Believe me, I've heard it all in the last few months. How could I even think of submitting to an archaic church full of homosexuals & pedophiles that's rife with theft & deception? Doesn't that seem like the very antithesis of what the church is supposed to be? Popes have been called "antichrist" since the days of the Reformation & some say the Church is nothing more than a Godless cult or elitist social club. At first, yes, I admit I had my doubts. How COULD I align myself with an institution that has had so many accusations laid against it?
I've been thinking about it in recent days & here's what I've come up with: my relationship with the Church is based first & foremost on my relationship with Jesus. I can submit to the authority of the Church so long as the church remains submitted to the authority of Christ. Where it does not, I cannot in good conscience submit to it. In the "true" spirit of deception & crime, most of the horrible things we hear about have happened under the guise of secrecy & lack of submission to higher Church authority. I tend to think the breakdown happens with individuals who have been protected by other individuals who are either sympathetic to the crime or unwilling to upset the "order" of things. Other situations, I believe, occur out of ignorance, like Galileo or the Inquisition. Suffice it to say, I don't necessarily believe in conspiracy theories.
At this point, I'm not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I was many years ago, but something kept drawing me back. I had to take a closer look- beyond the media, beyond the accusations, beyond the confessions & financial pay offs. Could I possibly see beyond the scathing humanity of the Church? I have no answers for the countless victims out there. Is there more to the Catholic faith than the sordid traditions of some so-called holy men? I believe that for every authentic thing, there is a deception, a knock off of some kind. I acknowledge the horrible, inexcusable crimes, but I also believe an authentic representation of the Catholic Church still exists. I believe it because I've personally encountered transformation as I continue to study & interact with the Catholic faith. I can tell you I never experienced such joy, such anticipation, such desire for the things of God as a Protestant. Catholicism is not found in the Pope or a priest or a sacrament or a church building. True Catholicism is the mystery of Life that manifests itself in the heart of every believer united to one other in Christ Jesus.