How can I think about becoming Catholic after the latest sex abuse reports?

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As a Christian considering joining the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, I find myself overwhelmed with grief, anger and despair after a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a report detailing the cover-up of over 1,000 cases of sexual abuse by over 300 clergy.

“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades,” the grand jury wrote. Church officials operated what could only be described as a “playbook for concealing the truth.”

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Unlike the bishops of Chile amid their sex abuse scandal, the U.S. bishops did not offer their resignations when this news broke but merely stated, “We are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic Bishops.” That apology is the clerical equivalent of a politician’s “thoughts and prayers.” It comforts few and accomplishes nothing.

The question for me is: How can I think about becoming Catholic now?

The current abuse crisis remains a painful stumbling block to my entry into the church.

I have fallen in love with the Catholic Church through a long, winding spiritual journey. Starting out Baptist, then going non-denominational and finally becoming Anglican, I have followed my study of Scripture, tradition, philosophy, theology and history, together with my own spiritual experiences, along a path that has led to Catholicism. Put simply, the Catholic Church feels like home.

Though I feel conflicted, I still want to become Catholic. The history, the global connectedness, the continuity, the tradition, the liturgy, the sacraments, the prayers, the saints, the mysticism, the focus on the poor, the emphasis on justice—all these dimensions of the faith remain true, good, beautiful and compelling.

I can find ways to justify my desire. After all, I tell myself, it is not as though the Catholic Church was free of scandals, corruptions and abuses in the past. History still bears the scars of the crusades, the Inquisition and religious wars. Church officials, even popes, have been guilty of terrible things. Yet the church faithful has endured.

Can I submit myself to this institution that systematically covered up countless acts of abuse?

Still, the current abuse crisis, along with the unsatisfactory response from many Catholic leaders, remains a painful stumbling block to my entry into the church. Can I submit myself to this institution that systematically covered up countless acts of abuse? Can I follow my bishop without wondering what he knew and when? Can I go to confession knowing that its seal has been abused to hide serial predators from justice? Can I honestly profess before the congregation that I accept and believe all that the Catholic Church teaches when so many of its teachers have committed or covered up these vile acts? Can I really trust my children to their care?

Yet where am I to go? Sexual abuse is horrifically common outside the Catholic Church, too. Just last year, Andy Savage, a man that I had known since I was a child, stepped down from his pastorate after it was revealed that he had sexually assaulted a woman when serving as her youth pastor. Settling for an alternate home within another Christian tradition will not solve the issue.

To be honest, I do not know where I will be once the dust settles. For now, I am enrolled in R.C.I.A., yet unsure whether I can bring myself to go. My heart is deeply conflicted. What little comfort there can be in such times I have found in the prayers, like the Memorare:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

Mother, pray for us.

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J Cosgrove
6 months 2 weeks ago

What has the scandal to do with being a Catholic.

Answer nothing.

These people perverted Catholicism.

J Cosgrove
6 months 2 weeks ago

If your commitment is rational (based on belief e.g. Believe in God and Christ is God and set a path for salvation "I am the Way, the Truth and Light") and not emotional it will hold up. If emotional (e.g. inspires a lot of good people) then it may last but subject to negative emotional events such as this crisis. Best if both.

James M.
6 months 2 weeks ago

I became Catholic long after the Church had - from some POVs - destroyed her credibility by having a very murky history well before 1900.

Christ has thoroughly identified Himself with sinners. Extremely thoroughly. If we are to be in communion with Christ, we have to be in communion with sinners. Those sinners have to be in communion with us sinners. If the paedophile clergy in the CC could see the souls of their critics as God does, they would probably be horrified at how sinful those critics were.
Christ identifies Himself with sinners in every Holy Communion, whether good, or very bad indeed. One brings Life - the other “heaps up Wrath”. But both involve His Identification of Himself with sinners.

There is no place for us to hold our noses in (self-)righteous disgust at the sins of others. That is a form of self-assertion. The only self we should assert, is the Self of Christ, Whose Body we are called to be. We have no right to our own priorities - only to His. Because we belong, not to ourselves, but to Him. So we need His Spirit, His Mind, His Will, His Wisdom and His Righteousness and Sanctification and Redemption, His Sonship of His Father, all that is His, to be in us. He “must be formed in” us. His members, are members of us; as are we, of them.

