Thursday, May 21, 2009


Even though I was raised Catholic, I haven't considered myself a true church-going, card-carrying member of the Catholic Church for at least fifteen years, if not more. Oh, I know all the rituals, but my heart usually isn't in it.

I will never forget that when Mr. P was born, the whole child-molestation scandal was making its sordid way through the media. I had already heard tales, but preferred to keep my head in the sand and think that it was just a few "bad apples."

Well, as we all came to find out, it was more than just a few bad apples. Hundreds of supposedly "holy men" either committing atrocious acts, or covering them up. To me, both are just as bad.

It took me a really long time to wrap my head around the whole thing. I didn't baptize Mr. P until he was about four years old, as opposed to the usual six months to a year old time frame. I felt so betrayed, so angry at the Church and its complicity in unspeakable crimes.

In fact, I kept waiting for someone in our required pre-Baptism meeting to ask me why I had waited so long. Nobody ever did. I have to say I was a bit disappointed, because I don't think enough members of the Catholic Church have expressed a real opinion about what happened in a formal Church setting.

I had finally decided that the Church was made up of people, some more flawed than others. But all flawed in some way, as we all are. Thus I made the decision to give the benefit of the doubt to the Church and forgive the small number of people who had commited crimes and focus on the larger number who were doing good works and were well-intentioned.

And so as we see in the news recently, the Catholic Church in Ireland has been found to perpetrate similar horrible abuses upon the most innocent and defenseless of their flock. For decades.

I don't know if I can ever call myself a Catholic again.


J at said...

I guess that's the problem with confusing God with religion. Do you ever listen to "This American Life"? They had Dan Savage on a week or so ago, talking about his late mother. He had many qualms with the Catholic church, and so he became an atheist, or at least agnostic, and certainly not Catholic. His mother had similar qualms with the Church, and she handled them differently. He said she felt closer to God, and prayed that the Church would overcome their problems somehow, someday.

I'm not sure that's good enough for me, but it's an interesting point of view.

Heather Plett said...

When I came home from Africa, outraged at some of the abuses the church had perpetuated there (ie. calling AIDS the result of sin and not offering grace or providing people with strategies for addressing the issue), a wise friend told me "if you're angry with the church, perhaps it's your job to help change it". I allowed that wise friend to convince me to be an elder for a few years. In the three years I did it, I believe I had a little impact (insisted that we would not be a church that was narrow-minded about same-sex marriage), but I soon burnt out and walked away.

Ortizzle said...

And the worst part? The findings will not be used for criminal prosecutions. Priests are exempt from rape in this case. What kind of example is that for the church to set? One of the many reasons a lot of people have left the flock.

Anvilcloud said...

You are outraged with good reason. We've had our share up here too.