Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Hasta la vista, baby

All this stuff about the church in the news is wreaking havoc on my prayer life. I tell myself it shouldn't matter - my prayer life is about God and God is not owned by the Catholic church. Still, it was because of a Jesuit retreat that I took a chance on God, so the two seem entwined at least on an emotional level. Everytime I read about another cardinal saying something awful about the abuse crisis, it's like watching Jesus waving goodbye to me from the rail of a disembaking cruise ship ... hasta la vista, baby.

I try not to let the news bother me, but really I think it should bother me - if I belong to a church and it's doing something wrong, if I don't speak up, it's almost like I'm colluding. And sometimes I think that's what the church hierarchy hopes for - that the whole thing will be let to go away because people will value their personal spiritual peace of mind more than the perhaps false hope for a moral continuity between the church and what it teaches.

I know I don't know Jesus, I only know "my" Jesus, but the guy in the gospels on whom I base my Jesus (with, ok, some movie Jesus thrown in) would not, I believe, go along to get along. He told off the church authorities when he thought they were being hypocritical, comparing them to whited sepulchers, stumbling blocks, the blind leading the blind. So why does he seem to be getting more remote? :(


Blogger Fran said...

Oh Crystal. These are desert days. Not too appear like a completely self-promoting jerk, but I did just write about this. Have a look if you wish.

I hope that this is not obnoxious to link to..

7:36 PM  
Blogger crystal said...


Thanks for the link :)

The video at your post showed a refreshing change from the usual. Maybe things will actually get better.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Denny said...

Crystal -- I feel something of what you voiced, too. I know my parishioners think about it.

Fran -- thank you for the "desert days" observation. It's true for a lot of us. I'm preaching next weekend, on "Good Shepherd" Sunday, and can't possibly avoid the subject -- it's the elephant in the living room. But thanks, I appreciate the comment.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Denny said...

I just read your blog from Monday, Scapegoating and Scandals, again about this general topic, and wanted to make a comment -- but couldn't somehow. So I'd like to add it here.

Joan and I were talking about the Church's reaction at the time the scandals in Boston were erupting. The Archdiocese had "circled the wagons," and were feeling persecuted generally by those in the news media. What they couldn't realize is that they weren't being picked on -- they just happened to be the HOTTEST STORY AROUND! And every time they reacted badly, it made for more "good copy."

I really appreciated Fran's link about a bishop reacting the way a real leader should...the way Benedict should.

11:06 AM  
Blogger PrickliestPear said...

The Gospels suggest Jesus's apostles didn't understand him. In this restricted sense, at least, the bishops are very much the "successors to the apostles."

11:09 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


I made the comments go away from that other post because one of the commenters asked me to dlelete most of his comments and that seemed the easiest way.

That comment by Cardinal Law about the Boston Globe - calling down God upon it - yikes! Unbelieveable that he's still in power.

1:12 PM  
Blogger crystal said...


Yeah - the fact that the disciples were always getting things wrong gives me some hope for myself :)

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...


I will share a few thoughts with you now and write a long e-mail to you later. (I will also send a copy to Mike and I will explain why in my next e-mail.)

I am very happy that you are going through this experience and I strongly encourage you to stay with it to the very end. You, like all of us, will be tempted to anesthetize the unease but don’t because the experience you are going through is a great gift!

In fact, I urge you to ask yourself the following question and to really look at your experience for the answer – YOUR answer – because none of us can answer for you: “Is it worth it to give your life to Christ?” Don’t cheat yourself and say, “O good, there’s one bishop that’s responding the way he should and now I am happy that things might get better.” No, to settle for that is to sell yourself and Christ short for He bets on the heart and our only task is to be honest with the elementary desires in our heart! In fact, I want you to imagine that every priest, including the Holy Father, has neglected their duty – every priest. I want you to get to the point where the Apostles were at when Christ said that people must eat His flesh and drink His blood – because we all must, sooner or later, get to that point of scandal so we can decide if we will stay with Christ because 1) He’s a consolation prize or 2) because He is the good in which my heart may rest (and here I am thinking of a quote from the Purgatorio by Dante: “Everyone apprehends confusedly a good in which the heart may rest and desires it; and all labor to attain that good.”)

So, do the work! We can help, we can suggest things, but YOU must do the work, you must use your freedom to decide whether you will stay or you will walk away; and why?! And believe me, the Apostles did not stay because they understood what Christ was saying, what Christ was doing, because they didn’t! So, “Is it worth it to give your life to Christ?” Why?



P.S. Here's a post my friend wrote – Crucifying the Pope by Michael Liccione - please take a look at it and note that he writes as someone that was abused by a priest.

Also, Fran, great post - I will check out your blog soon.

8:50 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


Thanks for the comment. It's hard to separated feelings about the church and feelings about God. I don't think though that leaving the church (which I'm not doing) would mean leaving God behind - I do think other denominations have authenticity, and I think even if one belonged to no church at all, there would still be the opportunity of a relationship with God. I'm just still wondering about how I fit into everything or if I even do.

1:57 PM  

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