Why I will never leave the Church
(Part 4 of 4)
Nothing is perfect. I have many concerns about my country. These include the shameful difference between the rich and the poor, our mammoth debt of historical record and the universal sense of entitlement. Our broken legislative system is respected by only one out of ten Americans. And it seems that the #1 concern of legislators in Congress is getting re-elected.
I doubt if the country has ever been more controlled by money. We are critical of countries where bribery is their way of life.
However, if we dismissed each Congressperson who benefited last year from the $3.5 billion “coercive” money from our 20,000 lobbyists, they could hold the next session of Congress in a phone booth. Each of these elected officials needs at least $3 million for election expenses. Both major presidential candidates will attempt to raise a billion dollars. And a concerned citizens group attempting to affect legislation without adequate bribe money has as much chance of success as a butterfly in a windstorm.
Our anemic economy, weakened by two losing wars, is muddling along. Madeline Albright said the Iraq War will be recorded as the worst mistake in American history. One out of four kids live in poverty; our educational system is second-rate; our railways are shabby with bridges dangerously in need of repair; we are treating the environment as if here is no tomorrow; and we have 2.3 million people in jail, more than Stalin had. Need I go on?
But, I’m not giving up my American citizenship. I have pride in our history, and I admire our sheer openness and energy. I can recall the days of statesmen, and I still get a lump in my throat when I hear the Star Spangled Banner and watch our flag marching by in a parade. My gut feeling is that America is a great country that, one day, is going to recover from its many sins and mistakes. It deserves my prayer.
Regarding the Church, I have empathy for those who have left. I, too, look forward to the day when we will have women deacons and again have married priests. It often seems to me that the Church is more concerned about the unborn rather than the already born.
I headed a parish counsel under a priest who hated the neighbors and most of the parishioners. He later misappropriated funds I had helped raise for a new building to cover the parish debt he had caused by his poor management. I was defendant in a court case when Opus Dei used every unethical trick in an unsuccessful attempt to steal a million dollars from a trust I was guarding.
I see the Church as an ancient battered and rusty chest that is safeguarding the greatest of all treasures – the Essence of Being. I appreciate the Church for making it possible for me, via Communion, to be one with my Creator. I respect the Church throughout the world for its successful role in education and in expressing love for humanity.
I thought of the Church when I was aboard one of the mammoth Queen Mary ocean liners leaving New York harbor, en route to Europe. Those in charge were inching the mammoth vessel out into the river, while below small boats were scooting around like tadpoles. With its 2,000 years of length and precious cargo, the Church has to demonstrate caution in fulfilling its mission. It might take a few centuries for it to make changes I want, but I have faith that it will.
As the theologian Karl Adams has said, “The structure of Catholic faith may be summarized in a single sentence. I find God through Christ in his Church; I experience the living God through Christ realizing himself in his Church.”
My debt to the Church is tremendous. It has introduced me to the Holy Trinity and our Blessed Mary, Mother of God. It has given me friendship and association with thousands of saints. How could I turn my back onexamples like Saints Thomas More, Bernadette and Mother Teresa of Calcutta? The Church keeps me alive in mind, body and spirit. No, I could never leave the Church because the Church and I have become one.
Other recommended Catholic blogs
– “Over the hill” in November U.S. Catholic.
– “Save the altar girls” in October 10 America.
– “In the Bleak Midwinter” in November/December Touchstone
Roster of Joyful Catholic Priests
The media loves to publicize bad priests, and we should give recognition to our Joyful Catholic Priests. Send me your recommendation for ones you think merit membership in this splendid group. (email@example.com)
Fr. Robert Aufieri (New York, NY) Fr. John M. Bauer (Minneapolis, MN)
Fr. Edward Gorman, O.P. (Providence, RI)
Fr. Andrew Gries (Washington, DC)
Msgr. Edward Filardi (Bethesda, MD)
Fr. Raymond Kemp (Washington, DC)
Archbishop Jerome Listecki (Milwaukee, MN)
Bishop Dennis Madden (Baltimore, MD)
Fr. Joseph Marini (San Mateo, CA) Msgr. Joseph Mayo (Salt Lake City, UT) NEW!
