At a time when Pew studies suggest a vast exodus from Catholicism (although Sherry Weddell’s antenna is up on some of the numbers) Tod Worner has written a terrific piece on why he is NOT leaving the church:
I am NOT leaving the Catholic Church because I believe that the Catholic Faith is true.
The edifice of Catholicism is Jesus Christ. Countless times, a good friend of mine has “flipped pages”. What he means when he says this is that he has read the Gospel of Mark. Again. And again. And again. Consider doing this just one time. Read the entire book of Mark, only 16 chapters, and ask yourself if you can name anyone in history other than Jesus of Nazareth who has uttered truths about man’s fallibility and dignity, sinfulness and redemption, struggles with fear and anxiety, dependence on faith and hope, grappling with suffering and loss, hunger for calling and purpose, search for origin and destiny and need for justice and mercy. See if you can name a wise man more clear-sighted than Jesus Christ who can teach with clarity, comfort with warmth, heal with miraculous touch, correct with authority and die with selflessness. Christ is the central event of History, the central figure of Faith, the central Truth of existence. This is Christocentrism. This is the Catholic Church.
Read the whole thing. It’s good for what ails you.
Tod’s piece reminded me of something I wrote a few years ago, when NPR challenged me, during Holy Week, to answer why I remained a Catholic, in the midst of so much scandal. I responded:
I remain within, and love, the Catholic Church because it is a church that has lived and wrestled within the mystery of the shadow lands ever since an innocent man was arrested, sentenced and crucified, while the keeper of “the keys” denied him, and his first priests ran away. Through 2,000 imperfect — sometimes glorious, sometimes heinous — years, the church has contemplated and manifested the truth that dark and light, innocence and guilt, justice and injustice all share a kinship, one that waves back and forth like wind-stirred wheat in a field, churning toward something — as yet — unknowable.
The darkness within my church is real, and it has too often gone unaddressed. The light within my church is also real, and has too often gone unappreciated. A small minority has sinned, gravely, against too many. Another minority has assisted or saved the lives of millions.
But then, my country is the most generous and compassionate nation on Earth; it is also the only country that has ever deployed nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
Speaking of Podcasts, don’t forget to Pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart with me in the month of June!