Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When will the Catholic Church step into this century?

It’s Easter morning, and instead of pinning corsages to my children’s fancy clothes and heading to church, I’m watching my kids’ hunt Easter eggs in our yard.  My neighbors on three sides are driving off in Easter bonnets, but I left the church in my late teens.  My kids are squealing with glee and I’m thinking about my second grade CCD teacher who told my class she always saw sunbeams on Easter - no small feat, since New York Easters can be blustery, cold, and rainy.  Her name was Sandy Shoefelt and I adored her.  She loved God and wanted to share that love with us.  In second grade, I thought God and church were one in the same.  I loved them both.  But as the years passed, my relationship with my church changed.  I left the Catholic Church because their treatment of women and gays is immoral.  I never dreamed I wouldn’t be return by now.  Just as soon as the Catholic hierarchy cleaned up its act I expected to be back, teaching CCD, watching my kids receive their first communion, and the like.   

Instead, I’ve watched from afar as the church regresses even further from Christ’s teachings.   They no longer allow gay men to become priests.  They are pushing an anti-birth control agenda on the rest of the country, even on non-Catholics who work at Catholic institutions.  They are persecuting nuns who publically disagree with political agendas that hurt the poor in general and women in particular.  They’ve protected priests who rape children and let them rape again, and again, and again.  The last pope lived in luxury, dressing in ridiculously over the top designer clothes.  He revived a long-faded tradition of wearing red shoes like he was some kind of rock star. 

When he washed priests’ feet on Holy Thursday, he used a gold urn.  The priests were decked out in their finest.  This was how Benedict practiced  humility, by washing twenty-four feet that were undoubtedly manicured before he even dropped to his knees.    


So while I’m not hopeful about the new pope, who is anti-birth control and anti-gay marriage, I’m mildly interested to hear that he washed the feet of women and prisoners last week and that he lives in building with other priests instead of in the pope’s palatial quarters.  Some church officials are outraged.  Not because he washed prisoners’ feet, but because he washed women’s.  So, yes, the Catholic Church is still living in medieval times.  Witch burning times.  In this atmosphere, even small changes seem big.  Pope Francis is not going to bring me back to the fold, but I hope his actions bring shame to the cardinals who seem more interested in pomp and circumstance than in serving people in need or in saving souls.  Actually, a lot of them probably need their own souls saved.
I talked to my 73-year old father on Easter Sunday.  He was taught by nuns, who gave him a great education.  I mentioned my disgust at the Church’s stance on birth control.  My father’s reponse?  That he was equally upset that the church won’t allow women to become priests.  I shook my head in bewilderment.  Women priests?  That is so far off my radar.  I just want celibate men to stay out of the birth control debate unless they can offer something better than another baby every 12-18 months.  I want women to have control over how many children they have.  I want the church to stop saying that gays are destroying the fabric of our families.  I want the church to stop teaching that gays are sinners.  I feel like I’ve fallen out of a lifeboat and my father is calling overboard to ask me if I want a cheese or egg salad sandwich for lunch.  I can’t think about lunch.  I’m thinking about getting a life jacket.  And I want the church to throw a life preserver to the ex-Catholics they’ve driven away. 
Until then, women priests feels like such a luxury.  Okay, not a red Prada shoes kind of luxury.  Not even close.  And I have to applaud my father.  He wants it all.  I think I should be asking for it all too, instead of settling for crumbs that should already be self-evident. 

1 comment:

  1. Listen to your Father. He is right on target