Evangelicals sing the hymn “Just as I am” - and a fine hymn it is too. But there is a catch. If we can come to God, “just as we are”, so can those of whom we disapprove. A repentant paedophile is as acceptable to God as we are, *because the grace to repent is itself the gift of God*.

Evangelicals cannot limit grace to “me & my God”, & deny it to “those Catholics/paedophiles/liberals/Republicans/insert name of unfavoured group]”. If it is free & unconditional & not based on desert - as they say it is - then it can come to anyone: prostitutes, murderers, homosexuals, abortionists, Catholic bishops, Popes, anyone. A doctrine of grace that excludes anyone because we sinners regard them as too wicked to be forgiven, is not a doctrine of grace, but a doctrine of works. Paedophiles are today’s Samaritans, Gentiles, Jews, Freemasons, Nazis, Communists: the One Group Absolutely Beyond The Pale.

If God’s grace can be present and at work in a drug pusher or a gay rights activist, it can also be present in a sleazy televangelist or two-timing Republican or White Supremacist. That human beings can’t see it, is irrelevant. If St Augustine had been encountered by some modern Catholics while he was still a Manichee, how many would think possible that he would become one of the most honoured of the Saints ? And today’s Saint in the making, may become an apostate, and not repent and be restored. Those of us who seem to stand, had better take heed lest we fall. For we may fall far lower, and more ruinously, than many whom we think of as bad people.

Tim O'Leary
6 months 2 weeks ago

The reasons for being/becoming a Catholic Christian can be grouped into three:
1) Conviction - because Jesus is the only way to salvation, & the Church is His Mystical body.
2) Community - for the love of people, family & friends. Better to trust God and not people.
3) Culture - the Catholic Church is a beautiful civilization, the only real one. But this is a fragile reason to be a Christian.
When you truly deeply love someone, one responds to their suffering with more love, not less. It is actually a test of how real your love ever was. I deeply love Jesus, and His mystical body is suffering more, so I love Him more. I love the Church more in its present suffering.

Andrew Di Liddo
6 months 2 weeks ago

I do not think number 3 is a fragile reason. I think it is very well and uniquely put and an excellent reason. Beauty and truth go hand in hand. I have been edified by Fr. Thomas Dubay's book "The Evidential Power of Beauty" -Science and Theology Meet. Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., teaches and writes on this aspect of our faith as well. Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote "Every experience of beauty points to infinity".

A Fielder
6 months 2 weeks ago

"Can I submit myself to this institution that systematically covered up countless acts of abuse?" Adam, don't submit yourself to the institution. Submit to God. Your're not alone. Help the rest of us work for justice.

Trent Shannon
6 months 2 weeks ago

the hierarchy is not the church. the gospel, bible, the people, that is the church. yes its a turbulent time, and more needs to be done by the hierarchy rather than just pray - they need to come into the pasture and find the lost sheep, show that the way forward rather than relying on people coming through the door. How can you come through an open door if you aren't sure of the host?

Don't worry, there are youth who see a future church and its hierarchy that has changed and adated to the needs of the modern world, ahead of the ball on future abuse - because even with reforms (the church here in Australia has taken a number already and more are due courtesy of our Royal Commission recommendation, with a number sent to the Holy See) there will be other cases. just not to the magnitude of those brought forth thanks to inquiries and grand juries.

I'm 36 and im on the line of the old church and the new. having read the church in Australia's response to the royal commission, I am satisfied changes are in play, and having had a word with my priest I know the church has changed to follow reporting rules (ex confession), does background checks, working with children checks, screens applicants.

if in doubt, speak with your parish or diocese

Crystal Watson
6 months 2 weeks ago

I became a Catholic about 20 years ago through RCIA. At the time I was a little disturbed by the sex abuse problem as well as the way the church treated women, but I told myself those things didn't really matter all that much, that they were not what the church was really about. I was wrong. Those problems have only become worse over time and they can't be separated from the church that created them. Now I don't go to church anymore. I'm still a Christian, but that doesn't depend on being part of this institution.

