The news out of Pennsylvania is disgusting, inhumane, and fucking sick.
Don’t excuse my language. There should be no politeness in this discussion. No measured reactions. Only pure anger. Because would you doubt a loving God would feel anything else? Would he shift, and cover, and blame, and say “But have you thought of this?”
It’s fucking sick.
And I’m still Catholic.
I am Catholic out of will, and out of force of habit. And at times like these, I deeply question why. Why should I align myself with such a deeply flawed and scarred institution? One that has ruined the lives of thousands?
I am not Catholic because of a priest. I am Catholic because of the people sitting beside me in the pews.
The ones who sat and shared with me, who taught and listened to me, who held my hands and encouraged me. The ones who dared me to live a servant’s life. The ones who pointed me not to a priest, but to a God.
While the priests might have been the men who transformed the blessed sacrament, these were the men and women who handed it, as well as my faith, to me.
And it was one of those men and women who I heard read aloud one Sunday morning,
“For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body….it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.”
For too long, I have heard members of the Church defend it from its abuse allegations by arguing that we should be judged on the accuracy of our theology, and not the actions of our leadership. But it is people who hand us our faith. And people who destroy it.
The body is not our priesthood. It is the men and women who show up, day after day. To take dinner to the sick, to thanklessly host the parish picnic, to fluff a bride’s veil before she walks down the aisle, or to grab lunch with a friend who no longer attends mass because she just can’t handle it any longer.
It is the laity who gave me my faith. And it is the laity who can decide what kind of church we want to become.
Our country is wrestling with its own demons at the moment. As our president grows more erratic, and abuses like ripping families apart come to light, we hear a battle cry, “This is not who we are!”
But it is who we are. However, we can choose if it is who we want to remain.
I am Catholic in the same way I am an American. It is where I have found my home, and in doing so, I must understand that my Church’s and my country’s flaws are mine as well. This is a responsibility I’m still figuring out how to bear.
Be angry. Move forward.