I skipped mass yesterday.
It was the best decision I’ve made for my own spiritual and moral health in a long time.
I’ve been living in a kind of purgatory ever since the Kavanaugh confirmation. The reason is clear cut.
What happened to me is that the Kavanaugh hearing destroyed my belief in the goodness of the Church. It was a two part change. First, I stopped believing that the bishops care if women are raped, tortured and murdered. Second I began believing that they actively support those who use laws and regulations to enable women to be raped, tortured and murdered.
I followed this by looking at the bishops’ political advocacy vis a vis issues concerning women during the years since I left office. What I saw was a big change from what I’d known before.
My bishop when I first converted and in the years following was a man who had marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. He had a heart for justice and equality of all people. He was — and is — the sort of man who did not support other men abusing and harming women.
That good man taught me to trust the Church. He backed my efforts to stop violence against women. He supported the efforts of other people, as well. He held symposiums on the subject and he even wrote a pastoral letter about it.
I knew when I converted that the Catholic Church was a male-run organization with a 2,000 year history of supplying the moral support for misogyny. I knew that Church institutions had practiced a lot of cruelty directed at both women and children. I had lived through the cruel moral abyss of the sexual double standard. I had witnessed the practice of baby stealing through forced adoption that church-run adoption mills did. I had personally seen a non-Catholic church drive a rape victim out of the church.
I had struggled with how to make peace between my faith in Christ and my knowledge of the cruelty and sadism official Christianity had directed at women for millennia. I was well aware that the primary driver of this, the historic first cause, was the Catholic Church.
But Christ in the Eucharist called me to this Church. What I experienced in the Church was the deepest and most loving forgiveness and openness imaginable. After the coldness of other Christian denominations, the Catholic Church really was a homecoming. As I said, my bishop at that time was a wonderful Godly man who truly cared about people.
I drank it all down like someone dying of thirst.
My opinion at the time was that the Church had committed many sins in its long history, but that the Holy Spirit had worked to open the doors inside it and bring about healing and growth in love and acceptance. I knew that much of this was due to the freedom to be truly religious that the Church had because of the separation of Church and State. I believed then and believe now that Christ and secular power don’t mix, that political power corrupts the Church and turns it toward evil.
I had witnessed in a very close up and ugly way the depth of hate, lying and sin that other denominations had plunged into when they joined what was then called the Moral Majority and is now the Faith and Freedom Coalition. In my opinion, satan entered into American Christianity via this unholy and unnatural alliance between organized Christianity and the Republican Party.
I think it has destroyed both these institutions. It has turned the churches into nothing but cheap political whores who know nothing of Christ. I believe that the Holy Spirit is withdrawing from these churches because they have twisted and perverted the teachings of Christ to use them to support right wing political positions. I do not regard these churches as Christian.
At the same time, profaning the name of Christ to advance their quest for political power and money has turned the Republican Party into something evil and downright insane. Scripture says “God is not mocked.” Those who blaspheme in this manner would do well to remember that.
After the Kavanaugh hearing, I took a look at the political activities of my own church, the Catholic Church. What I found appalled me and made me feel like a fool for ever following or believing in its leadership in these matters.
It was a hammer blow of betrayal to learn that the bishops had come out against the Violence Against Women Act. Not only that, but our “pro life” bishops opposed a national suicide prevention hotline. It was just as painful to see that they had given tacit support to opposition to paid maternity leave, child care, health care, dealing with the climate holocaust that is threatening the entire human race, equal rights, voting rights, Black Lives Matter and almost anything else that would help people.
I discovered that the Church even had a practice of firing unwed pregnant women who worked for it. I’m going to write a whole blog post about that. For now, I’ll just say that they do it.
The bishops were following the woman-bashing, woman-hating, racist, misogynist, seditious, billionaire-serving fascist right wing right down the line. Many of them were even attacking the pope in alliance with some of the scummiest right wing operatives going.
They were calling people names, issuing threats, and bullying their parishioners in order to support right wing political goals. They were, in short, becoming just as twisted and evil as their evangelical brethren.
Not only that, but it sure looked like quite a few of these bishops were taking right wing money. It lines up.
What I saw was a church whose leadership had fallen away from Christ. I saw a church where a number of the bishops were whores for right wing politics. What I saw was men who were indifferent to the suffering that the policies they were backing for their political masters were causing to the people of this country. I saw men who wanted abortion to be illegal, but they were actively backing policies that, if they succeeded in making abortion illegal, would make it impossible for women to do anything but go underground for a dangerous and terrifying illegal abortion.
I slowly began to wonder if they cared about saving babies lives, or if they just wanted abortion to be illegal to use as a terror tactic. If you want to save babies lives, you’ve got to know that you can’t do it without saving the baby’s mother.
If you care about people, if you care at all about the effects of draconian laws, you have to be willing to, not just go the extra mile, but go as far as it takes to undo any harm you might be doing. If you make abortion illegal, and women die because of it, that’s on you. If you destroy people’s lives with your overturn of Roe, their suffering is a stain on your soul.
We all have a moral responsibility for what we do to other people.
The bishops don’t seem to understand that. They seem to think that they have no moral responsibility for the harms they do to other people. Somewhere in their theological hubris they’ve taught themselves that the power they wield is responsibility free.
This is all a lie. It’s a self-serving, death-dealing, hypocritical lie.
I skipped mass this weekend because I couldn’t take the hypocrisy. It was a wonderful act of self care on my part. It was freeing and healing to get away from the smug indifference to women’s suffering.
We can save the babies without destroying women.
But we will never do it if we operate from the indifference and hardness of heart of a bastardized, demonized christianity that is nothing but a political whore-thing of right wing politicians and the money interests who own them.