The Deacon's Bench

That’s how Melinda Henneberger concludes this heartfelt explanation of why she remains Catholic:

Though Benedict has his admirers, I’ve not led any parades for him, and this is not my first or second rodeo with the rest of these cowboys, either. So when I’m asked how I could stay in a church whose leaders are so obtuse, it’s not as if I don’t understand where they’re coming from. A few weeks ago, Bill Maher asked me on his HBO show why in the world I hang in there. On Good Friday, our Politics Daily colleague Bonnie Erbé asked me on her PBS show, “To the Contrary,” whether I thought attendance at Easter Masses would suffer on Sunday as a result of the current crisis.

Well, not only was our church packed, but a diverse group of 16 adults were baptized and confirmed at our Easter Vigil on Saturday night. One woman in particular among them looked as though she had just won an Oscar, and another wept for joy. (My own Easter metaphor for the chilly wind I felt from Rome: inexplicably, someone had cranked up the air conditioning, which was blowing right on me throughout a freezing 2-hour-40 minute service that my 14-year-old son likened to “Lord of the Rings” 3: “It could have ended so many times, but didn’t.”)

Nevertheless, there I am and there I will stay. Why? Well, to return to the world of politics for a comparison, say you were a lifelong Democrat who had learned that those running the DNC had betrayed your trust in just about every way you could think of. You’d be angry, yes, and I wouldn’t want to be the poor guy trying to get you to open your wallet for the next cycle. But would their perfidy turn you into a Republican? No, you’d keep right on living life as a Democrat because that’s who you are. In the end, it is not about them.

She makes some good points, but doesn’t quite plumb the depths that Elizabeth Scalia did a few days earlier.

For another analysis, from a lapsed Catholic, there’s this take from Delia Lloyd:

I respect the views of all concerned and I strongly believe that everyone has to find their own way toward religious practice. Lord knows I do. But personally, I’m not convinced by this idea that we’re free to ignore the Pope. I’m currently contemplating becoming part of a faith — Judaism — which has its own issues. (Among others, it’s not at all clear that they’d be willing to take me.) But even if I were contemplating re-entering Christianity, I doubt that I could stomach becoming a Catholic right now, despite being raised in an observant Catholic family. And while the sex abuse scandal wouldn’t be the only factor, it would certainly weigh heavily in my thinking.

This point was driven home to me this past weekend, when an old friend from the States came to visit us at our home in London. She’s a practicing Catholic who would very much like to raise her children in the Catholic Church. But she’s increasingly troubled by the sex abuse scandal, and has refused to give the church any money since the scandal first broke in America back in 2002. Her husband, an attorney who was raised as a Baptist but — other than the scandal — is reasonably comfortable with Catholicism, wonders whether his wife would be willing to continue to be a member of any other institution where all of this was going on inside it.

He’s got a point. You certainly wouldn’t keep sending your kids to a school whose management tacitly condoned pedophilia or looked the other way. Nor would you work for a business that did so. I doubt anyone would even join a gym with this track record, no matter how much they liked the equipment and the staff.

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