Read a few discussion boards on Catholic issues and you`ll quickly recognize a pattern. There are the LOUD voices that love to use capital letters to make their point. (These are present on both sides of the issue being discussed.) The regulars are recognized by their tone and well-worn arguments even as they hide behind the username of `anonymous`. Some spout their frustrations in colourful, angry sentences. Others have a brilliant grasp of the English language which can give a refreshing chuckle-break to the tense atmosphere. Thankfully, there are those that try to make their point calmly and rationally without attacking opposing views.
And, there will always be the one voice who has the answer for all discontented souls in the Church…if you`re so unhappy, then why don`t you leave!
It is this voice that worries me. It worries me because it really doesn`t understand that a person who is questioning, or confused, or saddened, or down-right angry at people, events, or teachings in our Church is usually emotional and passionate because they love the Church. And, because they love the Church their disappointment is felt more deeply.
There are many apathetic Catholics who will warm the pews on a Sunday morning and not think about the Church or their faith for the remainder of the week. And they will consider themselves good and faithful Catholics. Like those who say `I don`t read or watch the news…it`s too depressing`, many Catholics aren`t interested in the goings on of the Church beyond their pew. In many ways, ignorance can be bliss!
It is important to remember that the questioning soul is a seeking soul. Our Catholic tradition upholds the importance of faith seeking understanding. And the understanding does not always come easily. Acknowledging the reality of the dark night of the soul is also part of our Catholic tradition. A soul that is experiencing the darkness of disillusion and uncertainty does not need someone to tell them, `if you`re so unhappy, why don`t you just leave`!