Sunday, June 12, 2011

One Foot - Stuck in the Muck

I wrote this elsewhere a bit over a year ago....

When I was a kid in the '50's - yes, I'm dating myself - all kids had real rubber boots for rainy days.  The kind of boots that fit over your shoes.  Boots that had to be strong enough to weather your walk to school - which, in our case, was a bit longer than a mile.  Catholics had to walk.  Public schoolers got bussed!

I remember one day, walking home, having to cross what seemed like a field of mud.  Probably it wasn't that big, but neither was I And one foot got stuck!  One boot rather.  I couldn't pull my foot out without also pulling the shoe.  But to do that would have meant having to put that foot - plus shoe - smack into the same mud.  Not a workable solution.  Not if I wanted to wear that shoe tomorrow. 

Plus, once one boot is stuck, it's so easy to get the other one stuck too.  Now, to be honest, I am truly not certain how this story ended.  I just recall the dilemma of being maybe 8 years old.  Learning what I'm just now telling you.  With one foot stuck in the muck, trying to pull it out, trying to figure out what to do.  I suspect I learned not to take a short-cut, not if it meant crossing a muddy field, cuz Catholics had to walk...

Or I thought I'd learned that.

But just yesterday I realized that even though I have "left" the Catholic Church with one foot, I am still stuck in Catholic Church muck with the trailing foot.  Thankfully, I didn't just leave - without first finding an island of sanity and spiritual sustenance (a church "for all people").  So at least I'm not stuck in mud with both feet!  Nevertheless the catholic muck seems to have such a hold over this one foot, like the boot like I had as a child (I think it was a red boot).  A foot which is very stuck.  Because there is just so much muck.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person, who has left what we were taught in childhood was the Church - only to find in this current crisis which is shaking the RCC to its very foundations, a big ache in one's heart, a breaking heart really, for all the innocent victims, all the other good people who are collateral damage to a hierarchy more bent on self-protection than vigilance to protect the innocent.  The reason I'm pretty sure is that right here at TPM some people have admitted as much.  And many who profess no adherence to any church are suddenly admitting they are upset at what's going on in "their" church.  It actually reminds me of people I've known who don't believe in god - till they find themselves in a jam, needing to pray hard!  This situation is the opposite, of course, or maybe not.

Maybe the concern of people like myself, who no longer identify as catholic, for the church of their youth or their schooling, has to do with a genuine desire to see a wayward institution find its way home - to the values they were taught, values they still believe in.  Values they feel are too often missing in today's world.  Values they need to see in people - leaders, especially.

So if some wonder how come I'm stuck in the RC muck, it's not because I'm sitting at home full of personal rage - just looking for a target, and having found one, continuing to rage and rage.  It's because I believe this institution, the Roman Catholic Church, is part of something larger and is failing to live up to its high calling.  And I'm just counting all the ways....

6 comments:

Philomena Ewing said...

This resonates with me big time. It does seep into the soul all the time. It is good to be able to know that I am not alone.
Blessings

TheraP said...

Peace be with you, dear Philomena. For sure, you are not alone!

Opus118 said...

I remember this post since I also had my shoes stuck in mud in the 1950s (both in my case). I believe it was my brother that solved the puzzle for me by telling me to untie my shoes and take both my feet out.

I think I had a different take and emotional response to the scandal that your post relates to as an outsider (I am under the jurisdiction of H.A.H. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew). I can in one hopeful viewpoint see the response of the Roman church reflecting compassion and pastoral care to those that they are most familiar (the clergy) but the Church failed to do due diligence for those less familiar (the laity). It is the latter, the failure to care for their flock, that must weigh heavily on the Roman church as a grave sin.

Does this re-post reflect an intention to return to and influence the Roman Church from within?

Despite what might seem to be a critique, my main intent is to inform you that your essays are almost always thought provoking and, at least for me, full of wonder and beauty.

deodate said...

Very well said TheraP. I cam over from Claire's blog. There are many who feel the same way, I have to believe that the Spirit is at work....
Andie

TheraP said...

Hello Opus118! Thanks for your comment. You are reading more into it than I am aware of perhaps. No, I am firmly among the Orthodox. And have no intentions of returning to Rome. But the anguish of so many who feel trapped there or feel they have no other viable options for worship, along with the never-ending crises, still have a hold over that one foot. I try to console the homeless of Rome to the degree I can. I concur with your take on the failures.

Blessings upon you!

My apology for posting this so belatedly. I simply failed to check my email....

TheraP said...

Welcome Andie (deodate) and thanks for following the link at Claire's blog. (I'll follow yours...)

Yes, I do believe you're right. The Spirit is at work. Yet it seems there will be great turmoil for quite some time.

Peace and be well.