Phillip Stone
6 months 2 weeks ago

Why do you not stick to the facts, Crystal?
While you were in RCIA we, the experienced Catholics were dealing with the sex abuse issue and the cover-up issue. Neither were put behind us, but the vast majority of the offences were committed in the 60s to the 80s by people born in the 30s and offenders were dying, being reigned in or rendered powerless or in gaol.
Few predators were undetected or free to continue their predation in our diocese.
The failures and abuses of governance in the international realm and power structure remain as well as a lack of the true understanding of the actual phenomenon.
I dispute that the Catholic culture created the abuse, I wholeheartedly agree that it is totally responsible not only for the protection of perpetrators but resistance to significant change or professional wisdom from outside the inner circles of the governors.

Crystal Watson
6 months 2 weeks ago

1) The fact seems to be that there is a much higher rate of sex abuse in the Catholic church than in other Christian denominations.
2) The leadership of the church, including the popes, have not made the changes that would make abuse less likely but instead have covered it up when they could.

Joan Sheridan
6 months 2 weeks ago

Please come back

Crystal Watson
6 months 2 weeks ago

I'm still interested in the church, I guess, or I wouldn't be commenting here. But I can't belong to a church that hurts so many people, from children to women to LGBT people.

Tim Donovan
6 months 2 weeks ago

I'm very sorry that you have left the Church founded by Jesus. I can appreciate your point. When I was a young man, I considered myself to be a "Christian agnostic." That is, for several years , although I tried my best to follow the teachings of Jesus as interpreted by the Church, I rarely attended Mass and seriously doubted God's existence. Why? I couldn't understand why a good God would have gay people like myself suffer discrimination in various ways, as well as experience being called by painful, offensive terms. Nor could I understand why innocent people, especially children, suffered in manifold eays: disease, disabilities (I'm a retired Special Education teacher), homelessness, hunger, physicial, emotional, or sexual abuse, drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness, and more. In time, I returned to attending Mass, but still had questions about why God "behaved" as He did, despite having attended 12_years of Catholic schools and having done very well in theology classes, and then having graduated with a degree in Education from a Catholic college. However, in time I concluded that God didn't cause such misfortunes, but that it was either a mystery, or that it was the original sin of our first human patents (though I believe that the first humans disobeyed God and therefore caused great disorder in human life, I myself don't believe it's literally true that the first humans ate fruit from a forbidden tree, but defied the will of God in some other unknown but serious manner). I won't go into much more detail (I've already taken up far too much space in my remarks) but I became convinced that God was indeed good because I realized that other people had more difficult lives than mine, even though it was difficult being gay and celibate. After high school (I dropped out of college after one semester, unsure of my possible career) I worked as an aide with adults who were physically and/or mentally disabled. I learned that,there were certainly people who had more difficult lives than mine. I then decided to return to college, with a major in Education. I continued to work part-time at the agency that served disabled children and adults, and graduated with a degree in Education, and became a Special Education teacher who instructed children with brain damage and physical disabilities and/or behavior disorders. It was challenging but I enjoyed my work. I had found my vocation in life, and continued to work with disabled people in various capacities for the next 25 years. I also found meaning and pleasure in life by helping care for my two friends baby; my friend Jerry was 18 and a college student when his 17 year old girlfriend Rose who was a senior at a Catholic high school gave birth one month after she turned 18 and graduated from high school. My friends were married nine months AFTER their son was born (ironic, no?). I also over time enjoyed helping to care for their additional three children, as well as caring for my three biological nieces and one biological nephew. At age 56, I've lived in a quality nursing home and rehabilitation center for almost three years. Without being immodest (I hope!) ! still participate in the life of the Church. Every Sunday and on Holy Days I watch Mass on television, and each Sunday I attend a Communion Service with an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist leading we worshippers in many of the prayers of Mass, reading that Sunday's First and Second Readings and the Gospel, praying the Prayer of the Faithful, the Lord's Prayer, and when I,feel able, receiving Jesus in the Eucharist,

Crystal Watson
6 months 2 weeks ago

I wonder too why God allows so much suffering. I don't find the "free will" excuse believable - there's nothing in the bible to support that idea. I pray about this almost daily but I don't think I'll ever figure it out.

MJ Painter
6 months 2 weeks ago

"Can I submit myself to this institution that systematically covered up countless acts of abuse?"

