If I have learned nothing else about myself in the past 40++ days of trying to follow this spiritual challenge, it is that I am not good at keeping a regimented schedule on anything.
In fact, I already knew this about myself. When I was younger and a newspaper reporter, I was always an adrenaline junkie thrilled more by the next breaking story than the piece still waiting to be written in my notes.
I can say the same for my time in PR and other admin jobs – the regular day-to-day stuff bored me. I thrived on the special projects that came my way. I was the Queen of Special Projects, even if it was something like creating a $1 million staff budget, something I had never before done.
For the past few years, I feel like I have been Queen of Special projects at Church , too, even if they were done through an established Ministry or as the work of a Special Committee.
As I have just joined the choir and am learning to be a cantor, there will be very few ministries I won’t have had some association with since becoming Catholic in 2008.
So I guess following a strict prayer routine not of my own creation had about as much chance of success as my following a pre-organized diet. I have done the latter more times than pounds lost.
Some people may be wondering, with the news about the Church these days, how I could stay devoted to it. After all, I had complete moral clarity when it came to leaving the GOP once Trump became its nominee.
Most assuredly I am angry and heartbroken about the criminality that has occurred in the past and been covered over through clericalism and with the imprimatur of the highest levels of the Vatican.
I believe in a universal, zero tolerance policy on child sexual and other clerical abuse. I do not believe the Church should police itself on such matters. I believe anyone accused should be placed on administrative leave until such time as a civil investigation is done and a trial held. If a guilty verdict is reached, priests should be defrocked, nun laicized and civilian employees fired. It really is that simple.
The Church is not exempt from obeying the laws of society. In fact, it’s morality is supposed to be the basis for those very laws. We are a failed Church in this regard.
But I did not join this Church to worship the Pope or the priest on the altar; I joined to worship Jesus in the Eucharist and now, to console Him on the cross by bearing my own burdens with the same willingness he bore His.
You don’t get the joy of being with the resurrected Christ without walking the Way of the Cross. They are inextricably linked.
This is nothing you will hear in a Protestant Church. In fact, unless it is a mainline one, you are likely to hear any and everything, as there are over 633 Protestant sects in the U.S.
There is one Catholic Church, the one Jesus established at the Last Supper, when he said Peter would be the “rock” on which His Church would be built, the one to whom He gave His Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
It is this same Church that was reaffirmed by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.
It is not perfect. It never has been. It never will be. That is the point of the Second Coming. We will be judged, all of us, each according to our life led while on earth.
Because we are ALL the body of the Church-including those who have abused the very great power they have enjoyed in Christ’s name.
Jesus – like God – could see past, present and future. Any priest or nun who caused a child in their care harm, any Bishop or Cardinal who covered it up, any Pope who did the same – Jesus saw you while He was nailed to the Cross, and His heart was swollen with sadness for your sin. And He couldn’t breathe under its weight and He died for it.
Just as He did for mine.
So I cannot abandon a Christ who so willingly died such a horrible death on my behalf. Or for fellow Catholics whose conduct I abhor.
And because whether it is comfortable in this moment or not, I am part of the body of the Church. The same Church as they.
And while I can hate the sin, and I have complete moral clarity that I should stand up and speak against it, it is not my place to judge the sinner.
In a civil society, that is for the courts. In a heavenly one, that right is reserved for God.