Sunday mornings may find me photographing sunrises instead of kneeling at Mass.  This is an ongoing internal struggle.  Something I haven’t given much public discussion.  Faith is also a private matter.  And words I’ve often shared with more liberal Catholics are echoing in my head.  The Church isn’t a democracy.  We don’t go to the polls in November and select parish priests, bishops or a Pope.

The Church isn’t the Democrat Party.

I don’t believe most practicing Catholics are seriously troubled by the trials of the Princes of the Church

Liberals who believe it needs to adopt the latest fads should consider the “mainline denominations” which have made the choice to be hip and liked by all the “right people” in your social circle.

Now I’m getting a dose of my own advice.  I don’t believe most practicing Catholics are seriously troubled by the trials of the Princes of the Church.  Find your seat, gab about golf until Mass begins and then rush off to breakfast.  The scandals we hear and read about are distant.  Boston, Pittsburgh and Rome.  Not many of us have ever experienced clergy abuse.

Certainly not I and I’ve always had great respect for my local pastors.  They’ve been wonderful men and, yet.  I know of at least two friends who’ve been victimized.  Two have come forward.  One assaulted as a boy and the other had a son’s innocence stolen.  The stories I’ve heard actually make me nauseous.

Six months ago I took an oath to my Bishop and my Pope.  There are no plans to renege on my pledge.  Unlike some critics, I don’t believe Francis is a Marxist.  Much of what he says is no different than his predecessors.  We’re commanded to be good stewards of the land and to be kind to the downtrodden.  John Paul II said much the same.  He apparently got a pass from conservatives for being anti-Soviet.

What does bother me is someone advising prayer (which I’ve been doing) and then suggesting whistle blowers are possessed.  Whoa…

This is crisis management at its worst and someone is giving the Holy Father unsound advice.  He needs better counsel and I fear instead he’s getting sold a bill of goods by the Curia.  The usual belief this will blow over and all again be well.  When this happened at the beginning of the century it seemed the response.  Cardinal Law found sanctuary and so few among the Bishops have answered for what could be criminal conspiracy.

While many of the abuse allegations are long in the past I believe far too many princes conflate their position with the health of the Church.  These men are temporal administrators.  I guess they figure they’ll live a day longer than objections.  Abuse may now be rare but covering for peers continues.

There should’ve been a purge 15 years ago, however.

Then, again, some older men made some incredibly unwise decisions and got us here

The Vicar of Christ was old and ill and had lost physical energy.  Then two quick successors followed.  It may take a generation or more to cleanse the bureaucracy.  Trouble is the successors were both ancient men.  The job requires a younger man of boundless energy but youth may not offer wisdom. Then, again, some older men made some incredibly unwise decisions and got us here.

A very devout friend wrote me two weeks ago.  She cautioned we wouldn’t abandon our house if it was occupied by evil men.  I’m not so sure the metaphor works.  If men entered my home, demanded my silence and then raped my children in the basement, bathroom and attic I’d be telling the kids to run.  Also, not only would I call the police, I might take up a defensive position and some people could arrive at judgement well in advance.

There are three ways to hasten change.  March the offenders out of their Vatican apartments and parish residences.  Number two, secular governments can begin liberally applying conspiracy claims against Catholic hierarchy.  Third, leave in droves.  Boycott the Church.  Give your money elsewhere.  Leave the tiny chapels and great cathedrals empty.  The men of splendor will get the message.  Three would lead back to the first choice.

Lastly, why don’t I find another denomination and decamp in a pew?  I’ve not found anything satisfying.  I’m not a theologian and there are going to be more scholarly people arguing obscure points and insisting I’m in peril because I can’t receive the sacraments while on strike.  True!  It’s a bit like having no health insurance for 60 days on a new job.  Let me put you another case.  You stay and you reward evil behavior.  Leadership has the following admonition.

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.  Acts 20:28.

You stay and willingly accede while you know they’re playing for the other team.  I die without the sacraments and/or insurance.  You die a willing participant.  We’re both rolling the dice, aren’t we?

I’ve stayed because I truly believe in His presence in the Eucharist.  My Sola Scriptura friends among the Protestants somehow missed on the Body and Blood.

Now I can’t stay.  I’ve an analogy of my own.  Ronald Reagan had a father and brother who remained Catholic.  The family respected the choices each member made.  Reagan once said something astute about his departure from the Democrat Party.  To paraphrase, he didn’t leave, it left him.

I feel the same about the Roman Catholic Church.  You may not agree.  You may dislike me for my choice.  You may believe you need to intervene and save my soul.  To which I reply, I’ll leave it in the hands of the Lord.  And why aren’t you with me?