Don't look at it as submitting yourself to the institution; you're joining it, together with millions of others in the priesthood of Christ. You don't lose your own freedom of thought, conscience, or rationality when you join. Work with all of us to improve it where it needs it. That's the best way to show your committed membership.

Tim Donovan
6 months 2 weeks ago

As a youth, even before I revealed that I was gay, some of my peers correctly assumed that I was, and fairly frequently taunted me by a painful, offensive term. I've had a relatively complicated relationship with the Church over my 56 years of life. For a time years ago I was so depressed about my sexual orientation and lonely being celibate that despite a loving family and several friends, that I stopped attending Mass as I doubted the existence of a God who would make me (and many other people) suffer for whatever reason. After several years, I decided that it was simply a mystery as to why innocent people suffer (perhaps original sin?) and again returned to attending Mass, as I again believed in God and the Church, imperfect though it has been throughout the centuries. However, I still felt lonely, and for several years long in the past I had sex with men. I realized it was wrong (ironically, I still
believed sex marriage was the union of one man and one woman) but my lustful desires led to my sexual relationships. However, I then felt empty by having sex with men, including a friend and former co-worker. I then regretted my acts, and received forgiveness and consolation from a compassionate priest through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
I certainly sympathize with people sexually abused by priests. A priest who was my senior year high school theology teacher got a minor boy intoxicated, and then raped him. Fortunately, he was prosecuted, found guilty, and imprisoned. The 2004 John Jay study examined sexual abuse by priests from 1950 through 2002. Among other findings, 81% of the victims were male, and while a shocking 22% were younger than 10, 51% were between the ages of 11 and 14, and 27% were between the ages of 15 and 17.

Tim Donovan
6 months 2 weeks ago

As a youth, even before I revealed that I was gay, some of my peers correctly assumed that I was, and fairly frequently taunted me by a painful, offensive term. I've had a relatively complicated relationship with the Church over my 56 years of life. For a time years ago I was so depressed about my sexual orientation and lonely being celibate that despite a loving family and several friends, that I stopped attending Mass as I doubted the existence of a God who would make me (and many other people) suffer for whatever reason. After several years, I decided that it was simply a mystery as to why innocent people suffer (perhaps original sin?) and again returned to attending Mass, as I again believed in God and the Church, imperfect though it has been throughout the centuries. However, I still felt lonely, and for several years long in the past I had sex with men. I realized it was wrong (ironically, I still
believed sex marriage was the union of one man and one woman) but my lustful desires led to my sexual relationships. However, I then felt empty by having sex with men, including a friend and former co-worker. I then regretted my acts, and received forgiveness and consolation from a compassionate priest through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
I certainly sympathize with people sexually abused by priests. A priest who was my senior year high school theology teacher got a minor boy intoxicated, and then raped him. Fortunately, he was prosecuted, found guilty, and imprisoned. The 2004 John Jay study examined sexual abuse by priests from 1950 through 2002. Among other findings, 81% of the victims were male, and while a shocking 22% were younger than 10, 51% were between the ages of 11 and 14, and 27% were between the ages of 15 and 17. Therefore, it's accurate as another woman remarked that homosexual men are in the great majority of cases (81%) those priests who illegally and with great immorality sexually abuse minors boys. It should.be noted that while a. shocking number of the victims are under age ten, that about 75% of the minors victimized by homosexual priests are either pre-teens (11 to 12) or young to older adolescents. I'd like to emphasize two points. First, although I regret having had sex with men, confessed my acts in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (which I received forgiveness today for a.number of sins that I still commit from a priest from my parish who have me the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and Jesus in the Eucharist when he kindly visited me in the nursing home where I live; I freely admit to continuing to be a sinful Catholic Christian who goes to confession approximately once each month. Thus, I don't pretend to be better than any other Catholic Christian. Second, I certainly don't claim that the past emotional pain I experienced as a gay youth is anywhere near the emotional and physical trauma experienced by the victims of sexual abuse by priests. Although money certainly isn't a panacea for the trauma experienced by the victims, I fully support victims receiving financial compensation for their suffering, which may be used for psychiatric care if needed or desired. Also, all priests accused of sexual abuse of minors should be reported to the police for investigation. of their alleged crime, and if there is credible evidence, should be prosecuted by civil authorities and if found guilty should be imprisoned for a lengthy period of time. It should also be noted that according to the 2004 John Jay study, that it was common in the past for public school administrators to transfer public school teachers that they knew or suspected of being guilty of sexual abuse of students to other schools without notifying either school principals or the police. Similarly, the John Jay study found that a fair number of Catholic bishops either at present or especially in past decades believed that it was best to transfer priests that they suspected of knew to be sexual predators to other parishes without notifying the pastors (or lay Catholics) let alone reporting their suspicions/knowledge to the police. Also, in many cases bishops referred priests (especially in past decades ) to psychiatrists for therapy, mistakenly believing that sexual predators could be successfully treated.

