Of course I shelled out the $6 and change to get my own copy. Of course I ignored my children to read it. Of course I should have known better.
That subtitle, “How women can save the Catholic Church from its sins,” should have tipped me off, but I still held a thread of hope.
This week’s Mary Moment Monday was going to be something about Mary in the spring, about how I find her in the cracks and crevices of my lawn, where the tulips have been picked by little fingers and handed to me. Instead, I find myself wading into the murky waters of scandal.
I don’t like debating about this. Really, I don’t think there’s a debate. I don’t keep quiet because I support it, but because I’m praying, and, honestly, I don’t think I add anything to the conversation.
As for the role of women, which this article maintains is the problem — perhaps, had there been women in the hierarchy, we could have avoided these scandals (Really?) — I have to just shake my head. In our parish, which I’ve been heavily involved in, behind the scenes, for the last six years, women are the cogs in the wheel. In fact, if I took attendance, last I checked, it takes both men and women. If there’s a woman in the pew or at an event, there’s a chance there’s a man somewhere supporting her choice or decision to spend her time there. Maybe he’s her father, the one who raised her Catholic, or her husband, or a big brother. He might be a priest who struck a chord with her (not in a scandalous way, mind you) or a deacon who encouraged her to go to college when everyone else told her it would be a waste of her time.
The Church is made up of men, yes. Priests are men, yes. Let’s not debate whether women need to priests or what Jesus meant. Let’s not cite things that aren’t considered valid to all of us.
But behind those men in the Church, there are women. Plenty of them. They raised those men, encouraged those men, and maybe, years ago, dated those men.
Believe it or not, you can be celibate and still have an idea of what it means not to be celibate. There’s beauty in that. In fact, it gives me a greater respect for these men (and women) who choose celibacy. It’s hard. It’s a sacrifice. That’s what makes it such a discernment.
The real problem is: our Church is made up of humans. And there’s really no way around it.
Said far better, by Jen at Conversion Diary:
This latest turn of events has only been a reminder of the age-old mystery that I wrestled with for so long, that humans have been wrestling with for the past two thousand years: that God exists, and even came down to walk among us, and yet he did not stop the suffering. He didn’t take away a single person’s free will — not even those whom he guides to speak on his behalf — and did not exempt one person from the potential to experience the worst kind of suffering. Not innocent children. Not even his own beloved Son. The way he dealt with suffering was to plunge himself into the heart of it, to come down and suffer with us, and for us. Nothing more. Nothing less.
What I’ve found is that, if you can muster up the courage to face that truth head-on, to accept it with all its weight, and resist the urge to run away, it is there that you will encounter Christ.
(It’s worth taking the time to read that entire post, “Safe Miracles,” which is Jen’s take on the scandals as a convert. She writes a lot that makes me nod, though my own experience is slightly different.)
In the interest of giving you something else to read that will hearten you and give you accurate, enlightening information, why not read George Weigel’s article in the same issue?
Updated, thanks to Erin M. in the comments: Here’s the link to the original article.
Here’s the link to Lisa Miller’s article:
Great post. So long as the Church is made up of fallible people, there will be writers who think they have the answer to making it infallible with their changes. They just can’t accept that humans who decide to enter the religious orders can still make dreadful mistakes.
One of my colleagues gave me that article to read. To be honest, I was disappointed in it mostly because it didn’t say much at all about Mary! … *sigh.*
Amen, Sarah! The answer to child abuse is not eliminating celibacy… over and over and over again, nearly every night on our local news, there are stories of MARRIED men AND women committing these same horrible offenses against children.
Thank you for saying what so few seem to say… that men AND women make up this church, and last time I checked, every single one of us was broken and sinful in some way (even us women).
What would Mary do? Probably what she’s already doing: praying for each us, the victims, the perpetrators, those with “all the answers,” those weeping in the pews, every last one of us.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners….
I am reminded of the quote regarding the Church being a hospital for sinners, not a museum of saints. It’s been this way since inception. We had to be founded on the cornerstone, rejected lest we forget, even more often, that the only one who does the saving is God. Thanks for a great post!
THIS is very nice:
“Believe it or not, you can be celibate and still have an idea of what it means not to be celibate. There’s beauty in that. In fact, it gives me a greater respect for these men (and women) who choose celibacy. It’s hard. It’s a sacrifice. That’s what makes it such a discernment.”
So very true even for us non-Catholic Christans. Once we realize, as you have said, that the greater Church is comprised of fallen humans. I look forward to one day being able to look past our worldly differences and imperfections and see each other the way God sees us all.
“As for the role of women, which this article maintains is the problem — perhaps, had there been women in the hierarchy, we could have avoided these scandals … women are the cogs in the wheel. In fact, if I took attendance, last I checked, it takes both men and women. If there’s a woman in the pew or at an event, there’s a chance there’s a man somewhere supporting her choice or decision to spend her time there.”
Sarah, your link to Jen’s blog post really helped me so much. She wrote about it beautifully for one thing. And then there was a comment made on her blog that really hit the nail on the head. In fact, I am going to blog on it myself and refer to the comment. It really perked me up. God bless.
Here is the secret to celibacy. Everyone of us is called to chastity. Celibacy is the promise not to marry. Think of it as being married to the Church. Now chastity means the same thing for me as it does for all you married folks.
The same graces that help you remain faithful in your vocation are the ones I rely upon in mine. Without God all of us are in big trouble. The scandal reminds us that when we lose sight of God, anyone of us will fall. We must daily use those graces.