“I am so done.”
“I just can’t anymore.”
Some variation of these two phrases are littered throughout the email and private messages I’m getting from fellow Catholics who have been “hanging in and hanging on” since last summer’s revelations about both the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report and the ongoing saga of former Cardinal, former Archbishop, former priest Theodore McCarrick. Faithful Catholics who have been doggedly digging in their heals and refusing to be driven away from the sacraments despite the ongoing and often horrifying headlines of longstanding evil being tolerated within our Church are suddenly feeling defeated—too overwhelmed to remain as, seemingly every day, there is another demoralizing tale.
“The Church I thought I would never leave again is pushing me away; we are on a break, and I don’t know when I can return,” writes one friend.
“Treachery—at best,” writes another.
One friend, made ill by the story of deaf students being helplessly victimized by profoundly evil men, wondered, “What, were these kids not far enough to the margins” to be seen and rescued?
It was a horrible, and horribly valid, question.
For the sake of justice and to effect healing, what has been hidden must be revealed, and we shall all have to look at it in stunned disgust. Yes, it is straining our faith. These are difficult, challenging days, and the utter fury roiling through our guts, our hearts, and our minds as we read these stories is understandable. The rage is righteous, and its energy is real.
Still, all of our anger will count for nothing if we do not channel that energy into action that goes beyond venting on social media and declaring that we’re “done.” Rather than walking away, we—each one of us—will have to roll up our sleeves and teach the institutional Church how to actually be a church again.
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