why do you stay…really, why?

Inspirations for blog posts and articles often come from the richness of discussion boards. Yesterday, Anthony Lehmann shared his first communion memories and then wrote the following,

Isabella, I marvel at your ability to rebound and remain faithful in spite of the obstacles you have experienced along the way. The nun removing your gloves, being estranged from your parish community because of a priest. The changes, challenges and the muck of dealing with the institutional church. Somehow you can see through it all, believe through it all. Amazing.

Amazing? Perhaps. After all, we’ve gone through our share of ‘kaka’. But it’s not me who is amazing. Those closest to me know my ability to hold tremendous grudges. Forgiveness and reconciliation are not my strong suit. My blood pressure still rises at memories of past hurts, or when I see certain faces in diocesan newspapers.

Anthony’s comment has made me stop and think. WHY? Why DO I try to remain faithful to our Catholic Church and her beliefs? What is the essence of my Catholic faith, and how do I stay rooted in it in the midst of questioning and anger? Who or what helps me stay grounded and faithful?

I’m going to mull this question over. Meanwhile, I would love to hear your responses to these questions. Our answers, I believe, might be the key to promoting the ‘new evangelization’ that we are hearing so much about.

Note: Hubby and I heading to Dayton tomorrow morning to attend the First Vows ceremony of four Marianist (Society of Mary) novices. One is a dear friend who spent time with us in Canada. I won’t be posting again until I come back. I look forward to sharing the experience with you next week.

7 thoughts on “why do you stay…really, why?

  1. Your decision to stay amazes me. After being emotionally abused by the Sister of St Joseph Brentwood NY, I was blessed to meet my Protestant husband and an Episcopal minister who opened my eyes to the cult like approach of the RC church demonstrated by the above mentions congregation of nuns and the Redemptorist order of priests and brothers. I left the RC cult. Amen.

  2. Hi Maureen. This is what is really sad. While we keep looking for big answers to the question of why people leave, it’s often as simple as one wretched experience with an abusive or power-focused individual or community. And, yes, the abuse can be emotional, spiritual, and/or physical. There is no excuse. For many of us who choose to remain, the anger is not only at the hurt done to victims of this abuse. The anger is also at the way it has tarnished the good done by faithful, committed women and men in the church.

    (BTW….I have chosen the default settings on this wordpress blog, which means that responses by first time posters must await approval. I have responded on many blogs and have had to await this approval also. It’s meant to help screen spammers. It’s nothing personal! I can’t always moderate comments instantly.)

  3. I stay because I believe that the Eucharist truly is the Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity of Jesus Christ. The new Mass translations still drive me absolutely nuts, but I believe there is nothing more powerful on our planet than the Eucharistic. I stay because I believe in Mary and in her apparitions. I believe that the Rosary truly is a WEAPON, and that praying it has a powerful impact on the present and on our future. I stay because I believe in Divine Mercy and in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. We are all in such desperate need of mercy.

  4. You can ask me “why do you stay?”, but do not make the mistake of seeing my criticism of the Church as from an outsider looking in. This is a family matter and I am on the inside looking in. I stay and will not be silent when the dark and toxic side of my Church obstructs us from becoming the “People of God”. I agree with Joan Chittister, OSB who recently said: “To be a real leader, by all means make a difference. Rebel, rebel, rebel – for all our sakes, rebel. For if the people will lead, eventually the leaders will follow.”

    1. I agree, Ray. And please do not mistake my questioning as a desire to leave. Honest and respectful questioning and challenging should not be interpreted as unfaithfulness. Rather, they are a sign of a soul seeking to better understand.

      1. Isabella: My “why do you stay” was a hypothetical statement to my own critics who ask me this question, and also an answer to my own inner critic. I can no longer sit in an unexamined pew in the Church, and I seek out others (and their blogs) who ask the questions, and do have all the answers even before the questions have been asked. I have much gratitude and great admiration for your questioning! I see you are faithful to the mess and in this for the long hall. Peace, Ray

  5. Maureen:
    I am deeply sorry for what we have done to you; and I am deeply ashamed that we, the Church, have hurt you in such a profoundly shameful way. Every child and adult has the right to feel safe and protected. Instead of feeling safe and protected, the adults representing Church were verbally and emotionally abusive to you. Emotional abuse can be so much more painful than the physical; and I consider this kind of abuse an assault on spirit which is devastating. I am happy to hear of the great gift of healing that your husband and your minister are to you.

    I am deeply sorry for what we the Church have done to you; my continued prayers for your peace and healing. Ray

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