Musings from an Exhausted American Catholic

Photo by Kerry Campbell

I’m Catholic, I’m sad, and I’m tired. Anyone else?

Is anyone else looking around at the state of things and just finding themselves at a loss for words and energy at the stark dichotomy between the way of Jesus and the way of many public and powerful voices in his church? 

Catholic clerics who abused their position by directing American votes from the pulpit.

Catholics who participated in and continue to defend an attempted coup, who mix religious and nationalistic imagery, who are more open by the day with their racism, their misogyny, their antisemitism, their hate.

Catholic jurists who blatantly lied in their confirmation hearings in order to bring forth a cultural revolution.

Catholics who care more about personal freedom than the well-being of their neighbor.

Catholics who have unironically made access to a proliferation of guns into a pillar of their faith.

Catholics who have abandoned the Jesus of the Gospels: kind, generous, self-sacrificial – and chosen instead a Jesus of their own creation: militaristic, brutal, punishing.

Catholics who fear-mongered over Islam for decades only to support and usher in religious rule to a country founded on the separation of church and state.

Catholic legislators who claim the mantle of pro-life but who lack compassion, policy, or plan for the hundreds of thousands of lives their laws do and will affect.

I’m tired.  How about you?  I know there are like-minded Catholics, in the pews and on the margins and some very tired clerics, who love their faith and for whom the sacraments are important and who are trying to spend their lives for others in the model of Jesus of Nazareth. For whom Catholic social teaching isn’t a toss-away line but is a lived reality.  Catholics who are out there loving their neighbor, who work hard not to judge (these days with varying levels of success). Catholics who look around at mass noticing the many friends who no longer go and understanding the many reasons why, who notice the average age of mass attendees has risen exponentially and who wonder what that means for the future of the church. Catholics who are depleted and who are listening amid all this noise for the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.

Because these Catholics know that it all depends on the Gospel and the movement of the Spirit, because if that story is true – if God became a human to teach and heal and lead and ultimately die for us, and if death is not the end because of this self-sacrificial God who knows and loves us more than we can know, then it’s all bigger than this hypocrisy and grab for power that confronts us every day in the headlines, on social media, and in our everyday lives. 

We Catholics are tired, yes, and frustrated too, but we’re not without hope because if the Gospel is true, then God is bigger than systems, the power that corrupts, and the plans of men, no matter how hopeless it may seem.

Come, Lord Jesus. Come heal your church.

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