From The Blog

Why I Could Not Go Back To Catholicism

An old friend of mine recently posted the following sentence on his Facebook page: “I know this is totally not a PC thing to say, but can...

An old friend of mine recently posted the following sentence on his Facebook page: “I know this is totally not a PC thing to say, but can someone please explain to me why anyone is still Catholic?”

It’s a fair question. And my Politics Daily colleague, Melinda Henneberger, has one answer. In an honest and moving piece she wrote a few days back, Melinda tells us that she’s as put off as the next person by the current sex abuse scandal roiling the Catholic Church, as well as by the Vatican’s latest attempts to play the victim and point fingers. At the end of the day, though, Melinda is going to hang in there with this Church, because being Catholic is integral to who she is. “In the end,” she writes,”it is not about them.”

Today I’m over on talking about why I’m not convinced by this argument. I explain why – even if I were contemplating re-entering Christianity – I don’t think I could stomach becoming a Catholic right now, despite being raised in an observant Catholic family. And yes, it has everything to do with the current sex abuse scandal.

Drop on by and have a look.

Image: Pope Benedict XVI in Nazi camp in Brezinzka by miqul via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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  1. Jenny April 10, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    I’ve read your article at PD. Didn’t want to create yet another account so thought I’d comment here.

    You make valid points. The whole awful, criminal, negligent business reflects terribly on the individuals and the institution.

    It interests me, though, that you don’t mention God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit in your article. There’s a difference between belief in God and belief in an institution or hierarchy. Someone might chose to stay in the Catholic church because they are accustomed to and culturally conditioned to expression of their belief in that church. The bigger question is, will they remain Christians, whether in the Catholic church or otherwise?

    I’m heartened by talk of ground-up reform. Surely, the faithful are entitled to stay in their church, it’s those who have done wrong who should leave. The difficulty will be wresting power from those with such a stranglehold on it, so much invested in being in control.

    • delialloyd April 14, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

      Hi Jenny-I’ve been away traveling so just seeing this now. Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Do agree that many remain b/c they are used to it as a place of worship. But again one must ask: does that imply buying into the institution in which one worships? It’s an open question. I have my take. Others surely disagree. I also agree that “they” should leave but that might necessitate a rather different church than the one we have now. (e.g. bottom up reform).

  2. Helen April 11, 2010 at 3:47 am #

    Delia, you have to be kidding me when you question whether someone would want to stay with a faith that has issues and then talk about your friend liking the Church of England. The very church that replaced Catholicism in England because Henry VIII wanted a divorce!!! Talk about a soiled beginning. Also, the ‘sex scandal’ is kept alive by the press. It’s 8 years old for crying out loud. Far more public school teachers molest children every single day than priests, but the Catholic Church scandal goes on for nearly a decade? I for one believe it’s due to hostilities to Catholics to begin with. They are movers and shakers in how the United States was formed, yet they are so villified by religions who are off shoots of Catholicism. I have Jews in my family who are discussed with the constant beating of the sex scandal dead horse. All the leaders in the Catholic Church need to do is proclaim any reports or complaints of abuse to be reported to the police and then place the priest on suspension until the police finish their investigation. I guarantee you, that will level the playing field and it takes very little to put that in place.

    Enough already. Millions on millions of people are still Catholic because it’s a decent religion. Period, the end. I do not know of anyone, Jew, Catholic, Episcopalian, etc., that adheres to every single teaching of their faith. It is part of questioning your faith, is healthy, and promotes discussion and debate. Your bias is outrageous, Delia.

  3. Daryl Boylan April 23, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    Having already gone on record (on your replies-to-blog) that at bottom, I do consider religion in general a crock, I feel that was a somewhat smart-ass comment.I didn’t emphasize enough that tho’ as far as it goes, it’s honest, I don’t think it gives sufficient weight to the extremely complex historical, familial, psychological, etc., factors involved, which certainly explain the very painful & certainly disparate reactions to the present crisis of confidence in Roman Catholicism.

  4. Rebecca K May 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    I’m a subscriber and love your blog; am just getting caught up after a busy few weeks.

    While in no way minimizing the horror of abuse, I’d like to call attention to a couple important facts. First of all, the abuse rate is HIGHER among Protestant denominations. Secondly, the rate is SO much higher in schools that a child is 100 times more likely to be abused AT SCHOOL than in the Catholic Church. Yikes. And the Catholic Church is now the only one of these who has actually (finally) put a program into place to properly deal with this issue now.
    So, based on your logic, you also cannot go to any Protestant church or send your children to school, especially since these organizations do not have an effective policy of dealing with abuse now.
    Here’s a post with more about the scandal:

    And I truly hope that you will explore and evaluate Catholicism on its true teachings rather than popular opinion of it. I know you were raised Catholic, but have you truly dug in as an *adult*, and carefully examined the Church’s claims? I thought I knew what I needed to know about it after being raised and well-catechized Catholic, but I have rediscovered my faith as an adult and mom and found there is so much more. I hope you will give it that chance before deciding to accept or reject its teachings. Here is a fantastic resource, I do hope you’ll explore it:

    • delialloyd May 7, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

      thanks for this, Rebecca. I haven’t really dug in as an adult (I must confess) and am pleased to see the Church finally responding to this, albeit belatedly. I appreciate your concern and respectful way of communicating it. Best, Delia

      • Bob May 10, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

        Hello Delia,

        It’s a bit of serendipity that I had found this audio clip of Peter Kreeft’s Seven Reasons to be Catholic on the same day I found your website.

        Peter Kreeft is a philosophy professor at Boston College, and in the following link, he gives a logical outline for his reasons to be Catholic.

        Peace be with you,

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