Posted by: L. E. Barnes | April 10, 2010

I’m Staying!

Elizabeth Scalia has written a poignant article explaining why she remains Catholic in spite of the scandals plaguing it. She writes:

I remain within, and love, the Catholic Church because it is a church that has lived and wrestled within the mystery of the shadow lands ever since an innocent man was arrested, sentenced and crucified, while the keeper of “the keys” denied him, and his first priests ran away. Through 2,000 imperfect — sometimes glorious, sometimes heinous — years, the church has contemplated and manifested the truth that dark and light, innocence and guilt, justice and injustice all share a kinship, one that waves back and forth like wind-stirred wheat in a field, churning toward something — as yet — unknowable.

The darkness within my church is real, and it has too often gone unaddressed. The light within my church is also real, and has too often gone unappreciated. A small minority has sinned, gravely, against too many. Another minority has assisted or saved the lives of millions.

 Please read the entire piece.

I came into the Church 3 years ago. So I was already well aware of the clergy sex abuse scandal, which started to come to light in the early 90’s but finally came to a head in 2002. I didn’t become Catholic because I believed the Church was picture perfect. Shoot, just study the history of the Christian faith! All branches of Christianity have checkered histories, alas. Why? Because there are people in them! There’s probably no better case for original sin than the fact that we sinful humans can misuse anything, even God’s Church.

But I stay Catholic because I believe the Catholic Church has the truth and is Christ’s mystical body that He founded. Furthermore, I refuse to go the way of Protestantism. With all due respect to my Protestant brothers and sisters–but in case you haven’t noticed, Protestants are experts at dividing. Seriously, it seems that Protestants’ most common way of handling strife is to divide, divide, divide–to fragment into new denominations or independent congregations. (And often Protestants don’t splinter from each other for theological or other weighty reasons; much of the time it’s just over petty church politics. A clique can’t have their way about something or other, so they decide to go start their own little club.) Sorry, but I believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I remain in the Church out of my love for our Lord who founded it, and thus I will stay with it through thick and thin.

I didn’t become Catholic because of who is pope, nor would I leave it because of something a pope has done or failed to do. (By the way, I pray the allegations being leveled against Pope Benedict are unfounded, but even if they are completely true, my love for and commitment to the Church will not be shaken.) My reasons for being Catholic run much deeper than how I feel about certain members of the Church’s leadership. The Church has been through many crises, both internal and external, throughout its nearly 2000 years. It has survived them all, and it will survive this. After all, the head of the Church isn’t a pope: it’s our Lord Jesus Himself. He is our Shepherd, and He will see His flock through this difficult time, as He has before. And we will remain “the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth” (I Tim. 3:15b).



  1. […] With all due respect to my Protestant brothers and sisters–but in case you haven’t noticed, Protestants are experts at dividing. Seriously, it seems that Protestants‘ most common way of handling strife is to divide, divide, … View full post on protestant – Google Blog Search […]

  2. Here is an article on the latest controversy that helped me feel a little better –

    I am glad you wrote this, especially your last paragraph. I so agree. During the clergy sexual abuse scandal in 2002, I was suffering from such pain and grief and depression over the whole thing, (for many reasons that maybe I should post on rather than take up space here!) But an insightful friend sent me a copy of a homily he had heard one Sunday that he thought would help me. Simplified, the priest basically said what you said here. That we are not here to worship the church, we are here to worship Jesus Christ. He is the One who will never betray us or fail us. Amen.

    • Thanks for replying. Christ will never let us down, though people will. That’s why I’m staying Catholic. And right, we need to be willing to dig deeper than just what the latest headlines say. Often there’s much more to a situation than first meets the eye. And it’s at times like this that the Church most needs its righteous members to remain faithful rather than jump ship. Besides, where are they going to go that won’t also have its own set of flaws or even outright scandals? Human nature being what it is, sin is everywhere!

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