doctrines irrevocably.
This is so even for the Pharisees in Jesus’ time. Despite their sinfulness and misunderstanding, their teaching on the law has been preserved. And so Jesus instructed the people to listen to what they taught but not to imitate what they do, for they had the right authority but they themselves did not practice rightly.
Yes, of course, God prefers his ministers to be holy. Though God’s plan will be carried out despite the folly of his appointed messengers,their grave offences can cost many souls.
Ultimately, we must realize that we can only trust in Jesus, and the authority entrusted to their teaching insofar that it is in line with the official teachings of the Church, and pray for the ongoing conversion of all our shepherds and leaders. We need holy leaders today, and they need our prayer to fight the good fight.