Friday, August 17, 2018
I believe that religion is first and foremost about God…our worship of and relationship with God; and then, also, about our relationship with our fellow human beings created by God.
As a Christian, I believe that religion is also about Jesus Christ coming to our world to redeem us and teach us, teaching us about our relationship to God..."Our Father, who art in heaven"...and about our relationship to other people. "I was hungry and you gave me food…"…(etc., and)…"…as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me." (Matthew 25:40)
As a Catholic, I believe that God gave us the Church to help us with all of the above. I believe the Mass and the Sacraments help me grow closer in my relationship to God; and I believe the Church helps many people with food and other needs, and encourages us to do so personally, as well. But...
Churches are administered by human beings and, as such, are subject, in their humanity, to inhumanity. The sins which the Catholic Church (and other churches) preach against are sometimes committed not only by churchgoers but even by Church leaders (Catholic and others)…and sometimes, as we have been seeing, have even been covered up by Church leaders. This is very wrong. I am so very sorry for anyone affected by this. I can't even…there are not even enough words to express my sorrow for those affected.
For me personally (and I do speak as someone who has never been abused within the Church), I see the Church as both Divine and human; and while I decry the sins and crimes of some of its leaders, at the same time, I appreciate the blessings that come from the rich liturgies of the Church, from those in the Church who are following their vocation as they have been called to it, to minister to God's people in love and in sacrifice, the blessings which come from those many who are not committing crimes against their fellow human beings.
I see some people say, 'stop giving money to the diocese' – and while I understand where they might be coming from and I judge no one for that sentiment – for me personally, that would mean two things, to give less to programs which help the needy (although one can do that elsewhere, if they actually will or do, and I'm sure many do). And I see it as giving less to the support of seminaries and other avenues of continuing the Mass and Sacraments. For those who have given up on the Church, obviously they probably won't give money; but if I want to continue to attend Mass and receive the Sacraments (and I do), then it seems to me that I will also want to continue to contribute to making that possible.
I also believe that the number of priests who abuse their position is relatively few…relative to the total number of priests who serve; although I fully acknowledge that even one would be too many. The numbers we have been hearing about in our recent past are way too many. I have seen the Church take steps in more recent years to change this, and I hope it will continue this progress and - not slowly but - quickly and completely. I hope - and of course pray - it will move "full forward" on vetting and accountability, and "full stop" on tolerating abuse, crimes, and cover-ups.
As always, what I have written is my opinion and my viewpoint, and does not necessarily represent anyone else. What I have written is also subject to my own humanity, and I may be saying too much for some and too little for others.
With a heavy heart, but trusting in God's love, and in his healing for all those affected,