It seems that with the ongoing media reports about the sex abuse crisis in the Church come more and more questions from friends and acquaintances about why some of us remain Catholic. Just yesterday I was involved in a brief Facebook discussion on this very topic. Someone asked, "Why do you (and so many others) stay?" The question was addressed to a Facebook friend who had posted something on the abuse scandal, but I decided to respond ever so briefly. Here's what I said (and remember, it's Facebook, so it has to be short and not too heavy):
"Big question to answer in a little space. But, I will say just briefly that this is my home, my family. To leave would be to tear myself away from all I love and all I believe in because of other people's sins. So I stay because, quite frankly, where else would I go or want to go. This Church, with all its human flaws, is beautiful and filled with God's spirit and with all that Jesus taught. You only have to look around at all the good things that are done day after day, year after year, by people working through the Catholic Church. As Peter said, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life.'"
Then today, I was trolling around some of my favorite blogs and came across a beautiful response to this same question by fellow Catholic writer Roxane Salonen, who blogs at Peace Garden Mama. Here is a snippet of what she had to say:
"I must confess, whenever evils within the Catholic Church rise to the surface, as they have so loudly recently, I go to Mass the following Sunday expecting the pews to be empty, and I’m always shocked on some level to see that they’re not – that the church is as full as ever. And there I am among those who have returned, clamoring back into the arms of the one who has so often sheltered me, knowing there are still, and always will be, evils lurking somewhere within.
"How can a church be holy and still house such wrongs?
"It seems impossible at times to sort through, yet the answer is very simple. It comes down to this: the Church comprises both God and man, good and evil. This is true not only of the Catholic Church, but every church and every relationship that has ever existed and will exist. The Church teaches truth and offers guidance on how to achieve holiness, even though its members cannot possibly reach perfection in this life. She remains there for us as we reach toward what is good and pure and eternal, even while we move through our earthly lives of suffering and imperfection."
The rest of the post is just as thoughtful and beautiful. Read it by clicking HERE. Have you been asked why you stay? And, if so, how do you answer?