John Gehring, a journalist for the National Catholic Reporter, eloquently sums up my feelings in a recent article:
The church has always been a flawed, sinful, human institution filled with darkness and light. In part, I go to church these days to grapple with those contradictions, to find healing in the Eucharist and strength standing next to my fellow weary travelers.
The news that broke last week has caused me, along with a most every Catholic, great distress. My initial reaction was to run as fast as I could the other way because how could I possibly remain in a church that allowed such tragedies to occur. And yet, I still found myself at mass this Sunday. In fact, I went more often last week than in previous weeks. But why was I even more drawn to a place that is currently associated with such deep sin? Because deep down I know that the Church has always been associated with sin but it is also the source of great healing. Just as John Gehring points out, Catholics are extremely flawed and there has been corruption in the Church since its inception. Jesus chose Peter, a weak-willed man, to found his universal Church. I believe Jesus was so wise that he knew Peter would fail, he knew the Church he built would be deeply flawed, but it had to be so that it could be saved by love. We only need God if we are broken. That’s the wonderful paradox we live in, without our evilness, our greed, etc… there’s no place for love. We need to have fallen in order to be raised up. At this time our Church is in dire need of healing and it is our calling to be the antidote. We need to do as Jesus taught, we must live out his one commandment so that our joy be complete, “love one another as I love you” (Mt 15:11). Forget the details, forget the kinks. To follow God is to be love, to smile warmly at your children, help a friend in need, give generously of your time, money, space, etc… This is how we will rebuild the Church.