In efforts to keep up with my monthly blogging goals, I put up a poll on my instagram story three weeks ago asking what topic I should write about next. One was “Why am I still Catholic?” and the other was “Why do I write so much?” The Catholic question won by a landslide.
Two weeks ago, I had the majority of it written out and ready to post. I had a list of reasons with explanations of all of them. It was succinct, honest, and informative. But then, the news of the scandals broke out. And as of yesterday night, there’s still more to the story. Its horrible. Its shameful. Its unfair. Its wrong. Its confusing.
With all of this going on, I thought, “is this really the right time for me to post this?” Its common knowledge that people have been hurt by people within the Church, but this many and in that manner? Ugh. Granted, its from over a decade ago and regulations have changed since then, but still. Wounds like that sometimes don’t ever fully heal. No matter how much time has passed.
Since then, my text cursor has remained blinking, just waiting for me to type something. Do I backspace and start over? Do I just say nothing? Do I address what is going on? What is a blogpost even going to do? Even now, I’m finding it difficult to formulate my thoughts and emotions into words. I’m sad because I see amazing seminarians and priests, who I’m proud to call my not-actually-but-should-be brothers and uncles, taking heat for something they didn’t do. I’m ashamed that Pope Francis (Papa freaking Franny) and many other leaders covered some of this up. I’m mad because nobody should ever be taken advantage of against their own will. This morning, I read the gospel and its the one where Simon Peter asks “to whom shall we go?”
And I think thats what everyone is asking right now. Shall we go?
Catholic or not Catholic, religious or not religious, when people hear that a leader or group of leaders, in any capacity, has done something so immoral, what that leader represented comes into question.
The bishop of a diocese, the coach of a team, the president or dictator of a country… when a leader fails, its easy to scrutinize the people or entity he or she represented. Its easy to waver in your allegiance if you were a follower. Its easy to up and leave.. And well.. Go.
If you’re one of those that chose to go, I don’t blame you one bit. I’m not mad at you either. I get it. Especially if you’ve been hurt or taken advantage of, I honestly find no fault in you leaving. Excuse my language, but this shit is hard. Being joyful, loving, and hopeful in the face of evil and corruption is difficult. Proclaiming that you believe in something that a predator also, supposedly, believes in is jarring.
But as dark as all of this is, there are so many good things I’ve experienced and seen as a Catholic. And thats what keeps me going. I don’t want to leave the goodness that I’ve found in my larger family of the Catholic Church. I love this Church and remain in it because of God, His tangibility through the Eucharist, community, and Tradition, and His intangibility through mercy, love, worship, and beauty.
But thats me. Thats how I’m responding.
I’m not going to tell you how to respond or what to believe. If Jesus himself gave his disciples the freedom to decide and choose, who am I to stop you from doing that yourself. If you want to leave, you can.
But please know that you are always welcome back.