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Why Remain a Catholic?

Elizabeth Scalia's powerful answer

BY Danielle Bean

| Posted 4/6/10 at 11:15 AM

 

With the kinds of news headlines Catholics have been treated to about scandals in their Church over the past several weeks (years, really), it seems a reasonable question:

Why would anyone remain a Catholic?

In a Good Friday column at NPR, Elizabeth Scalia, the super power known as The Anchoress in the Catholic blogosphere, offers a moving response:

“The darkness within my church is real, and it has too often gone unaddressed. The light within my church is also real, and has too often gone unappreciated. A small minority has sinned, gravely, against too many. Another minority has assisted or saved the lives of millions.”

I am so impressed with Scalia’s courage. It is with great fear and trembling that I would share a defense of my faith in such hostile territory as NPR. But she does so with amazing grace.

“I remain within, and love, the Catholic Church because it is a church that has lived and wrestled within the mystery of the shadow lands ever since an innocent man was arrested, sentenced and crucified, while the keeper of “the keys” denied him, and his first priests ran away. Through 2,000 imperfect—sometimes glorious, sometimes heinous—years, the church has contemplated and manifested the truth that dark and light, innocence and guilt, justice and injustice all share a kinship, one that waves back and forth like wind-stirred wheat in a field, churning toward something—as yet—unknowable.”

Scalia’s perspective is made all the more powerful—and yet vulnerable—by her admission that she herself is a survivor of sexual abuse.

In the 300+ comments her short column has garnered so far, there certainly are some angry voices, eager to take down Scalia along with the rest of the Church. But there are thankful voices too. There are people who are grateful to hear the truth of a real Catholic’s perspective on a Church she loves.

I am grateful for Scalia’s words too. The more real Catholics speak up and share honestly about their love of their faith—even while admitting the deep wounds that have been caused by the sexual abuse, the closer we can get to healing.

We don’t need Katie Couric’s analysis. We need real Catholic voices, offering real perspective on why they still live in and love the Catholic Church. Thank you, Elizabeth, for having the courage to begin the conversation.