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Friday, May 10, 2013

Confusing harder With better

There was a post recently at the UK Catholic Herald about why it's harder to become a Catholic than a Protestant. I think the person who wrote it was laboring under the misconception that "harder" = "better" but as Howard Gray SJ once said, harder doesn't mean better, it just means harder. I don't know if it is actually harder to become a Catholic than a Protestant - one of the assertions made in the article was that it's difficult to give up one's own opinion in submission to the magisterium, but you could argue it's easier for some people to become Catholics because then they'd no longer have to think for themselves ;)

I'd like to speak to something else, though - the difficulty of *remaining* a Catholic. America magazine had an article a year ago on the subject (Why They Left) and this was a summery of the reasons given for leaving ...

Not surprisingly, the church’s refusal to ordain women, to allow priests to marry, to recognize same-sex marriage and to admit divorced and remarried persons to reception of the Eucharist surfaced, as did contraception and a host of questions associated with the scandal of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

I'd add another reason personal to me - the inability to find community among other Catholics. Some of the people responding in America's article did mention this reason too ... “I did not experience community in the sense that I knew people just from going to church. The ones I knew, I knew them outside of church. No one misses the fact that we stopped going. No one has called from the parish, even though we were regular attendees and envelope users!”.

This is also true of the online Catholic community - those at places like dotCommonweal, Pray Tell, In All Things, Vox Nova, etc. can be pretty unwelcoming to people who don't fit into their mold.

Catholics shouldn't be proud of the possibility that it's harder to become (or remain) a Catholic, they should be somewhere between concerned and ashamed.


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