What’s the point of still being Catholic?

If you want to skip this post and go straight to the survey, here it is! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TGFLFZX

I’ve been doing lots of thinking lately, and some reading too.

The first couple of weeks of the year 2018 I spent in East Timor (as one does). It’s a beautiful place in many ways, but not necessarily the best choice as a tourist destination.

So, I had lots of time to read books.

Among them were Why I am Catholic by Brandon Vogt; A Tempest-Tossed Church by Gerard Windsor; Our Fathers, by Chris McGillion; Beneath the Cassock by Joy Carroll; One Ordinary Sunday by Paula Huston; Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren; and Benedict, Me and the Cardinals Three by Bill Morris. I have limited interests obviously.

Much of this reading was research for a new book I am writing about the point of staying Catholic in a broken church. I have a working title for the book which is “All of the beautiful things”, but there are certainly moments when I do see ugly things in this Church. Nonetheless, I think that there is a point to remaining and rebuilding, and I more often than not find transcendent beauty in this Church. I’m not naive though. We have issues.

What I consider issues however may be different however to what others see as problematic, so I want to hear from you.

After the Royal Commission handed down its report on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, it is fair to say that members of the church are reeling. Perhaps many of us have known deep down what the Royal Commission would find for years, others are shocked at the levels of cover-up. These are harrowing times.

The other day I read in the newspaper that a former parish priest of mine has been removed from ministry. Known for his work with the poor, there is an utter paradox to it all. The Church has many such examples like this, and it is troubling indeed.

Some feel a need to don sackcloth and ashes or want to see the hierarchy doing the same.

The Australian bishops have called for prayer and fasting during Lent for reparation for the Church. I don’t know what the reaction has been from the general public, but I know in my school staffroom that people were annoyed by the irony of this coming from the bishops. Respectfully, I don’t know that they are the ones who should be exhorting us to do this, but I’m willing to talk about it. There’s much value in prayer and fasting of course.

Anyway – my point, and I do have one:

I want to hear from you about whether or not you think there is still beauty in Catholicism. You can tell me what you think by completing this quick survey! It’s anonymous, and I would love to hear from you.


Meanwhile, I will leave you with a quote from Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP.

Going to mass does not mean that we shall be filled with warm feelings for other members of the congregation. Probably not! But it does imply a gradual transformation of who I am – “I and no longer I” – discovering God and myself in the stranger, and God in the core of my being … The slow working of grace will free me to be sent at the end. Why go to Church? To be sent from it. – Timothy Radcliffe OP.

Here’s that link again.


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