The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Why remain Catholic?

posted by jmcgee

In case anyone missed it, Elizabeth Scalia has some powerful, soul-searing answers:

The darkness within my church is real, and it has too often gone unaddressed. The light within my church is also real, and has too often gone unappreciated. A small minority has sinned, gravely, against too many. Another minority has assisted or saved the lives of millions.

But then, my country is the most generous and compassionate nation on Earth; it is also the only country that has ever deployed nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

My government is founded upon a singular appreciation of personal liberty; some of those founders owned slaves.

My family was known for its neighborliness and its work ethic; its patriarch was a serial child molester.

The child molester was also a brilliant, generous, talented man — the only person who ever read me a bedtime story. I will love him forever, for that, even when I wake up gasping and afraid.

I am a woman with very generous instincts, and I try to love everyone, but I am capable of corrosive scorn. Have I been much sinned against? Yes. So have you. Have I sinned against others? Oh, yes. So have you.

Like a pebble cast into a pond, our every action ripples out toward the edges, reaching farther than we intended, touching what we do not even know, for good and for ill. It all either means nothing, or it means everything.

As a Catholic, I believe it means everything.

Read the rest. Please. It’s a stunner.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(28)
post a comment
Holy Cannoli

posted April 5, 2010 at 2:09 pm


Very powerful essay!



report abuse
 

Panthera

posted April 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm


As self-delusional apologia go, I’ve read worse.
The simple fact of the matter is, this church is beyond redemption.
People who, at the same time, argue that two men uniting in a loving, monogamous marriage are gravely disordered while priests who rape children need only be transferred to another location and the victims told it is their own fault is too perverted and hateful to support.
If the church were to come clean, apologize (genuinely) to her victims and show genuine remorse, I would reconsider my position. Of course, were the church capable of such Christian behavior, she would have never condoned such rape and abuse in the first place.



report abuse
 

blueenigma

posted April 5, 2010 at 4:40 pm


What’s occurred in the Roman Catholic church is deeply disturbing. The facts that have surfaced make it impossible to believe that this is the “true church” and its leadership is representative of “Christ.” These aren’t isolated incidents. They are widespread (global) and have been occurring for extended periods of time. There are serial abusers like Oliver O’Grady and John Geoghen. And yet, this institution’s leadership did little more than try to protect its own image. That has perpetuated these heinous crimes. Why someone would want to remain affiliated with such an organization is beyond me.



report abuse
 

Curious

posted April 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm


The Church of Jesus Christ could never be beyond redemption because it is redemption. As for why anyone would remain affiliated with it, did you ever hear of the Eucharist???????



report abuse
 

Holy Cannoli

posted April 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm


>>>As self-delusional apologia go, I’ve read worse.
What was it that she wrote, that appears (to you) to be “self-delusional”?
>>>The simple fact of the matter is, this church is beyond redemption.
Actually the “simple fact of the matter” is that not even you are beyond redemption.
>>>People who, at the same time, argue that two men uniting in a loving, monogamous marriage are gravely disordered…
Ah-ha!
http://couragerc.net/



report abuse
 

Holy Cannoli

posted April 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm


>>>What’s occurred in the Roman Catholic church is deeply disturbing.
From that comment you conclude:
>>>Why someone would want to remain affiliated with such an organization is beyond me.
Sorry, that is an example of the fallacy of Hasty Generalization which demonstrates poor logical thinking.
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/hasty-generalization.html



report abuse
 

Panthera

posted April 5, 2010 at 5:21 pm


Holy Cannoli,
You can “a-ha” as much as you like, the rape and abuse were (certainly still are) condoned by the Catholic church.
That is reality – and it is perfectly reasonable to contrast this awful abuse of children with the made-up charges this institution of sexual predators levels at gays who demand full human rights.
Her conclusions are biased by her desire to remain within an institution which actively encourages raping children, yet Scalia is at least attempting to reason through the problem. As her underlying assumptions are in error (were the Catholic church truly in tune with Christ, these rapes would have never occurred), her conclusions are of necessity faulty.
You, on the other hand, are condoning an institution guilty of the most vile perversion of authority since the Catholic church backed the N az is.