Anthony Noble
6 months 2 weeks ago

Dear Tim,
The Catholic Church is on a journey guided by the Holy Spirit to make the Church a more perfect reflection of God's Will. The Church continuously changes to make this true. The Church now allows the laity to read the Bible in our own languages tho they killed people who did so in the past. "Heretics" and "witches" are no longer killed. Even slavery, accepted in the Bible, is now banned. Just recently, the Pope changed the official Catechism to ban the death penalty entirely. Science, psychology, morality, biology, recent Biblical scholarship, and the lived experience of gay men have shown that being gay is healthy, moral, loving, and innate to human nature. God made gay people gay and we, the Church, need to embrace that gift. Given all the evidence, the Church needs to change its position on gay people and embrace sacramental marriage for gay people. Regarding Biblical and theological issues, I recommend the book, God and the Gay Christian. As for Catholic teaching, its points are often untrue, contradictory, and do not reflect the lived experience of gay people. The most recent statement on homosexuality was written by ex-Pope Benedict who many believe to be a repressed, celibate, gay man who projects his own inner problems onto his writings. While both gay and straight people have experienced empty sexual relationships, many gay and straight people have found loving, fulfilling, mutually caring sexual/romantic relationships. As the Bible says, Judge a tree by the fruits it bears.

Anthony Noble
6 months 2 weeks ago

Dear Tim,
We need to be happy and feel loved by God who created us as we are. To paraphrase Pope Francis, he told a Chilean gay man, God made you gay and loves you as a gay man. On his visit to the United States, he privately met with a former student, who is gay, along with his husband. As Catholics strove to have the Church denounce slavery, many Catholics are now striving to affirm gay men and lesbians and include them in Holy Matrimony.

Tim O'Leary
6 months 2 weeks ago

Adam - You are needed. The Memorare is a most beautiful and hopeful prayer. Jesus said some demons can only be cast out by "prayer and fasting" (Mk 9:29) so we could do with your help, to pray and fast and purify the Church. The Church is not her sins. The prayer in Mass before Communion is "look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church." Sins can be repented if faith is there. If faith is lost, sins can never be forgiven and all is lost.

William Bannon
6 months 2 weeks ago

Adam,
I’m more negative than you and I stay til death because I read the entire Bible and see the new covenant people as repeating to some degree the constant deficiency of the first people of God, the Jews. The constant self praise of the Church...ignore that...keep to the essentials and block out much macro crap. If your parish is legit...you have everything.
Remember that tale...we each have a wolf and a lamb fighting each other inside us....which one wins? The one you feed.

arthur mccaffrey
6 months 2 weeks ago

Adam, think about becoming an Old Testament Jew with an unmediated relation to God, so you can talk to God directly without going thru an institution--institutions are centers of power, they are full of corrupt venal people, and you will continue to be disappointed time and time again. Explore other options, like joining an Eastern Coptic Church that has married priests. The RCC brand has no value any more.

Phillip Stone
6 months 2 weeks ago

Arthur, what were the Jews doing in the Temple?
It was the centre of the most powerful of institutions - a theocracy!
Things of the world and things of the spirit all ruled over by the same apparatus. In the expressed opinion of Jesus, those in power during his life were a "brood of vipers".

If Adam is a modern American, he would be totally shocked by the subjugation of women institutionalised in the Coptic Church, they do female genital mutilation! Been too long compromising with Islam.