Fr. John Mericantante (Pahokee, FL)
Msgr. Thomas Modugno (New York,NY)
Fr. Kevin Nelson, Lantana, FL Fr. John O’Donoghue (San Antonio,TX)
Fr. Antony Pulikal (Lntana, FL) Fr. James R. Purfield (Denver,CO)
Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi (Mobile, AL)
Msg. Paul L. Rohling (Birmingham, AL Fr. David Ross (Lima. OH) NEW! Fr. Matthew Ruhl, S.J. (KansasCity, KS)
Fr. Michael Scanlon (Steubenville, OH)
Fr. Richard Trout (Sanford, FL)
Fr. Hayden Vaverek (New York, NY)
Fr. Malcolm Sylvester Willoughby, O.
We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.
“Be happily and uncomplicatedly
Michael J. Sheehan Archbishop of Santa Fe
♦ The number of Austrian parish priests in their “Call for Disobedience” has increased from 300 to 400. Among their goals are the ordination of women and married men.
♦ In a review, Father Dan McCaffrey, S.T.D., reported that less than 5% of Catholic couples practice NFP.
♦When the Pope spoke to the German parliament, a hundred members of the opposition parties announced they would boycott the meeting. Cardinal Joachim Meisner said the Pope was still hated as a foe to the East German Communists.
♦ Michael Voris, S.T.B., senior executive producer at RealCatholicTV.com presented an episode of The Vortex from Rome, focusing on the dwindling numbers in the Church as a very real crisis in America.
In his rectory in the Colombia resort area of Capurgana, Father Gualberro Oviedo Arrieta was stabbed to death. He is the sixth priest killed this year in Colombia by anti-Catholic rebels.
My Favorite Priest, Layperson, Breathing Saint or Organization
Father David Barber, of the College of St. Ephram in Qaraqosh, Iraq, is a teacher in this Syrian Catholic seminary located near Mosul, one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq, especially for Christians. In the years since we Americans toppled Saddam Hussein, hundreds of thousands Christian families have left the Baghdad, Mosul and Basra. Before we devastated the country, there were 1.3 million Christian in Iraq. Today, the estimate is 400,000. Last October, over 50 people were killed
when insurgents attacked Our Lady of Salvation Church on the outskirts of Baghdad. Father Barber said, “Sometimes we feel that God has left us, especially us Christians. We feel God talks in a different way. You are a little community in this land. One day, you will be a small voice for peace in this land. For me it’s hope.”
He is having a hard time reconciling the Iraq he knows with the Iraqi who would want to harm him. Regarding his pastoral work, he said, “If any Iraqi is hurt, someone will stop to help him and not ask who he is, even if they will kill him for helping. There is harmony here. The spring is harmony. How can I leave the place? This is our country.”
Thanks you, God, for Father Barber and other courageous priests who are serving in the trouble Middle East!
(Now, tell me about your favorite Catholic priest,
layperson or organization that is making a difference
♦ A secret is something you tell to one person at a time. Anonymous
♦ What priests deserve is not only thanks but listening ears. Perhaps if everyone quit telling them what they should be, they might tell us what they need in order to be successful and healthy. – Bryan Cones, managing editor of U.S. Catholic
♦What is the thing that matters beyond all else, the thing that should give us utmost joy?
It is this: that our names are written in heaven; that we belong to heaven; that we are the children of the Father who is in heaven.-Dom Anscar Vonier, O.S.B., Abbot of Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England; died 1906.
♦ That lowdown scoundrel opponent of mine deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it.
A Texasc ongressional candidate
Hate for Catholics is in many places – Northern Ireland, former Yugoslavia, the Middle East. So, our best answer is to look for Jesus’ example. Rather than trouncing his enemies, he died for them. Therefore, we must change out hearts towards those
who hate us. -Jack Maloney,Omaha,NE
The strongest method of attracting people to Jesus and the Church is being a positive witness of a loving, caring and concerned Catholic.-Hank Kelly,Bronx,NY
For all Joyful Catholics, I recommend reading The Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska. It changed my life!- firstname.lastname@example.org
Why do they hate us? I’ll tell you why. It’s in our human nature ever since Eva and Adam nibbled on the forbidden apple. Recognize that it is a part of us that we have to work on to eliminate.- Juanita Perez,Dallas,TX
“Then,” she said, “Come down and tell me the name of the college, and I’ll let you know
if God made the right decision.”