When can we stop the Catholic bashing that seems to be the latest trend in our media and magazines? I am tired of it. I want it to stop. I seldom read an article in defense of the Catholic Church. All I read is what we have not done, who we have not admitted as members, what we need to do, what is wrong with the Church, and on and on.
My thinking is that if you don’t like the Catholic Church or its teachings, then join another church. Since when does the Catholic Church have to defend itself against every crackpot or heretic that seems to think that he or she needs reformation or reconciliation and it is the Catholic Church that has the responsibility to see that it happens! Articles pop up everywhere about why we don’t have female priests, why we won’t sanction a homosexual lifestyle codified by “gay” marriage, why we are against partial-birth abortion or just abortion in general, and why we are against contraception in almost every form that one can imagine. If I know the rules and regulations of an organization, then I either accept those rules and regulations or I join another organization. Masons and the NAACP have their rules and regulations and either you agree with them or you don’t. But you don’t join unless you abide by the rules.
I actually think that ex-Catholics are the biggest problem for the Church along with the current complacent leadership. I feel a sorrow for many of the Catholics that have left the Church for various reasons. However, they knew the rules, violated them, and now want the Catholic Church to change to adjust to their situation. Do we change our beliefs to accommodate a new society? Well, it doesn’t work that way. Given that Christ did not come to accommodate a culture in need of reform, should we surprised that His Church continues to challenge us to transform our lives?
What also frustrates me is that I wait patiently for an article to appear or for a priest, bishop, cardinal, or the Vatican to come to our defense. I wait to pick up the paper and read that someone in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has had enough and has taken the initiative to set the record straight. We believe what we believe and that is our faith. You either like our faith or you don’t.
I think many priests are frustrated with the current situation but are reluctant to speak out. They are not actually sure that their leadership will support and back them. The Catholic Church is not a democracy. And because of this, we are slow to act. The priest waits for the bishop and the bishop waits for Rome. Meanwhile the faithful are caught up in a situation where there are no clear answers and no clear path of resolution to many questions. Whether this has contributed to the decline of real membership in the Catholic Church is a separate question for discussion but too many people call themselves Catholic who have not seen the inside of a church in decades. They are Catholics in name only. Financial support for the Catholic Church is rapidly declining. Our schools and churches are closing; our faithful as well as our priests are aging and our infrastructure is crumbling. All I ask and pray for is that we get some direction soon or it won’t matter if Father Murphy is right or wrong as there will be little left to salvage from what was his parish.