report abuse
 

Holy Cannoli

posted April 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm


>>>Her conclusions are biased by her desire to remain within an institution which actively encourages raping children
What she realizes and you don’t is the Catholic Church is the one true church established by Jesus Christ despite its checkered history, despite its warts and despite the imperfections of both SOME of its clergy and SOME of its laity.
>>>As her underlying assumptions are in error (were the Catholic church truly in tune with Christ, these rapes would have never occurred), her conclusions are of necessity faulty.
A non sequitur and yet another example of your faulty logic.
For example: If Christ were really the Son of God, he would never have selected Judas as one of the Apostles.
>>>You, on the other hand, are condoning an institution guilty of the most vile perversion of authority since the Catholic church backed the N az is.
Strawman argument.
Who condoned any perversion? I’d be the first to admit the sexual abuse scandal was the direct result of homosexual predators among the priesthood and enablers among the episcopacy.
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/hasty-generalization.html



report abuse
 

panthera

posted April 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm


Holy Cannoli said:
Strawman argument.
Who condoned any perversion? I’d be the first to admit the sexual abuse scandal was the direct result of homosexual predators among the priesthood and enablers among the episcopacy.
end quote
And you accuse me of using straw men arguments?
It is significant that you completely ignore the girls who have been raped and abused. Sexual abuse has nothing to do with sexual orientation – that fact that a man has raped a woman does not make it a “heterosexual” act, it makes it an act of criminal violence. You are discounting the value of girls and women.
You are also attempting to blame homosexuals for the perversions and rapes committed by predators who are priests in the Catholic church. Apart from the fact that the FBI has shown again and again that homosexuals are less likely to engage in such criminal activity than are heterosexuals, it is an abomination before God to try to blame the sins of the Catholic church on homosexuals.
Your attacks on those of us who are disgusted by this will do nothing to silence us, nor will they stop the slow but sure mills of God. Jesus never appointed these rapists and predators as his successors, your ignorance of the role of Judas is as vast as your contempt for the children – boys and girls – raped and abused by the Catholic church.



report abuse
 

Holy Cannoli

posted April 5, 2010 at 6:02 pm


>>>Sexual abuse has nothing to do with sexual orientation
In the case of post-pubescent sexual abuse within the Catholic Church which (for your information) is being discussed, it has EVERYTHING to do with homosexuals predators. If you read the John Jay report you would have known that. Although you and your friends want to deny it and not even talk about it, that doesn’t make it any less true.
I’m sorry but you are boring me. You’ve become repetitive, you are intellectual dishonest and your debating skills are lacking and heavily influenced by your prejudice and your “personal preferences.”
http://couragerc.net/
Adiós



report abuse
 

Curious

posted April 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm


Holy Cannoli, with all due respect, why are you wasting your time and breath on people like Panthera. Were she/he a Catholic I might try to reason with her/him. Now the Church “backed the Nazis”. It is hopeless to try to have a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.



report abuse
 

Holy Cannoli

posted April 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm


Curious,
You are absolutely correct. Sometimes I slip back to my wild youth when, every once in awhile, I had the need to smash somebody’s cannoli.
;-))



report abuse
 

Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher

posted April 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm


Breaking through the wall of hateful invective to simply say: “Thank you Elizabeth. Thank you.”



report abuse
 

Panthera

posted April 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm


Curious and Holy Cannoli…while you are busy patting yourselves on the back, the sufferings of the victims of your church continue. Don’t think God doesn’t make note of it.
It is precisely because of arrogance such as yours that such rape and abuse have been permitted for so long in the Catholic church.



report abuse
 

Curious

posted April 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm


Panthera, why don’t you get a life. You’re really tiresome with your hyperbole. You really sound like you are on the edge. Reality is something you need to grasp.



report abuse
 

Panthera

posted April 5, 2010 at 7:01 pm


Curious,
Given the number of children raped and abused by the Catholic church I am appalled by the efforts you and other apologists are undertaking to trivialize the harm done and to dismiss the damage the church has caused as minor.
Your attacks won’t help the Catholic church, if anything it is precisely the attitude you and your enablers of these rapists have taken on which is driving the fury we feel about what the Catholic church did to these children.
Trying to place the blame on homosexuals is both to bear false witness as well as to try to shift the guilt away from the genuinely guilty to the innocent. You did the exact same thing to the Jews for centuries, culminating in the atrocities the Vatican actively supported under the Na zis.



report abuse
 

Curious

posted April 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm


This has now gone from the abuse scandal to the church supporting the Nazis. What a lot of bull. You need serious help. Get it fast. Your agenda is so transparent.



