I came across this video today and this is exactly why, although I persist in believing in a Higher Power/Authority/Presence I will call God for the sake of making things easier and simpler, I just cannot look at the Catholic church with the fondness and warmth I used to.
I do believe in God, consciously and most of the time, subconsciously, because I’ve spent a little bit more than half of my life going to church, being involved in different activities at church, and developing and maintaining close relationships with church people, including nuns and priests. And as cliche as it might sound, you can’t just shake off the education and environment you’ve been raised in, and suddenly totally deny the presence of God all together.
I consider myself fortunate enough that most of the people I’ve personally known, at or through church, between roughly 1990 and 2008 have been marvelous and inspiring. However, I know that, as much as I would like it to be, these people do not represent the Catholic church all together and they are not what the Catholic church represents. Some of them do portray, or at least try to, the best of what the church should indeed be, which, in my own simple interpretation, is love and understanding. But the Catholic church is, unfortunately, a whole institution and a system bigger than these few people, and that current Catholic institution and system embodies values and actions I simply cannot agree with. In doing so, it also forces its members, including the ones I personally know, to follow its rules.
Some may protest and defend the church, saying that pedophile priests and anti-homosexual comments are just part of the church, not all. True, but all I see is the church’s reaction, or rather, its lack of reaction, its unwillingness to embrace changes and its denial of its mistakes; and those are enough to reinforce my disillusion in the system.
Like any other organization, the Vatican cannot control or monitor every single one of the priests it chooses to ordain. But just like any other organization, it should hold responsibility for its mistakes when told so, because people, inside and outside, look up to the system to find the answers. The church may often pride in distinguishing itself from what is mundane and secular and all the political mess, because it wants to take care of what is spiritual and related to faith. But that would be a very naive and misguided perspective. It may not hold the political authority of secular governments, but I see it none too different from a political entity, with a strict hierarchy, a diversity of members and moreover, responsibilities it should answer to. And as a political entity, it is entitled to making mistakes, but it also has a responsibility to answer for them and correct them. After all, like they often like saying, it is God that is divine and absolute, not the people serving that God. Since God has given them the freedom to think and act as they wish (the main explanation as to why there is so much pain and atrocity in this world), I should think God also gave them the freedom to recognize their mistakes and hold themselves accountable for those.
I don’t know why I get upset and frustrated whenever I hear some bad news about the Catholic church. Maybe deep inside I still want to believe there is more good than bad in Catholicism. Maybe I’m just looking for a little sign that will give me faith again and allow me to go back to Sunday masses my head held high, and I’m disheartened to see that all I get in return is big signs pointing at all that is bad and wrong in that religion.
This video made me realize, once more, that no matter how many ‘good’ individuals there are in Catholicism, as a group, they somehow turn into this irrational mob, blind and deaf to all that is wrong, brandishing their faith as a pass to do everything in the name of God.