Over at Old Life, a commenter asked: “At what point are we free to conclude that a corrupt hierarchy points to a false church?” In that regard, I see this phrase from Jesus as axiomatic: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.” It is not as if “the sex abuse scandal” is the only corruption this hierarchy is involved in.
To be sure, in leaving Roman Catholicism, Rod Dreher made the claim “they all did it” (regarding the sex abuse scandals). But in looking at the issue of “Catholic Social Teaching”, you’ll find it doesn’t go back 2000 years, but maybe 120 years, if you consider some of the positive contributions. Prior to that, Catholic Social Teaching involved, in a significant way, “The Popes Against the Jews” – see especially Part 5. The “corrupt hierarchy” goes way back in history. They’ve just traded different kinds of corruptions.
This is not to say that there are not bad Protestant pastors. But the question rather is, “how can such a corrupt hierarchy claim, with a straight face, that a holy God will grant them doctrinal ‘infallibility’ under any circumstances at all, much less the ‘particular’ circumstances that they have narrowly defined?”