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....