J Brookbank
6 months 2 weeks ago

Adam, I agree with all who encourage you, if you stay, to reject from the start the idea of "submission" to any person inside or outside the Church. I encourage to reject anyone who speaks to you in terms of "obedience". I encourage you to have a serious talk with yourself about our tradition of calling our priests "Father". I am okay with it --- I grew up Catholic; it is a metaphor; it binds them, not me--- but I never use it without understanding it as a polite honorific: I remain conscious that the real measure of the man as a spiritual figure in my life is not that honorific or anything that goes with it. The measure of the man is who he proves himself to be through his homilies, his responses in reconciliation, his pastoral response, etc. Basically, these guys need to prove themselves, every single day and night, to each of us before they should be granted any personal or spiritual influence, credibility, power, entrance into our individual lives or soul-life. What we have learned is that the institutional leaders, systems and all other RCC Good Housekeeping Seals of Approval do not a spiritual leader make. Holy Orders and performance of Sacraments does NOT confer upon these guys the ability to be safe in any sense of the word. Each priest is only as good as each priest.

I know amazing priests: a Cursillo
director priest who can be both bombastic and profoundly humble in his homilies and alwsys always a shepherding lamb in reconcilation; a Josephite who is a regular Joe and demanding in homilies, reconciliation and in his advocacy work; a couple Jesuits who are remarkable teachers, humorists, loving men with wide open arms; a diocesan priest whose interactions with the strangers invited to carry the gifts to the altar is loving and intimate as he receives the gifts and then opens the pews to the homeless to sleep in between masses; a diocesan priest who was a retiring, silent monk who sings Mass like an angel, preaches that mercy BELONGS to us, that we can trust God will do His part but we must do our part and says bluntly that the Commandments are a cheat sheet from God so we do not screw up our lives. They could not be more different (any continuum you could come up with for describing priests, my priests are up and down that continuum) and I trust them, accept their guidance, reveal myself to them because of who they are as individual men. NOT because the Church has endorsed them.

That stuff is just a resume, a diploma and proof they passed on the job training. And we have all the proof we need that sociopaths can get through all that.

I would consider doing anything any one of these men, my beloved priests, asked or advised because they have proven that they are worthy of my faith and trust and vulnerability. If
a priest is worth his honorific, he won't mind having to prove his worthiness as Father. You do your part, trust God to do God's part and expect the priest to do HIS. There is nothing God expects of us that God doesn't ALSO expect of priests.

Phillip Stone
6 months 2 weeks ago

J Brookbank - I go further than you, I refuse to use Father and not because I refuse deference to an appointed pastor but because it is so unambiguously forbidden in the New Testament. Reverend or Pastor or Vicar do the job.

On the other hand, please do not advise anyone young or old, male or female to attempt to live as if hierarchies do not or should not exist and cannot ever be functional without tyranny and injustice and exploitation.

J Brookbank
6 months 2 weeks ago

Phillip, thanks for your response. I didn't advise against hierarchies.

I have no issue with the animal in the abstract or, most often, in practice.

They are, however, only as good as the checks and balances.

That is a failing of the RCC and, to keep it from becoming a lethal failing in the lives of its members and for the Church itself, with our institutional affection for pseudoroyalty, succession and infallabities with all of our magical thinking around those issues, Catholics need to reject the idea that Catholic Hierarch = Worthy, Safe and Holy Leader.

LuAnn O'Connell
6 months 2 weeks ago

Everyone has to follow the Spirit where he/she leads them.

I thought I had found a home in the Catholic Church about ten years ago after being in several different Christian denominations, even though I was coming into a parish with an emotionally abusive priest; however, Christians' role, including Catholics, in the politics of the past several years have opened my eyes to the simplicity and freedom that Jesus offers as opposed to all the human-made structures, rules and doctrines that have accumulated to burden those who seek to follow Him. I am no longer in the Roman Catholic Church but attend an American National Catholic Church, for now, and will be hesitant to ever again say that I have found a home in any church on earth--my home is in God whom I thank for returning me to the "sincere and pure devotion to Christ." (2 Cor. 11) Who we know and follow is much more important than what we know and believe. That's my journey.

