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

 – Fr. Stephen’s blog
 – Overheard in the Sacristy
Standing on My Head

Recommended readings

 – “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. (aljagoe@comcast.net)

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.

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One thought on “

  1. Good honest heartfelt stuff, keep it coming. Forgiveness, faith that things can improve, and optimism that they will are all very good. Blind belief in infallibility — at least where humans are involved as middlemen– is not always so good. Here’s a toast to the spirit of loving questioning and constant re-examination with which you live your faith. “The unexamined life is not worth living” said Socrates, and one could say the same for religious faith, longterm relationships amongst people we love, etc. Great writing, keep it coming.

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