I have sat down and tried to write this as best as I can. A million times I found myself erasing everything because I didn't know if I would word it all correctly. I was afraid if I said something wrong my message would be disoriented and flipped. But, here I am putting my thoughts out in the open. I want to be honest and I want to be the voice for people who are still Catholic through this time. The time when the Church is fighting for a reason to have a voice when a thousand incidents have shot it down. The voice of the Church that has now got a bad reputation because of these sad and horrific incidents.
It hurts my heart to know that the Catholic Church hid a lot of things. It saddens me that so many evil things happened to innocent people that got brushed under the rug. I am angry that these men who are supposed to teach us about Jesus became men who did such unexplainable and sick things. I can't even imagine how many people have been affected, I can't imagine how people have now made the choice to leave the church, and how many people have said: "being Catholic is not worth it anymore cause look at what they are protecting."
But let me be clear, THESE MEN AND THESE PEOPLE PROTECTING THESE PRIESTS DON'T REPRESENT THE CATHOLIC FAITH. They are making this faith look so bad. It's making us and the priests, who are the people really striving to be what Jesus is calling us to be through being Catholic, look like some hypocrites. Now when walking into a church I am sure many people second guess the priest and question the whole faith that they grew up knowing. The Catholic Church is supposed to be the safe place.
If I can speak for me and many other Catholics, we don't accept and applaud what these priests did. As much as they accepted the call of priesthood they did damage that can't ever be explained. They did something I don't stand for and I know other Catholics don't stand for. I think these priests deserve the consequences. These people who were sexually abused and were stripped of every last truth and hope from their faith they deserve to feel every emotion. It's not easy though to just "go back to the Catholic faith."
As a Catholic, I think the one thing I learned from this is that evil is so close and can come breaking in to destroy. It can make something so strong be so broken. And that is what the Catholic Church has become... it has become broken. I don't blame the people who question everything now and stopped trusting.
As much as I wish I could wrap them in my arms and say "come back we need you" what do you say to people who were traumatized by someone who is supposed to be respected and someone to guide us more closer to Christ? Then to make it worse, you had the Church do nothing and tried to just tell you to keep your mouth shut. It breaks my heart to know that these people are probably doubting everything and have lost that relationship that our soul longs for.
In this time I've had many people continue to ask me why I am still Catholic. I even have had people say that I should switch religions because mine is so horrible. I am more welcomed at another church that would never have something like this happen. new flash: This could've happened to any religion, any church. Of course, since the beginning, the Catholic Church was ALWAYS looked at as the Church that was "too strict" and many of other things. Of course, it is targeted and this made the hole even bigger and disastrous.
My version of being a young woman who is Catholic is not the definition of what the Church made happen. Jesus still is working through my faith, still making beauty to help mend what has been revealed. Being Catholic to me is not protecting priest who sexually abused innocent human beings and the Archdiocese covering it up. As a young woman who is Catholic, I know that through this the best thing we need is to come together and pray for all that has happened and is continuing to happen. Being Catholic in this time is like going to a battle and having a million reasons of hurtful words and or questions of why being thrown at you at once.
I will continue to be Catholic because it's made such a huge positive impact on my life.