A Roman Catholic Resignation Letter
A friend wants to know why Pope Francis is silent about Andrew Cuomo signing a bill legalizing infanticide. My friend starts chemotherapy this week. Before being ravaged by cancer he estimates he missed mass no more than 5 times over seven decades. The cause for missing a handful was because he was encamped in snow at what is now the home of the 10th Mountain Division.
Do you really believe the Lord would consign me to hell because I don’t weekly chew a wafer the consistency of Styrofoam?
Cuomo is the Governor of New York State. He professes to be a devout Roman Catholic. For many years he cohabitated with a girlfriend at the Governor’s mansion. A native of New York City, his Bishop refuses to excommunicate the Governor. Timothy Cardinal Dolan explains it’s not meant for use as a weapon. Then what are excommunications for, party gags?
The pair will march together at New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. They will share jokes together at the annual Al Smith Dinner. They’ll together call for tolerance. Never mind tolerance isn’t a Christian virtue and there appears little tolerance for the unborn.
I’ve left the Roman Church. I’ve no tolerance for evil and the sanctioning of evil.
Over the weekend a friend gave me the usual “men are fallible but the Church is perfect!” After this writing he’ll go on to share some proofs made by long dead theologians. The same men who believed “bad humours” caused pandemics. While I believe the Church to be the bride of Christ it’s not a member of the Trinity. And other friends across the Protestant divide also reference the Church with the word capitalized. Now let’s throw stones at each other for both claiming to have cornered truth! What I can recognize is there are many good non-Catholics who aren’t prevaricating when it comes to the lives of innocents.
I’ve struggled with Catholicism for many years. I’ve watched as the practitioners are often abandoned by their own shepherds. A priest in Maryland removed from church ministry because he wouldn’t serve communion to a couple living in what the Church labels a sinful relationship. A priest working to defend the unborn has been shuttled from diocese to diocese and sanctioned by his superiors. Grown and powerful men have preyed upon the weak and young.
The latter is repugnant. Recently three priests of my acquaintance made the naughty list. “Credible accusations” was the phrasing. Two continued in church ministry until death. The third remains a priest. None were ever prosecuted.
Friends warn me I’m in peril because I won’t any longer receive sacraments. Do you really believe the Lord would consign me to hell because I don’t weekly chew a wafer the consistency of Styrofoam? Now, I may end up shoveling a coal for a hot reception for any number of other reasons but are we to believe men and women never receiving the consecrated Host are condemned? What of the priests who said the incantation only moments after groping a young boy’s scrotum in the sacristy? I’d argue a great many faithful ate the bread but weren’t fed.
One of my favorite pastors argued Jesus didn’t say His body and blood became a “representation” and I fully understand the point. The Eucharist is downplayed among many of the literalists in the post-Reformation alternatives, yet. I also understand the Lord spoke in parables. This made the complex more relatable to humanity. It’s akin to St. Patrick using the shamrock to explain the Trinity but the plant remains a plant and isn’t God.
Let’s take some others, for Instance. Anointing of the Sick. Say I’m far away in the hills and develop a fever and eventually die alone. Wouldn’t I be granted a dispensation? I guess the best answer is possibly. As I’m dying in the forest I pray and ask for forgiveness. Am I scorned because no priest was available to take my confession before passing? And what if the priest had recently groped a child? Is my confession then void because the priest isn’t in a state of grace? By the way, I’ve a close friend who was abused by a priest as a child. The child of another friend was abused by a priest. Nobody was ever jailed. So much for penance. I believe earthly behavior is a far greater factor in whether or not the Gates of Heaven are opened.
My mind has been troubled a very long time. I’ve found no solace in the explanations of my fellow Catholics. Many appear to be closing their eyes in a hope all will be well when the smoke clears but a question lingers. What did you do while the tempest raged?
Church leadership struggles to defend the unborn. It harms some after birth and two weeks ago bused some children have way across the country. Where they were abused and then figuratively thrown under the bus.
Let me offer a parable of my own. You’re riding on a passenger train. The sleekest of the fleet. At one stop you’re stretching your legs when someone tells you a bridge is out ahead. The engineer intends full steam ahead and the conductors instruct you to be silent. I don’t believe I’m getting back on the train. I’ll find another means of travel.