report abuse
 

Mike Andrews

posted April 5, 2010 at 7:46 pm


Hundreds of millions of people, including me, remain Catholic because Christ Himself instituted the Church as an instrument through which divine grace is obtained. I remain Catholic because I wish salvation. Humans, including priests, sin. That is exactly why we stay in the Church. People who leave the Church only harm themselves and risk their eternal salvation. Why anyone would do that because of the sins of others is totally, completely and utterly beyond logic.



report abuse
 

Mark Syman

posted April 5, 2010 at 8:00 pm


As of 7 years ago, 838 documented cases: http://www.reformation.com/



report abuse
 

NM

posted April 6, 2010 at 12:05 am


You really have to love the witness of these oh-so-devout and holy Catholics…such an inspiraton, really…



report abuse
 

blueenigma

posted April 6, 2010 at 3:19 am


There’s a mountain of evidence (and growing) that the abuse is widespread. Yes, we all sin. But these are *not* petty crimes. Moreover, they aren’t sins committed by just some other people. I was taught that priests have a special role in the church. Sexually abusing minors is a serious crime. Covering up such atrocities is also a criminal offense. Such transgressions and the secrecy on the part of Church leadership is hardly “Christlike,” especially when there’s a pattern of recurrence.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted April 6, 2010 at 8:21 am


No matter anyones thoughts or beliefs, the Holy Catholic Church is a hospital for sinners NOT a museum of saints.
Elizabeth Scalia has put into words what many Catholics are feeling but can’t seem to elucidate.
Peace to all.



report abuse
 

NM

posted April 6, 2010 at 11:09 am


Yes, anonymous alter-ego “Your Name”, it’s a hospital for sinners not a museum for saints, unless you want to shit all over someone, right?
You’ve shown the world what you and your stinking church really believe. You don’t get to spit on people for a few quick jollies and then pretend you’re oh-so-holy ten minutes later.
I am calling this person’s diocese and parish and telling them what he’s fostering here with this self-promotional, ego-driven drivel he calls a blog.
This is the true evil the Church these days — these creepy little internet subsets of their “church”.



report abuse
 

blueenigma

posted April 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm


If you want to view the Catholic Church as a “hospital for sinners”, you have the right to do so. However, it is not above the law. In most societies, people who sexually abuse minors and those that cover-up such crimes are criminals. There’s a special place for people convicted of such offenses, it’s called prison.



report abuse
 

cathyf

posted April 6, 2010 at 3:38 pm


So, blueenigma, what sentences should all of those cops and DAs who covered up for priest predators be serving?



report abuse
 

oldestof9

posted April 6, 2010 at 3:59 pm


Moral outrage at the ideas of others rarely serves GOD’S PURPOSES…
…only your OWN.
Peace to all



report abuse
 

blueenigma

posted April 7, 2010 at 12:35 am


Hi cathyf. First of all, from a legal standpoint I’m a strong believer in the presumption of innocence. That said, if there’s credible evidence that such cover-ups actually occurred, then they should be investigated. As for specific charges (if any) and sentences (if found guilty), I’ll leave it up to our judicial system to make that determination. Although not perfect, it’s better than most.



report abuse
 

Antoinette

posted April 9, 2010 at 9:12 am


A Catholic shares a faith and a belief system that is nearly 2000 years old. It has survived in spite of its leaderships failings. Why – because of what is taught about Jesus. A good man, holy man, son of God who came to us to teach and show us how to live, pleasing to God, comforting to others and ourselves. The scandals now and the scandals of the past centuries did not destroy the teachings of Jesus, they can not be destroyed. We are capable of Love – love of God, love of neighbor, and love of self.
Did not Jesus teach that whoever harms a child will be punished? Do you not think that God will not sit in judgment on the sex-abusers? If the sex-abuser and his/her enablers avoided punishment on earth, surely there will be greater punishment at time of judgment.
When I attended college in the 70’s, the psychology dept. at the university was heavily staffed by behaviorists. They believed all behavior was learned. Even learned behavior could be changed.
Well we know otherwise now. How many psychologists were part of that periods enablers? There are so many unclean hands in this sex scandal in the church, in the schools, in the scouting clubs, in all areas of society. We need to develop a strong moral code of behavior in western society.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives!

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below.

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy.

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.