Conversation Corner
God In Our Midst (Finding Our Way Home--March 2003)

Talk about a time when you or someone in your family was lost.


Date: 3/28/2003 6:13:06 PM
Name or Pseudonym: Anne
Subject: Why be Catholic

DLL, I have been grappling with the same thing. I have not given any money to the Catholic church for more than a year, and send it instead directly to groups who are doing God’s work (many of which receive money from the Cardinal’s appeal, but are able to take donations directly, without it passing through the Cardinal’s office and without the diocese removing any of it). Many are not officially related to the Catholic church but are caring for the poor, the homeless, etc. and are open and transparent about their finances (unlike most dioceses etc). Their leaders and workers generally live very simply. Once I turn it over to the church, or the Cardinal or whomever, I have zero control and they have no accountability to the laity who support the church. It had hit me, that as a lay person with NO say about anything in the Catholic Church ("pray, pay and obey")I was really like an "enabler" - blindly supporting a dysfunctional hierarchy which has no respect for the laity, and seems more concerned with financing and protecting the institution itself, including abusive clergy, than being genuine pastors. Some say that this means I have lost my "faith". I have not lost my faith - my faith is in God, not in the human institution called the Roman Catholic Church. As long as the laity continue to support the church financially without demanding a voice in how the church is run, without demanding openness and financial accountability, without demanding that the lay members of the boards that are supposed to be advising Bishops on sexual abuse actually have some power, not just an "advisory" role, there will be no changes. I am very upset when I see the hierarchy in their "princely" robes, living in mansions, attended by servants, driven in limousines, stocking their living quarters with the finest in oriental rugs, art, and wine (for example, read about Bishop Murphy in Long Island, formerly of Boston and just as involved in the scandal there as Cardinal Law. He spent millions renovating and furnishing his new living quarters there.). They are CEOs, and, unfortunately, like the CEOs in corporate America, too many seem more concerned with their own power and privilege and perks than anything else. So, I do my research, and send the donations directly to those whom I trust to use the money well. Perhaps the official Church can earn back the trust it has lost someday, although there does not seem to be a fundamental change in the way the Church "does business". It’s pretty much the way it was before all the scandals hit the news.

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