the Catholic Church is awful.
There’s this book that I read about this morning called Come on In; It’s Awful! by Joanna Bogle. It’s about the Catholic Church. I haven’t read it, but it sounds like it’s pretty amusing and right on point.
It is definitely awful in here.
You may have noticed that the Church gets a pretty bad rap these days. You may also have noticed that while scandals and historical problems are sometimes the subject of hyperbolic influences, many of the issues people call the Church out on are at least based in truth.
The Church is looked to as this monstrous organization claiming to be right on all issues, which is exactly what it’s doing. Then you walk into one of these churches, where us members gather together and expect to see Beauty, Grace, Goodness, etc. But instead, you see something quite a bit different. You see some dark times in the 2,000 year history of this thing called the Church. You see celibate priests (yep, I said the c word..please keep reading) who are tainted by the abuse scandal that has rocked the Church and Her members to their cores. You see members who go through the motions, recite prayers without praying, gossip together in the vestibule, complain about kneeling, refuse to swallow certain teachings, and are only there out of obligation some, or maybe even much, of the time.
You hear music you don’t like, you’re told things you don’t want to hear, you hear translations you don’t know, you see us doing our Catholic calisthenics, and not much about it seems very holy sometimes. The Mass is drenched in ritual and formality that, if not understood and appreciated for the beautiful Truth it is based on, seems hollow and pointless and let’s admit it, sort of silly.
Then, once you leave the building, things get far, far worse. Faces you saw in the pews, eyes closed and praying, are now judging, and ridiculing, and cheating, and contradicting what you were just told to be and to do. And the Church looks like a fraud.
But if you’ve come to that church and you’re looking to those people because you’re looking for perfection, you should walk away right now. If you come to a Mass looking to hear things that will always make you feel good, you’re going to be disappointed. If you come because you like the priest’s jokes, or you think the music is pretty, or you knew a nice Catholic once… you’ve come for the wrong reasons and we’re going to let you down.
We aren’t Catholic because we like the humanity of the Church. It’s not because we enjoy standing, kneeling, sitting, and shaking hands when we’re told to do so. It isn’t because we want an excuse to say homosexual marriage is wrong, or abortion is killing a child, or that our leaders should be celibate (said it again, oops). It’s not because we like to come to big buildings and recite stuff together on Christmas and Easter, or because we’re looking for a way to validate our lives. It’s not because all the Masses are beautifully done. It’s not because we think the incense smells awesome.
We are Catholic because we are convinced that it is the Truth. We believe that the Church was founded by Christ, and although He left that Church in the hands of humans who have done a magnificent job of screwing it up a lot of the time, He is the head of that Church. We believe we are loved by our Savior and our God.
Read some apologetics. Learn about the history. Give it a chance, with an open heart. Dare you.