Gerald Nichols
6 months 2 weeks ago

Adam, you mentioned many things you love about the Catholic Church, but I note the scriptures were not on your list. With God's Word, you are equipped for life, according to what the Word itself tells us. Don't search for any group or denomination at this time, just get into the Word of God.

Randal Agostini
6 months 2 weeks ago

When you have completed the RCIA program you will go to reconciliation and be cleansed of all your sins and God will see you. Then you will receive Holy Communion and God will be with you - for as long as you allow Him.

Jorge Luis Luaces Rabaza
6 months 2 weeks ago

Adam, you will become Catholic. You have tasted and seen. You can not go back. A man with your gifts knows he can not settle for dross. So you join us to fight the good fight, live to hear those blessed words “well done my good and faithful servant” and be a brazen church. Let us know about your Church Reception next year. Do not hide anymore

John Chuchman
6 months 2 weeks ago

Just say NO

Crystal Watson
6 months 2 weeks ago

Just one more thought from a fellow RCIA student - a lot of the comments here conflate relationship with Jesus/God and Catholicism. The two are not exclusively synonyms. You can have a relationship with God in any denomination or in none. A particular denomination is a vehicle, it's not the destination, and the kingdom of God is bigger than any church.

Tim O'Leary
6 months 2 weeks ago

Crystal - how do you know this? The same place that says abortion and sex outside marriage is good? The same place that says Jesus is not really present in the Eucharist? The same place that says there are no sacraments? Your RCIA must have been awful, or you have forgotten everything. Jesus had a different view. "He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Mt 16:15-19.

Crystal Watson
6 months 2 weeks ago

The Protestant denominations are the descendants of the early church as much as the Catholic church is. V2 said as much in Lumen Gentium. It states the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic church, but also in other Christian denominations too. And it states... *All human beings are called to belong to the Church [of Christ]. Not all are fully incorporated into the Church, but "the Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christ, but who do not however profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter" (Lumen Gentium, 15) and even with "those who have not yet received the Gospel," among whom Jews and Muslims are explicitly mentioned (Lumen Gentium, 16). *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumen_gentium

Tim O'Leary
6 months 2 weeks ago

Crystal - no doubt everyone, from the European atheist to the Catholics-in-name-only, can be said to be descendants of the Catholic (universal) Church that Jesus founded. But, obviously, not every descendant perseveres in the faith. From the Marcionites, to the Manichees, to the Muslims & the Mormons, and the thousands of Protestant denominations, free will being what it is, there will always be those who jump or fall off the bark of Peter. I would say that since V2, the mainline Protestants have fallen further and faster away from the Church Jesus founded, and away from its book, the Bible. Like the prodigal son, I hope they are given the grace to return.

Crystal Watson
6 months 2 weeks ago

Jesus didn't "found" the Catholic church. The word church is only mentioned twice in the four gospels and even then it didn't mean what we now mean of it ... http://www.voiceofjesus.org/cb2chapter1.html ... Jesus didn't ordain priests, he didn't create 7 sacraments. To say the Catholic church is the only church Jesus would accept is just wrong. Jesus did say that when people gathered in his name, he'd be there.

Tim O'Leary
6 months 2 weeks ago

Crystal - Jesus did found one Church on the rock of Peter. Only those in communion with that Church across space and time are in that Church. The four Gospels and the rest of the NT was written by members of that Church. The fact that you quote Vatican 2 and were once Catholic means you accepted that authority once. Sadly, many fall away: "On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”…From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (John 6: 60, 66-70)

Crystal Watson
6 months 2 weeks ago

No, I didn't believe when I joined the Catholic church that it was the only true church. At the time it just seemed like the best church choice 'for me'. Jesus doesn't belong to the Catholic church, he's not their property, he can be found in other churches too.

Tim O'Leary
6 months 2 weeks ago

Crystal - its the other way around. The Catholic Church is His mystical body. In any case, your RCIA seems like a bust. Even if you went through the process, it seems you never a Catholic by conviction, but by community or culture: Jesus said Mt 13:13 “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand."

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants."

J Brookbank
6 months 2 weeks ago

Tim, honey, do you HEAR yourself? It is hard to take anything you say about Catholicism seriously when you tell an RCIA student that you have assessed, via an internet comment thread, her RCIA a bust because she disagrees with you on the "one true faith" thing.

