Kathryn Lopez

The Church has had a grueling awakening, as everyone knows. And officials acted -- from Washington, D.C. to Rome. And while bishops in Europe clearly still have lessons to learn, Pope Benedict XVI has been a hero in this story. Knowing the mission and heart of the Church, knowing the need to protect the most innocent among us, knowing what is right from wrong, he has led reform efforts. What was once tolerated is no longer.

Every Catholic and admirer of the Catholic Church will be deeply disappointed, even scandalized, by the failings of Church officials. This is not, however, a reason to lose faith. Sin is a constant, but we must go on living, working and believing.

The Church, as Pope John Paul II explained in 1980, endures "not by the work of human beings, but through the power of Christ's gift. To believe in the power of the Church does not mean believing in the power of the people who compose her, but believing in Christ's gift: in that power that, as St. Paul says, 'is made perfect in weakness' (2 Cor 12:9)."

The Catholic Church is undergoing a painful but necessary renewal. If you know your history, you know the Church is not -- as some have hoped -- going away. She has stood athwart the culture of the times, and will continue to do so, with her bedrock fundamentals in place.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.