Why do I remain Catholic?
This is such a weird question to me. Like asking me why I stay married. “Well,” I would say to nosy hypothetical person, “Why wouldn’t I? I made a vow.”
And I did, to the Catholic Church. The big, old, behemoth that often has members who make STUPID decisions. Stupid decisions that lead to people being hurt, damaged, forever. Did any of those sinful decisions alter the foundations of the church that I am a part of? Does any sin change the TRUTH of the gospel? How strong is my faith? Can it weather the storm? Do I believe the Lord’s words, “Upon this rock I will build my kingdom and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”?
Here are the answers:
No. Those decisions did NOT alter the Catholic Church. The catechism did not get rewritten. Institutions do not fail people…people fail people. Bishops and priests and nuns and parents failed children. They did. But bishops and priests are not the Rock of my faith.
No. Sin does not change the truth of the gospel. The gospel is love overcoming sin and death.
My faith has not been altered by these scandals. I was baptized as an infant. I, with my dad’s encouragement, prayed for Jesus to come in to my heart at the age of 7. I was confirmed in the Methodist Church at the age of 12. I was moved by the Holy Spirit at church camp. I was confirmed in the Catholic Church Easter Sunday 2000. My mother praised God through death and cancer. As did her mother and my father’s mother. This legacy of faith was my foundation, my rock. And now this is my faith. The anchor holds.
Yes, unequivocally yes. I believe the Lord’s word. These scandals are the “gates of hell.” When we let sin and vice run our lives, when we stop going to confession, when we stop being TRULY sorry for the sins that we have committed, then we bring the gates of hell with us through life. These scandals should bring us to our knees to pray for protection for children. Pray for wisdom for bishops and priests. Pray for courage to stand up when those who benefit from silence would have us sit down.
The Rock has not changed. “But whoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matt. 18:6 KJV) Jesus charged us with protection of children long ago. That has not changed. The devil got in. It’s what he does. He is a roaring lion seeking to “kill, steal and destroy.” And, oh, he roared over this one.
But he will not prevail. His end is written.
So I remain. Without reserve. To fail. To fight. To run the race. This is my Church.