My blogging attempts have been sparse for quite some time now.
The reason is simple.
It’s the Catholic place of Patheos, and my blog is called Public Catholic. Ever since our bishops and priests backed Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and many of them followed up by telling the congregants they’d be going to hell if they didn’t vote to hate women, the sexual predator in series, the racist, the corrupt, lying, cheating, incompetent, Putin’s son Donald Trump – since that – I haven’t been a particularly good Catholic.
Instead of finding comfort in my faith, it was a source of anguish. Instead of leading me to Jesus, the behavior of my religious leaders has sent me back through the basic questions of what do I really believe, all along?
My answers, it turned out, were simple. I believe in the Apostles’ Creed. I believe it to the end. I believe what the Church teaches when it is the Church. I trust in the graces of the sacraments. I am wholeheartedly committed to a policy based on the sanctity of human life and the ultimate preeminence of the common good.
My problem is that I don’t believe that many bishops and our “star” priests with their little rogue ministries believe these things.
I don’t believe – as in absolutely not believe – they care if women are raped and murdered. I don’t expect them – ever – to stand up for women’s human rights. In fact, I expect them to make pretty speeches and then oppose women’s human rights in practice, just like they did with Kavanaugh’s confirmation, just like they did. did when Trump called women dirt and bragged about committing sexual assault, just as they did when they opposed the Violence Against Women Act and backed politicians who oppose equal pay.
I think their concern for women’s human rights is as weak as their opposition to racism. They deliver a “teaching” that sounds good. Then they support a politician who kills the anti-lynching bill.
Bishops have a bad habit of combing through legislative efforts to help people until they find something somewhere that supposedly “contradicts” “Church teaching.” Then, as with the violence against women law, they oppose it.
Of course, these are the same “pro-life” bishops who fire single pregnant women who work for the Church – while leaving the men who got those women pregnant untouched. Their “pro-life” policy seems to start and end with making abortion illegal. They’re not “pro-life” enough to support the child tax credit, mandatory paid maternity leave, equal pay, or any of the many things that would allow women to choose life for their babies. .
I do not believe that the bishops give an iota to their vaunted “preferential option for the poor”, and I could expose a long list their positions on the issues and politicians to support this statement. I don’t think they’ve ever met a rapist or a sexual predator they didn’t like and support, including Trump and Kavanaugh.
As you can see, I’m angry. And I don’t consider my anger healthy to seek out people who are trying to work out their salvation. I don’t want to persuade anyone to follow me on this path of anger and indignation that I am on. This is my path, forged from the experiences of my own life. I gave up blogging because I cannot, with integrity, claim to speak as a faithful Catholic.
I would walk away from this church and end the anguish. I would, even if I believe in his teachings, except for one thing.
I love it.
I love the Catholic Church, and I can say amid my most raging rant about its obscene loyalty to neo-Nazi politics and corrupt amoral seditionist politicians that the Catholic Church has been the institution for me the most forgiving and loving person I have ever met. The grace and love that the Church has showered on me has been a balm to my bruised soul.
The Church is a channel of grace, the Eucharist a direct link with Christ. We can all be like the woman with the hemorrhage, who reached out and touched him and was healed, simply by taking the Eucharist.
The miracle—among many miracles—of the Eucharist is that this ability to touch divinity is not limited, diluted, or erased by the priest who offers it. The Church is a channel of grace. But it is not this Grace.
I never doubted it, but it became a living reality for me in the dark days of Trump. Many of our priests and bishops have personally fallen into the political abyss. Several of them give a fairly good imitation of a flat bishop. We have rogue priests and a few of our bishops – crazed Bishops Strickland of Tyler Texas and any right-wing billionaire’s dance partner Vigano come to mind – who seem to be little more than political operatives of right.
These bishops have fallen. And yet the Church continues to navigate. Good priests elevate the Chalice and the Host daily. They hear confessions and listen to our reproofs and anoint us when we are sick. They visit us in hospitals and hold our hands as we die. I don’t know how they continue, day after day, year after year, in an endless liturgical cycle. But they do, and we rely on them to do it. We hope they will. We trust them because when we need them, they are there.
My anguish – my misery – is that I am a believing Catholic caught up in a Church that is riddled with priests and bishops who, to all appearances, are not believing Catholics but right-wing political operatives. That makes me a bad Catholic.
No one has ever wanted the Church to be what it says about itself more than me. I know all about regret and remorse for the mistakes I made, and I wanted the Church to save me from the perils of my own moral judgments. I wanted it to save me from being so wrong and feeling the nagging pain of remorse again.
I came to church and gave up my ability to make critical moral judgments with relief. I wanted the Church to be right. I wanted the bishops to be good. I commended the safety of the railings put in place by the Church.
Then came Trump. I have never seen a more obvious evil than Trump. He never hid what he was. He displayed it. He was obviously – and I mean OBVIOUSLY – a corrupt, cruel, racist, misogynist, thug, amoral, liar, con man serial sexual predator who was also a mentally ill psychopath. He said that was what he was, every time he opened his mouth.
Instead of condemning his repugnant and sinful behavior, the Bishops fell face to face in worshiping Trump like a bunch of teenage girls worshiping their favorite boy band. The rogue priests with their lucrative little “ministries” have gone all-in. They heaped their vicious character assassinations on anyone who didn’t blindly follow this obvious demagogue. They went after Trump like a pack of male dogs, chasing a female dog in heat.
Then Kavanaugh’s confirmation happened. I forced myself to watch Christine Blasey Ford’s heartbreaking testimony because I felt that if she had the courage to do it, I had to find the courage to go through it with her. Later that day, I saw little lizard Republican Senator Lindsey Graham jump up and attack him. I watched the snotty, howling reaction of the man these senators were actually supporting for the United States Supreme Court. And, of course, I listened to the obscene reaction, excusing the rapists and denigrating the victims of my fellow Catholics.
No one from the column of faith stood up to support Christine Blasey Ford. This Catholic woman was disbelieved, attacked and abandoned by her fellow Catholics in the same way victims of sexual assault and rape have always been.
The bishops did what they always did. They let the sexual assault victim be pilloried and attacked, and they supported her attacker.
Since that time, I haven’t been a good Catholic.
My appetite for Church blogging was gone. I had nothing uplifting to say to anyone.
Now I am blogging again.
I decided to blog again while praying for Ukraine on Ash Wednesday. I am writing to you today so that you may take what I am about to tell you wisely.
I do not write as a good Catholic. I write to you as staunch opposition to the political heresy that has taken hold in the Church. I write as a committed member of the godless, undemocratic, dishonest, seditionist, outright racist and fascist right wing resistance who destroyed the Republican Party, tore America apart and put the whole world in the invasion of Ukraine.
My reason for blogging again is simple.
I oppose neo-Nazis in our Church and the body politic of America. I want my grandchildren to grow up in a democracy. I want them to have access to a Church that preaches Christ, not republicanism and fascist hatred.
I blog because blogging is part of what I can do for that purpose.