After the recent Pennsylvania report that has come out once again a gaping wound has been opened for all to see. I have a few thoughts about this and the reactions from both inside the Church and outside. I’m horrified not only that Priests, Bishops, and others would sexually abuse children but that the Church would knowingly allow it and just shuffle them around to repeat their sickening behavior. It further boils my blood that the Church is supposed to be the moral compass for its members, how can the Church be trusted to provide any moral teaching when the very people espousing the teachings are living a morally bankrupt life themselves. I’m mad, I’m mad as hell about this and deeply pained that the Church I Love has yet to take responsibility, has yet to have a Mea Culpa moment. Still, there is a shifting of blame to individuals but only when there is incontrovertible evidence She cannot deny.
Many have left the Church over this and sadly many more will continue to leave. This too is deeply painful, how can change happen if you do not stay and be the Change that must happen for the Bride of Christ to be all that she must be. If the Church and Her teachings are true (and I believe they are) How can people as deeply angry and pained as they find a way to leave? How can you leave if the singular most important teaching that Jesus is Truly Bodily Present in the Holy Eucharist? is True?! What comes to mind is once again Simon Peters response to Jesus, “To Whom shall we go?”. I was raised to Believe that the Roman Catholic Church possesses the fullness of Truth and that all others, by comparison, are but dim reflections. So I find myself in an awkward place, aligned with my Brothers and Sisters who long for the Change, who long for and must demand (quite frankly) for that Mea Culpa without reservation. She must declare herself guilty of betraying the Trust and Faith that has been placed in Her. It is my opinion that it will be only then that Trust can be regained, Forgiveness offered (to the Church) and Healing begins. You cannot heal without first acknowledging you are in need of healing.
My last thought. I’ve done a lot of reading recently about this and one of the things I keep reading from those inside the Body of the Church some of whom complain that there is too much attention being focussed on the Catholic Church. So what! It’s not the attention being focussed on the Church that’s the problem, it is the acts that were done and covered up that are the problem. The Church is not the victim here, She is the perpetrator and the one in need of forgiveness and Penance. The Sooner she realizes this the sooner, forgiveness, healing, and growth will happen.
I have a confession. Not anything lascivious or immoral. I have every good intention to go to Mass on Sundays, but I don’t. It’s not because I don’t enjoy the Mass, I do, very much. Maybe I should start with all of the things I love about the Mass. I love the flow of the Mass, the reliability of knowing where in the celebration we are, the responses back and forth between priest and the people of God. I Love receiving Communion where it is both a shared experience reminding us we are all One Body of Christ and where it is also the most deeply intimate moment with Our Lord. Here’s a few things that keep me from Mass, in some cases laziness and this ones on me. There is no way to make this look pretty. Lately however it’s a two fold thing, it’s the priests and where I’m at on a Spiritual level. It was not that long ago the church I attend had (two) amazing dynamic priests. Their homilies were on point and useful, not the far too common bland and wordy retelling of the readings without any meat to bring into our daily lives. When the priests offered Mass you could sense, you could tell they were in the moment, in the words and prayers they were uttering on the congregations behalf. This changed late Spring a year ago, one of the priests was reassigned to a different, though somewhat local parish and the other inexplicably took a personal leave of absence (that is a whole different post). The second reason is that while I love all of the things I had mentioned at the beginning, I get fatigued with not feeling truly a part of the community I worship with,. I get fatigued with not being able to truly share my life and my marriage with my congregation. I guess it boils down to this sense that I am a discordant cog in an otherwise beautiful wheel. I stay because it is the only way to bring about the Change I Hope and believe will come.
There is a Spirit of change happening in the Church. One of the reasons I started this blog was because as a gay Catholic I’ve always felt bit double minded, like so many of my brothers and sisters who have heard all of the very loud voices from within the Church telling me how much we’re NOT welcome but that still small voice in our heads would say “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of Eternal life” John 6:68 . I have fortunately always been a bit deaf to the opinions of others. One of my good friends and I got into a conversation years ago at one of our weekly after-work get togethers (for cocktails) on the Seattle waterfront. It radically altered my thinking about the Church. She said “Be the Change You want to See”. It made all the sense in the world to me and has stuck with me ever since. This blog was started with this idea in mind and has recently relaunched. I am hoping that it can become a place for those of us that still identify as Roman Catholic and Gay can form a community to share our experiences and ideas and get news. If you haven’t already please signup and of course follow on the usual suspects. Thanks and Blessings – Ken