The following is a transcript from the Raised Catholic podcast. To hear the podcast click here.
Today is episode one. Notre Dame
In April of 2019 a devastating fire hit the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It was a massive news story, maybe you remember it. And since that day, with a huge investment of resources, experts and everyday people have been helping to restore and rebuild that great landmark. They’re digging in ashes, finding old and beautiful treasures, and they’re making plans for structural changes that will make the rebuilt cathedral a safe, beautiful, and welcoming home for pilgrims and for the faithful from all around the world.
Since the fire, I’ve been thinking about the parallels between the destruction of that grand place to the devastation of the American Catholic Church in our time. The sexual abuse of children by priests, the clericalism that led to the coverup which still informs so much of the decision-making at all levels of the American Catholic Church. The politicization of priests, their influence on the recent presidential election, and the silence from some on the justice, material, and spiritual needs of the flock during the pandemic and this crazy year. It’s a lot.
Some clergy shined with the love of God among the challenges of this year but many publicly fell short. And for many cradle Catholics, this year was a kind of last straw. For some who were on the periphery of a parish and regular mass attendance, this year made it easier to separate and fall away from the church, maybe for good. And now, American churches are seeing the damage and they are facing a reckoning. But more importantly, individual people from all across America are facing a God-shaped hole, no longer trusting the Church to provide leadership or guidance in this time of real need. And without a regular faith practice, we’re wandering. Digging in ashes for something to hold onto and looking up for light.
But fire purifies, and this is true for our church as well. In the wake of ashes, there’s an opportunity to dig in, to find what’s valuable, and to use that to rebuild something better. It’s what I hope Raised Catholic will be: a space for the questioning and wandering Catholics, the ones who want relationship and encounter with a living God, but who are not sure where to find it.
In each episode, I’ll offer a brick or two toward our rebuilding process from the ground up. We’ll have a reflection, a resource, and a little action step we can take today in order to experience God both inside and outside of church walls. After all, God hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s right here with us in the mess. He is Emmanuel, guiding and moving us forward as we clean up, keep digging, and build anew.
So, I hope you’ll join me here. Since I never ever imagined doing a podcast in my lifetime, we are very literally building this together, just you and me, making space and imagining a better way to walk with God, trusting Him to lead us. We’re finding the holy ground right under our feet as we walk it out together, so wherever you are on your faith path, you are very welcome here. And for you and for everyone you love, may the blessings of Almighty God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit descend upon you today and remain with you forever.
Okay friend, thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time.