​No, I'm Not Proud Of The Catholic Church Right Now, But I Am Still Proud To Be A Catholic​

​No, I'm Not Proud Of The Catholic Church Right Now, But I Am Still Proud To Be A Catholic​

Sexual abuse from Catholic Church leaders have left many shocked and appalled.


For years now, we've seen the headlines. Constantly new details have been released regarding sexual scandal and abuse innately intertwined with the very structure of the Catholic Church in the United States and around the world. Most recently, we have been made aware of some of the very most egregious of these abuses, coming from Pittsburgh. The world has been shocked and horrified by the horrible atrocities of abuse against children and other members of the laity.

These atrocities impacted children. Perhaps most of all.

I'm what you might call a "cradle Catholic". My parents grew up in a predominantly Catholic town and met at a Catholic high school (aptly and affectionately called, "Catholic High"). My grandparents met at that same high school a couple decades earlier. One of my earliest memories is kneeling around my brother's bed praying the Our Father with my family, and saying the special prayer we said for our family. My First Communion was almost certainly the highlight of my elementary school career. Throughout high school, I altar served at least one Sunday per month, and was a part of the altar serving team our priest affectionately dubbed "the dream team". We did a lot of funerals, because we were very well put together. Its always been a part of my life, and a very significant one at that.

These atrocities impacted children.

I teach Sunday School for K-8 students at the Newman Center here on campus. I do not really know how to face these kids. I grew up very sure that my priest was somebody I could trust, right up there with my fourth grade teacher and my gymnastics coach. My priest knew me, I knew him, and he loved me in a completely appropriate, let the little children come to me way. The priests at the Newman Center Parish are wonderful, and certainly reflect my childhood experiences with priests. But these kids aren't dumb; these kids are seeing these headlines, and they're hearing the news. These kids know that this happened, that the Church hasn't dealt with it strongly enough, and that it affected kids just like them. So how do I answer their questions?

I am a lifelong member of a Church that seems to have forgotten the children it is meant to serve. I do not know how to explain to them why that is, because I myself do not truly know. I prefer to believe that it's all just a simple matter of corruption, of human nature getting the best of people who should be trustworthy. But that's far too simple an explanation, and it does not go anywhere near far enough to make me feel comfortable with what has happened.

In Pope Francis' letter to the 1.2 billion Catholics dotting the globe, he addresses all of the points I'm making. But it is still hard to reconcile where the Church has been (and even where it is in some cases) with where it is going. I am not proud of the way in which these issues have been handled, and I am not proud of the Catholic Church right now. It is a hard time to be Catholic.

That being said, I remain proud to be one. I do not condone, but rather condemn, the egregious and revolting actions of priests and the bishops who defended them. I am proud, however, to see that our pope also condemns these actions, and that he places his hope in the laity, those with the power to answer the questions, to keep the children safe. I'm proud to be one of the people helping to teach the children positive interaction with faith and faith communities. This means showing children what a normal interaction with a leader should look like. This means teaching children about the intended role of a priest. This means, most of all, holding leaders accountable.

Authority does not warrant abuse thereof. It should not ever have warranted abuse. If the Church is unable to hold itself accountable, the laity must be able to do so.

I am proud to be part of a community set on effecting real change in the Church, so that I, along with so many others, can finally be proud of the Catholic Church in addition to being proud of being a Catholic.

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.

Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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By Using God To Justify Hate, Christians Are Giving Christianity A Bad Name

I've seen people ask why young adults are straying away from Christianity, and in my opinion, it has to do with the lack of acceptance in the church.


I grew up in Alabama, so it's no surprise that I grew up in church. I was saved, or baptized, at a young age. I grew up going to church camp, going on mission trips and participating in church activities, such as Thanksgiving lunches and Christmas plays.

As I grew up, I became interested in politics. I began watching public officials, most of whom claim they are Christians, build their platforms by turning down the rights of those in the LGBTQ community, helping the rich get richer, saying Christianity is the only correct religion and wanting to take away healthcare from those who cannot afford it.

The more I noticed these public officials saying things like this, the more I noticed that people who went to church agreed with them. This upset me.

What I was taught about Christianity was that God accepts everyone — no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, social status or economic status. He accepts all.

What I was hearing from churchgoers and those who claimed to be Christians was the exact opposite.

I faced an internal conflict, deciding whether or not I wanted to go to church anymore, much less be a Christian. I didn't want to be labeled as someone who does not accept people for who they are. That's not the person I am.

I didn't want people to think that, if they're in the LGBTQ community, I thought they were going to Hell. I didn't want people to think that, if someone was poor, I thought they did something in life to cause that. I didn't want those of other faiths to think their religion was not valid. I didn't want people who were physically or mentally sick to think I didn't want them to receive help.

So for the past few years, whenever someone asked me if I believed in God, I told them yes, but that I didn't believe in organized religion.

It may come as a shock to some Southerners when I say you don't have to actively be in a church to believe in God. My dad always taught me that you have to sometimes separate God from church. I never fully understood what that meant until I was in that situation.

According to pewforum.org, 66 percent of college graduates surveyed consider themselves Christians, and 25 percent said they do not have a religious affiliation.

I've seen people ask why young adults are straying away from Christianity, and in my opinion, it has to do with the lack of acceptance in the church.

I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state. I believe that in church, you can be taught to love someone no matter who they are and what their situation is. I believe that you can hold your own political morals.

What I don't believe in is using God's name to justify hate toward a certain group of people. And that, in my opinion, is what is giving Christianity a bad name.

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