Loving the Church does not mean that we ignore or discount the sins of Church members, bishops, and priests. Rather, we must work to heal the sin present within her, just as we work to take care of our natural mothers when they become ill. We achieve this, in the first place, through cultivating holiness within ourselves through prayer, frequent reception of the sacraments, acts of sacrifice, and acts of charity. Only then are we prepared to help our fellow members of the Body of Christ, including our priests and bishops. We first have to pray; only then are we spiritually prepared to call out sins, to help our fellow members acknowledge and confess them, and then to establish a firm purpose of amendment never to sin again. These are the four steps that are needed—and have always been needed—to reform the Church. Structures are important, but they are only as effective as the people who live by them. The only sure way to combat sin is with God’s grace.
This returns us to the paradoxical state of the Church that is simultaneously divine and human, the storehouse of grace and the refuge of sinners. So long as human beings run the marathon to heaven, there will be failures, sins, and scandals. Just as our natural moth- ers need us to remain steadfast in our commitment to them when they are ill, so must we remain for our holy mother, the Catholic Church. Though her members may fail, she herself will never fail, for Christ remains at her head, guaranteeing her as his means of salvation, even at the darkest moments of our journeys. –from Staying with the Catholic Church (2021)