My main goal when I started this blog was to have a place to write mostly funny posts about my life. Something has been happening recently that I feel I need to talk about. The topic isn’t funny but it does touch on part of my life.
I am Catholic and my home is hurting. The Church is being ripped apart by scandal and lecherous priests and the hierarchy that defended/hid them; this is breaking my heart. My heart is breaking for my husband’s elementary school classmates that were victims. My hear is breaking for the parents that thought their children were safe around clergy. My heart is breaking each and every time someone casts a stone at the Church and calls Catholics “satanists” or “Mary worshippers.”
These acts are not of God nor are they of the Church. These acts are proof that we are in a spiritual war and the Devil has made his way into the Church.
It should be easy for me turn my back and run the other way from the Church. I wasn’t raised in her arms, I’m not a cradle Catholic. However, the Catholic Church is my home now and she needs my prayers. She needs my prayers that Pope Francis rids the Church of its evil doers to see that no child, no woman, and no man is ever harmed by clergy ever again. She needs St. Michael to come in and cast out the demons.
It’s not just the Catholic Church that needs prayers, all churches need prayers that this evil be wiped away. These abuses aren’t unique to Catholics, in fact they’re not unique to churches. Just recently a report came out about abuses in the Chicago Public Schools. Abuse can and does happen everywhere. I’m not making excuses and trying to make it seem okay that if they happen in that yard over there, it’s okay for them to happen here as well. I’m just not willing to throw the baby out with the bath water. You see, I spent a lot of time selecting the Catholic faith (or did God just call me home?) and researching where I agreed most with the teachings. I took over 30 weeks of classes to convert.
I was raised going to the Episcopal church. I sang terribly in the children’s choir, served as an acolyte, and was active in the youth group. But I always knew that the Episcopal church was not my home. I remember when I was in seventh grade they held a lock-in called “Awakenings.” The weekend was dedicated to teaching all of us teenagers what God and the church had to say about our newly awakened feelings. There was a Q & A session where we wrote questions on papers and put them in a basket to have a panel of priests answer what we horny teenagers wanted to know, but were too embarrassed to ask. The main one was, “Can we have sex?” This was the point where the Church had a chance to LEAD us and point our moral compasses north, but they didn’t. The gist of the answer was, “Wrap it up and ask for forgiveness.” I was 13 years old, and I remember thinking, “This isn’t right.” Yeah, great idea. Tell a group of horny teens to have sex. Suuurreee, it’s okay because they also say abortions are okay.
Before “Awakenings” my home church was ripped apart by scandal when a priest and a parishioner (a married parishioner and a married priest) decided to have an affair. I was in elementary school when that happened, so I don’t recall the details. I just know that it really affected the church and took years for things to seem normal again.
Fast-forward to probably a year after “Awakenings.” My church youth group went on a mission trip to Mexico. During that trip to Mexico boys and girls were sleeping next to each other. One guy, who shall remain nameless (hint: his name rhymes with Casper) made it his goal on the trip to sexually assault girls by putting his hands down their shirts and groping them while they slept. How did the church handle this? Easy,”We heard of things happening.” Did they tell the parents? I’m pretty sure they didn’t considering that dick was still allowed to attend youth group events. How does a teenager recover from something like that? Eating disorders are a popular fix and rage. So. Much. Rage.
There were also stories of things happening at church camp with authority figures. Sexual impropriety ran rampant. Scandal took place, and I’m sure there are plenty of parishes where it still does. The fact is: The Devil is everywhere and the thing he wants most is to destroy any and everyone’s faith in God. How does he do that? By infiltrating the church. How do pedophiles get what they want? They work and volunteer where their victims are.
Personally, I couldn’t stay in a church where doctrine seemed to change with the wind. I needed a solid foundation that wasn’t wishy-washy. I found solace in the teachings of the Catholic faith. They draw a line in the sand that says: This is right and THIS is wrong. We believe X, Y, and Z. They seldom waiver in their beliefs, and they sure as heck don’t tell teenagers it’s okay to have sex. Did they mess up with the abuses? Absolutely. But I have faith that they will cleanse the Church.