Struggling to Stay Catholic


Up to now I have decided to stay. It is an important part of my identity.

I do understand the concerns and frustrations. Nearly everyone in my close family has now left the Catholic Church. The American Catholic exodus is gathering momentum. Dioceses are closing parishes across the country.

“A necessary purification,” one of my US archbishop friends told me. “You just DON’T understand,” I replied…….

John Chuchman caught my attention a few days ago. I suspect many resonate with him.

Turning Point

I have struggled so long
not wanting to be possessed
by my anger
with what the corrupt hierarchs have been doing
to my Church.

Though I have come to realize
that the church of the hierarchs
is not my Church,
and that WE as The Body of Christ are Church,
institutional church
was too much of my past
for me
just to leave quietly.

Well, God knows,
as do many hundreds of others,
that I have not expressed my grief and my anger
quietly.

But it dawned on me last night,
that if I died this moment,
too many people would recall me
only as rabble-rouser,
not really my most important gift.

Those who do know me well
know I am a man in and of Love,
know that I believe God is Love,
know that I trust that
when we live in Love, We live in God,
and God is us.
That is how I wish to be remembered.

So,
I think I better
just move on
and let the hierarchs
have the church of their making
while focusing my efforts
on helping Grievers and their Caregivers
and on Spiritual Growth and Nurturing,
on Love.


John Chuchman

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8 thoughts on “Struggling to Stay Catholic

  1. The poem and the thoughts behind it are heartbreaking, as is the hierarchy of today. But I’m unable to let go. My heart is broken enough but I believe the Spirit is here somewhere and somehow her hope and wisdom will lead us through.

  2. I don’t know if I can call myself Catholic any more, in fact I think I am embarrassed to do so. Yet, as a victim, I feel there is so much more impact if I remain Catholic in some way and continue to speak my truth. I have tremendous anger about the assumption that all victims are Catholic haters and no longer part of the Church, as if being raped by a priest is an excommunicable offense. Or perhaps it’s just tellinI don’t know if I can call myself Catholic any more, in fact I think I am embarrassed to do so. Yet, as a victim, I feel there is so much more impact if I remain Catholic in some way and continue to speak my truth. I have tremendous anger about the assumption that all victims are Catholic haters and no longer part of the Church, as if being raped by a priest is an excommunicable offense. Or perhaps it’s just telling the truth about it that is unacceptable: we must be liars. But can that be it? Since when has lying been an excommunicable offense? Is it the fact that we are accusing priests, then? Is that the unforgivable offense? If so, then the problem is with Catholics – the belief that priests cannot be predators, the assumption that one person cannot be both loving and compassionate in ministry and also calculating and predatory in the arena of sexuality. These beliefs, fed by the archaic view that priests are higher human beings by virtue of their ordination, these beliefs must be challenged. They are based on a magical view of priesthood and sacrament that needs to change and who better to challenge it than victims – especially ones with divinity degrees. And so I struggle to hang on, searching for wisdom among Catholic writers and the occasional gospel mass, where the priest doesn’t look like my abuses and panic attacks remain at bay.g the truth about it that is unacceptable: we must be liars. But can that be it? Since when has lying been an excommunicable offense? Is it the fact that we are accusing priests, then? Is that the unforgivable offense? If so, then the problem is with Catholics – the belief that priests cannot be predators, the assumption that one person cannot be both loving and compassionate in ministry and also calculating and predatory in the arena of sexuality. These beliefs, fed by the archaic view that priests are higher human beings by virtue of their ordination, these beliefs must be challenged. They are based on a magical view of priesthood and sacrament that needs to change and who better to challenge it than victims – especially ones with divinity degrees. And so I struggle to hang on, searching

  3. I don’t know if I can call myself Catholic any more, in fact I think I am embarrassed to do so. Yet, as a victim, I feel there is so much more impact if I remain Catholic in some way and continue to speak my truth. I have tremendous anger about the assumption that all victims are Catholic haters and no longer part of the Church, as if being raped by a priest is an excommunicable offense. Or perhaps it’s just tellinI don’t know if I can call myself Catholic any more, in fact I think I am embarrassed to do so. Yet, as a victim, I feel there is so much more impact if I remain Catholic in some way and continue to speak my truth. I have tremendous anger about the assumption that all victims are Catholic haters and no longer part of the Church, as if being raped by a priest is an excommunicable offense. Or perhaps it’s just telling the truth about it that is unacceptable: we must be liars. But can that be it? Since when has lying been an excommunicable offense? Is it the fact that we are accusing priests, then? Is that the unforgivable offense? If so, then the problem is with Catholics – the belief that priests cannot be predators, the assumption that one person cannot be both loving and compassionate in ministry and also calculating and predatory in the arena of sexuality. These beliefs, fed by the archaic view that priests are higher human beings by virtue of their ordination, these beliefs must be challenged. They are based on a magical view of priesthood and sacrament that needs to change and who better to challenge it than victims – especially ones with divinity degrees. And so I struggle to hang on, searching for wisdom among Catholic writers and the occasional gospel mass, where the priest doesn’t look like my abuses and panic attacks remain at bay.

    • Thank you for your deeply moving testimony. In says, I suspect other than what you experienced, I too have been abused by men who worship the institution. The way of Jesus is far, far from the idolatry of these misguided men. I am now an old man. I have known a different church and I am still committed to stay and reform.

      Peace be with you!

      Jack

      (John Greenleaf)

  4. Situation is sad, “I will be with you even unto the consummation of the world” keeps most of us in. “We are the Church” includes the hierarchy. They sin as do we all. Adulation of hierarchy or publicly professed religious is our undoing. Give money to whom you trust. Refuse cooperation with wrong-doers and report them if acts are criminal. Stay. Pray. Direct your pay. Cautiously direct obey.

  5. My daughter has been horribly, mentally abused in the Catholic school. She still hasn’t gotten over it. I contacted the Diocese and the way they handled it was horrible and vicious toward us. We got no help from anyone. I too was attacked by them for calling the Diocese, everything is supposed to be a secret. The Priest who my daughter served for for many years wouldn’t even help. My daughter and I have not been back to the Church since this happened. These people that run the schools and Diocese can be horrible, outright cruel and vicious. They do not care for the children or parishoners, all they care about is the money they can get from you. We went through a very traumatizing experience. I feel very sad for my daughter. I will never go back to that Catholic Church again. I too do not want to be called a Catholic. The people who run the Church, from the Church to the Diocese to the Vatican, they are all criminals, evil, and do not care about human beings, children, or their souls.

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