Do you HEAR yourself?

Crystal, glad to hear from you and your sincere heart and mind and faith in God as you journey. I imagine your sponsor, your priest, your RCIA director, your fellow candidates appreciate how serious and deep your journey is.

Good thing RCIA is not administered via the Internet by Tim...

Do you HEAR yourself, Tim?

Crystal Watson
6 months 2 weeks ago

Heh :) Thanks. I did like RCIA and had a wonderful sponsor and a really good priest too. I liked church, especially the singing. Even better was learning about Ignatian spirituality from a retreat. It's not Christianity that I've given up on, it's the Catholic hierarchy, the organization.

J Brookbank
6 months 2 weeks ago

Crystal, those concerns are common among people in just about every role within the Catholic Church too.

And no number of lectures from people like Tim will change that and some of us will remain and some of us will live, wholly Independent of and without reference to self-appointed gatekeepers like Tim.

Tim O'Leary
6 months 2 weeks ago

LOL, J, honey - no wonder Crystal joked in response to you. I have been blogging back and forth with Crystal for a long time about this. The "one true faith" is only the end of a very long list of heterodox things Crystal says she has always believed, including her major item, a defense of abortion, several of the sacraments, scripture, the real presence, women priests, priests in general, etc., etc.. You probably missed these discussions because they weren't about homosexuality, what you blog about. I don't know if you ever attended RCIA. it does not mean Roman Catholic Interest Association. There is profession of faith "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God."

J Brookbank
6 months 2 weeks ago

Tim, yes, I have read your lectures to Crystal. Yes, I have particpated in RCIA, as a sponsor and (because it is a discernment process) many people participate with sincere hearts and faith and, by the end, do or do not enter or re-enter the church without agreeing with everything....... and even without passing the Tim O'Leary Internet Assessment.

Thanks be to God that you hired a Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, Sisters, Deacons and priests and RCIA directors to help you run the worldwide RCIA program!

We cannot expect you to be on the internet 27/7/365.

Do you HEAR yourself?

Tim O'Leary
6 months 2 weeks ago

J - Do you hear yourself??? I don't think you know the gravity of a profession of faith to Almighty God with one's fingers crossed behind one's back? Don't you see that all corruption begins with a lie. The profession of faith "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God." The corruption begins with hypocrisy and cynicism. How many Cardinals thought as little as you when they promised to die rather than fail to preach the fullness of the faith?

J Brookbank
6 months 2 weeks ago

Again grateful you hired staff

Declan Murphy
6 months 2 weeks ago

My two sons fell away from the Church 10 years ago. Rather than confront them about it directly, I began to pray consistently at Mass for their return. While at dinner with the younger one two weeks ago, he told me that he had decided to return to the Church and bring his lapsed stepson with him. Then Pennsylvania, where he resides, hit the headlines, and he confided that he had reconsidered his decision. You can imagine, I think, the frustration I felt upon hearing this news after 10 years of prayers. The incident is illustrative of how the episcopacy, by their dereliction of duty, has hindered the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Sadly, I have now ceased praying for the return of my sons to Catholicism. Better that they should remain honest agnostics or Stoics. For me, Catholicism is now a private cross I bear that I would not wish on anyone else. As a natural skeptic, I have always found religious belief difficult. But to be asked now to maintain that belief in the context of a thoroughly corrupt and insufficiently repentant institution is simply indefensible.

Tim O'Leary
6 months 2 weeks ago

Declan - If the salvation of your sons was worth praying for for 10 years, and that salvation required them to return home to the Church Jesus founded, and receive His precious body and blood, why would sins of men cause you to stop wanting the only food that brings them everlasting life? Shouldn't your prays be all the more urgent, given the greater difficulties? Was your faith in men or the Holy Spirit? To put one's faith in men is to be truly lost. Only God saves, and he has left us a way in the Catholic Church.

Declan Murphy
6 months 2 weeks ago

Cheers, Tim. Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

Bruce Anderson
6 months 2 weeks ago

May I respectfully suggest you visit an Orthodox Church. You might find what you are searching for there.
Until the RCC allows married priests generally, and not only in its Eastern Rite churches, it's difficult to see how the culture that has allowed and enabled this abuse for decades (at the very least), will change.

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