We ask all returning members to pay dues for Please submit the attached roster card to join or update your information if renewing. Dues may be paid either with a check forwarded to Steve Grobbel, or via PayPal on this website. Congratulations to Our Scholarship Winner:
Since his sensational interview last week, many have said that with his personal warmth and determination to put doctrine in the background, Francis is just the man to bring a lot of fallen-away Catholics back into the church. Just over two decades ago, when I began the process to enter the Roman Catholic Church as an adult convert, I chose to receive instruction at a university parish, figuring that the quality of teaching would be more rigorous.
After three months of guided meditations and endless God is love lectures, I dropped out. Besides, I had spent four years dancing around the possibility of returning to the Christianity of my youth.
When I made my first steps back to churchgoing as an adult, I found plenty of good people who told me God is love but who never challenged me to change my life. My own brokenness was plain to me, and I was ready to turn from my destructive sins and become a new person.
I knew, though, that without fully giving over my will to God, any conversion would be precarious. By then, I was all too wary of my evasions. It dawned on me one day that at the end of this process, all of us in the class would end up as Catholics but have no idea what the Catholic Church taught.
I bolted, and a year later, I was received into the church in another parish. If you know about the Catholic Church only from reading the papers, you are in for a shock once you come inside. The image of American Catholicism shown by the media is of a church preoccupied with sex and abortion.
I was a faithful Mass-going Catholic for 13 years, attending a number of parishes in five cities in different parts of the country. I could count on one hand the number of homilies I heard that addressed abortion or sexuality in any way.
Rather, the homilies were wholly therapeutic, almost always some saccharine variation of God is love. Well, yes, He is, but Sunday School simplicities get you only so far. I knew the depths of the sins from which I was being delivered, and it felt wrong to treat His amazing grace like it was a common courtesy.
The stereotypical idea of the Catholic Church as a sin-obsessed, legalistic hothouse surely came from somewhere. But for Catholics like me, born in the late s, this cramped and miserable picture of the church may as well have come from antiquity. A fierce spirit of the age blasted through those newly-opened windows, scouring nearly everything in its path.
The coming decades would see a collapse in Catholic catechesis and Catholic discipline.
Inwhen the clerical-sex-abuse scandal broke nationwide, the full extent of the rot within the church became manifest. Many American bishops deployed the priceless Christian language of love and forgiveness in an effort to cover their own foul nakedness in a cloak of cheap grace.
All this put the moral unseriousness of the American church in a certain light. As the scandal raged, one Ash Wednesday, I attended Mass at my comfortable suburban parish and heard the priest deliver a sermon describing Lent as a time when we should all come to love ourselves more. If I had to pinpoint a single moment at which I ceased to be a Roman Catholic, it would have been that one.
I fought for two more years to hold on, thinking that having the syllogisms from my catechism straight in my head would help me stand firm. But it was useless. By then I was a father, and I did not want to raise my children in a church where sentimentality and self-satisfaction were the point of the Christian life.
They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.
Rather, it had become a pushover. Losing my Catholic faith was the most painful thing that ever happened to me.
Today, as much as I admire Pope Francis and understand the enthusiasm among Catholics for him, his interview makes me realize that the good, if incomplete, work that John Paul II and Benedict XVI did to restore the church after the violence of the revolution stands to be undone.
Though I agree with nearly everything the Pope said last week in his interview and cheer inwardly when he chastises rigorist knotheads who would deny the healing medicine of the church to anyone, I fear his merciful words will be received not as love but license.
There is, of course, no such thing as the perfect church, but in Orthodoxy, which radically resists the moralistic therapeutic deism that characterizes so much American Christianity, I found a soul-healing balance.
In my Russian Orthodox country mission parish this past Sunday, the priest preached about love, joy, repentance and forgiveness — in all its dimensions. Addressing parents in the congregation, he exhorted us to be merciful, kind and forgiving toward our children.
But he also warned against thinking of love as giving our children what they want as opposed to what they need.Archbishop Richard Smith commits to listening to victims of clergy sex abuse and preventing abuse in future. Our Mission Statement. To make known the treasures of Catholicism within the context of a Western culture that is in the process of rejecting the Faith responsible for its greatness.
James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America and author. How should the Catholic Church minister to those who feel excluded? That is one of the questions being taken up by the.
The Roman Catholic Church is ruled by the Pope in Vatican City, Rome.
He rules over all Catholic Churches in the world and many Catholics make it their life-long dream to visit Vatican City one day and to attend Mass with the Pope. The origin of this Christian denomination leads all the way back to apostolic times.
By accepting this message, you will be leaving the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This link is provided solely for the user's convenience. Rev. Richard Potts, r-bridal.com, Pastor. We are a Redemptorist Parish, practicing Catholicism in the African American tradition.
Our historic church features fabulous Old World architecture, beautiful stained glass, incredible stone and marble work, and one of four surviving pipe organs of its kind in the country.