It is no great secret that a certain types of personalities tends to gravitate towards power and influence. Whether it is status, wealth or outright malevolence, these people will go where the power is. Today, we know where the power is and it isn’t in religious institutions though there are still some scraps to be fought over in that realm. In the past, the Church did hold a lot more power and so attracted power-seekers along with the genuinely pious. Our Lord Jesus Christ knew this and warned his followers about it a number of times.
When Christianity was dominant, anyone who sought power of any kind had to do so within the church as it was and had to at least appear to accept the tenets of the faith. Nowadays, that is not necessary but the people that point to the corruption in the church as reasons for it being “bad” are generally speaking, the same type of people who caused all the corruption in the past. The same is true for the actions of governments of all stripes too.
Consider the Puritans as an example. As I believe Robin Williams said, “they were so uptight that the English kicked them out.” This Protestant sect was famously zealous and their very name is now synonymous with religious prudery and fanaticism. Obviously the devotees of this unique branch of Protestantism in New England have lost much of their zeal for Christ and his church today but they haven’t changed in character. The spirit of the Puritans still lives in New England but it is now focused on modern secular politics and they’re just as intolerable about this as they were about genuine religion before. It is a great relief to Christians today that they cannot be so easily associated with these people though their descendants still try to pin the beliefs and actions of their ancestors on the remnant church today.
As already mentioned, the levels of power are no longer found in the church but in different levels of secular politics. Who is actually at the top is open for question but in general, we know that to remain in power you have to make sure to believe certain things mouth certain platitudes — at least publicly. A great many people are quite happy to oblige in order to keep whatever portion they’ve managed to get a hold of too. Ultimately, it is not any one belief in particular but power itself that motivates these people as we’ve witnessed some impressive pivots in the last few years. But they do need to keep up with their malleable inverted catechism.
So the power-seekers of the world will always go where the power is and are happy to compromise or contradict their beliefs in any way necessary to hold it. These same people invariably cause much misery wielding this power and don’t seem to place any limits on what they do. Indeed, they are only limited by what they believe they can get away with. So in the world we live in, there is now little limit placed on them at all.
Consider in contrast the Catholic Saints and how few their have been in positions of genuine worldly power. Not many. Many of the greatest saints grew in sanctity by voluntarily giving up the high statuses they were given or born into. The nasty nobles, barons, kings, conquerors and marauders of history have seldom been good people and brought disgrace on the church where they made use of it to achieve, maintain or increase their power.
In short, the troublemakers of today blame the troublemakers of the past and believe the trouble they bring today will solve the troubles their like caused in the past. They are one and the same. In the end, they always lose and the good, the true and the beautiful wins but it is often a rough road before the triumph. Regardless, I would never want to count myself among people like this no matter what the sacrifice.