I’ve always appreciated Anna Quindlen’s wry, elegantly shaped prose, going back to her “Life in the 30s” column she wrote for the Times back in the ’80s. I read her sporadically after she went to Newsweek, and dipped into a couple of her novels when she tried her hand at fiction.
So when I came across this item, it left me saddened and disappointed:
Author Anna Quindlen has been in the news lately, promoting a new book called Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. She recently spoke with NPR’s Terry Gross about a wide range of topics she covers in the book, including her recent decision to leave the Catholic Church. She summarized this decision by telling Gross:
The pedophilia scandals, the church’s reaction to them, and their constant obsession with gynecology — taken together at a certain point, it was probably two or three years ago, I said, ‘Enough.’ Every time I sit in the pew I ratify this behavior, and I’m not going to ratify it anymore.
I’m sure that Quindlen’s words resonated with many. She’s a gifted writer, and has undoubtedly put words to what others have thought when they make the decision to leave the Catholic Church. Like Quindlen, many people who abandon their Catholic faith still believe in God and still strive to be good, moral people; they choose to leave because they think that they will find these things they desire — God, freedom, equality — outside the walls of the Church. Such a move certainly fits in with popular cultural beliefs. Common wisdom states that the Catholic Church is a corrupt organization that places oppressive, unnecessary rules on its members. The way to find freedom, the thinking goes, is to ditch the institution and create a spirituality and moral code that works for you.
To modern ears, this all sounds right. But is it true?
There follow five good questions anyone should ask before making the decision to bolt the faith. Check it out.
And, Anna: come back anytime. The door is always open.
UPDATE: A reader writes:
Unlike Anna Quindlen, I do not plan on leaving the Church. However, all we seem to hear about is abortion, birth control, and (lately) religious freedom. We need to hear the good news. I have decided to attend Mass sometimes in other parishes because of the very negative pastor we have. I must be from a different world than most who commented on your blog.