One Catholic's apology

I am completely appalled by the recent lifting of excommunication from four members of the Society of St. Pius.

Those of you who have read here for any length of time know that I'm Catholic. I've struggled with my faith throughout my life, having left at intermittent times and having also considered joining other faiths. But I come back because the theology of my Church continues to feed my soul deep down in a way that other faiths haven't. I also continue to see a potential for good that has been perverted by the Church's powerful, and believe (or at least have convinced myself) that good will ultimately triumph.

Of course, it's possible, too, the Church has worked its charm on me, and the real reason I stay is guilt. But I honestly don't think so.

I was given another faith mountain to climb this week by the news about the lifting of the St. Pius excommunications. One of those reinstated, Richard Williamson, is particularly onerous: he has denied the Holocaust. And that puts him outside the most basic tenet of the faith I hold dear: Truth.

There has been informal outrage from many Catholic quarters, but I could find nothing (and didn't expect to) acknowledging the action on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' website. There's plenty of dialog in Catholic forums, but it's all over the map. It frightens me to imagine how many people in my Church, which suddenly isn't feeling so "my" anymore, seem to approve of this mind-boggling move.

I don't know where this latest challenge will lead me. I do know that with every similar act made public, the power the Church has had over me diminishes, making it possible for me to chart my own course within the maze of Catholic dogma. Of course, in the eyes of many Catholics, this attitude means I'm no Catholic at all, but so be it.

I don't know if the apology of one Catholic for the behavior of an monolithic church means anything at all, but I must say this:

To my Jewish friends, I offer the deepest apology possible for this action by Pope Benedict, for the approval so many Catholics have given it, and for the silence of many others in the face of this outrage. It is an affront to your suffering and to your faith. I am deeply sorry that my Church has caused this pain to you.


abebech said…
I liked this statement: "The excommunication can be lifted because he is not a heretic, but he remains a liar."

This decision is disturbing, not only because of the reinstatement of a Holocaust denier but also because of the very conservatism and politicking of bringing the sect back to the Catholic fold.

Some of my Catholic family members, too, are finding it harder and harder to be Catholic. There's always the Episcopal Church (though we're in the middle of our own civil war).

The Church: making Christianity look bad for millenia.
octomama said…

My own issues with the church are coming to light more and more as I try to share that faith with my daughter. I never realized how I had adapted/rationalized Catholicism into something I could live with. There are many times when I wonder if I am Catholic in a true sense or if I am Catholic more out of habit and love of my own liberal/rogue parish.

You are so right, it is another faith mountain to climb. And I laughed out loud at abebech's closing comment -- too true!
a Tonggu Momma said…
As a recovering Catholic (brought up in the faith, but living with a different faith now), I cringe yet again.
blackbelt said…
Thank you for this yet again, very thoughtful post (and apology.)

I think your apology extends beyond Jews because it is about Truth, and someone's (individual or corporate) ability, willingness and acceptance of revisionism. Apartheid? Nanking? Korea's forced occupation? Jim Crow? . . . then onto the Resurrection? the Virgin birth?
Roberta said…
For the past 40 years, I've watched the Church make a few stunning leaps into the future only to backtrack over old familiar ground time and time again. But I do know this ... the main mission of a large bureacracy is to protect itself. Everything else comes secondary.

The Church, in this regard, is no different than any other large enterprise. It will protect its own first.

My husband grew up Boston Catholic but emotionally 'retired' from the Church in his teens. He couldn't take the hypocrisy then or now.
MB said…
I agree! How sad! I feel so badly and hope there is more coming. There are many truths contained in Catholicism. I always try to remind myself, God is perfect but, we as people, mess up quite a bit!

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