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Faith in a difficult time

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#1 Moukmouk

Posted 03 March 2019 - 04:14 PM

I thought I would start a thread in here after the Pell verdict. In the other threads people are very vocally demanding that all Catholics just leave the church. Abandon their faith. That they have been “brainwashed”. As a person of faith, I’m finding it a very difficult time at the moment. The letter from the beautiful Bishop Vincent of Parramatta has given me some comfort.
And I have joined a group pushing for stronger female leadership in the church. I don’t want to argue in the other threads. It is hurtful to victims and people who rightly  feel betrayed and horrified. Actually I don’t want to argue at all. Just trying to get my head around it all.

Edited by Moukmouk, 03 March 2019 - 04:20 PM.

#2 ~Jolly_F~

Posted 03 March 2019 - 04:38 PM

It’s ok to feel as you do mouk...

It’s ok to be unsure of what to do or where to go.

No one can tell you how to move forward with your feelings and no one has the right to make you feel bad about how you are feeling.

#3 Datrys

Posted 03 March 2019 - 04:56 PM

It is a difficult time.  As I prepared to take services this morning, as I stood up to preach, I did have the thought in the back of my head, "What if EB is right, and I should walk away, hand in my resignation, leave the blind to lead the blind and good luck to them?"  (That last not unrelated to this morning's gospel reading!)

But where I've come to after wrestling with it all week is that I can do more good from the inside than the outside.  If I leave, I relinquish all ability to make any positive difference.  If I stay, I can care for and help people personally, as well as be part of systemic change.  That's worth staying for.

Why should we abandon the church to the monsters and power-worshippers, rather than trying to reclaim it for what it's supposed to be?

That's my answer, today.  It doesn't have to be anybody else's answer.

#4 Seven of Nine

Posted 03 March 2019 - 04:57 PM

I am not wringing my hands, I am active in my parish ensuring the safety of the children in our area. From what I've read, so are the other posters.

Moukmouk, I feel for you. I get it. These bastards who abused children and then covered it up have hurt children, their families, their friends, and ultimately betrayed the rest of us too. I don't put my emotional pain in the same basket as an abuse survivor, not even close, and I'm sure you don't either. But it is pain nonetheless.

Edited by lucky 2, 03 March 2019 - 05:36 PM.

#5 red_squirrel

Posted 03 March 2019 - 05:40 PM

The way I look at is, other religions (more than one) have had problems in recent years where one or several people have committed horrific acts.
Do all the millions of followers of those religions abandon it? Of course not. They work to strengthen their communities. And be mindful of those that are appearing to stray.

If all the good people leave then the religion collapses. But that is what some outsiders push for because they don’t like the existence of organised religions at all and look for any way to cause their demise.

More people are returning to the Catholic faith in recent years particularly in central and Eastern Europe. Good people can enact positive change. Strong communities also.

#6 lucky 2

Posted 03 March 2019 - 05:42 PM


I have edited one post and removed others to allow this thread to progress as the OP has requested.
This forum is moderated to keep it a reasonably safe space for members to discuss matters relating to faith and religion.

Kind regards,

lucky 2

Eta I meant to include a thankyou to those who asked for this thread to be reviewed :)

#7 luke's mummu

Posted 03 March 2019 - 06:37 PM

An employee of my local YMCA was charged with the sexual abuse of several children he met thru his employment. A local scoutmaster was also charged with historic sexual offences against several boys in his charge. Both horrific crimes. Would I still use these services? Yes, but very cautiously.
A friend who works in child protection said the YMCA now has the most comprehensive child protection policies and training in the area because they poured money into it after this one offence. She said she would have no hesitation if she needed to use that type of service for her daughter

#8 lizzzard

Posted 03 March 2019 - 06:38 PM

I really feel for my Catholic brothers and sisters. I am Anglican, and don’t really understand the Catholic religion. My DH was raised Catholic, attending Catholic schools and church every week. But we got married in an Anglican Church and the kids were christened Anglican because I just don’t feel comfortable with the Catholic religion. Luckily for me, DH was far less attached to Catholicism than I was to Anglicanism... it would have been really hard otherwise. So even though my logical brain says the most important thing is our relationship with God, and the human ‘structures’ of religion shouldn’t matter, I think it’s a complex issue. From my limited knowledge I also think Catholics might also believe their relationship with God is mediated to some extent by the church? I’m not sure...but if that is the case, then I can see that just relinquishing one’s Catholicism is almost impossible. What an incredibly hard position to be in :(

#9 JBH

Posted 03 March 2019 - 06:51 PM

I’m not religious, but I heard a woman on the radio last week who said she continues to go to mass, but donates to an abuse victims’ charity and places a note in the collection plate each week noting that she has done so in lieu of providing to the church. She acknowledged it is imperfect,  it said it made her feel a bit better than doing nothing.

#10 robhat

Posted 03 March 2019 - 07:39 PM

I understand.

I'm not Catholic, I'm a Christian though who does not identify with any particular denomination, but I currently attend an Anglican church. It's hard because I spend half my time wanting to strangle half the people I go to church with! I have not lost one bit of faith in my God, but the church is hard to love at times and sometimes I am certain it is not worthy of love.

From what I understand in the Bible though, God thinks differently. God loves the church and chooses to redeem it. I have no flipping idea how this works most of the time, but I plod through each day trusting that God knows what he is doing, and like others have said, determined to stay and help build something better.

Not very long ago I watched a documentary series called "For the Love of God: How the Church is better and worse than you ever imagined". It's very informative and I found it somewhat helpful. I recommend it! You may also like to look up a group called 'Fixing her Eyes' they have a website and Facebook page which is full of refreshing articles that tackle issues that normal Sunday church won't touch, like domestic violence and abuse. They are mostly protestant I think, so I'm not sure how Catholics might relate to some topics, but I say give it a go and take what is useful to you.

#11 Moukmouk

Posted 03 March 2019 - 07:52 PM

I think people outside the church just don’t quite get how intrinsic faith is to someone’s sense of self. Even people who are ambivalent about their faith can still feel quite strongly culturally catholic.
I don’t get on very well with my parish priest. He thinks I’m one of “those” feminists. He doesn’t know the half of it. The bulk of my inspiration in the church has come from strong, defiant women. I know one of the nuns who first worked with AIDS patients in the st Vincent’s hospice. And one of the priests who was a chaplain there. This was when no one wants to touch a patient with hiv. Even the doctors. It seems that any good that the church has done is been dismissed as corrupt and evil because of the “institution “.

#12 Vicbitt9

Posted 03 March 2019 - 08:15 PM

Thank you for starting this thread Moukmouk - I haven’t actually read much of anything else especially as the NYT and WP that I have meant that I knew about the conviction months ago.
I have always had a struggle with organised religion in general (grew up Anglican) because the hypocrisy, intolerance, judgement and lack of Christian actions really annoyed me.
My husband is Catholic so we married in the Catholic Church, he cared very deeply about this. He is hurting about these further ongoing revelations to his very core - as mentioned above a religious identity can be as much a part of you as your name (in that it feels intrinsic and as though it has always been).
The only thing I’ve said to him that helped a bit
Was Maya Angelou’s quote “when we know better, we do better”.
It sounds like many church communities and the individuals associated with them have already managed to absorb this message - almost as though the love of God can lead even the least faithful of us towards the ability to appreciate these people for their attempts at the continual betterment of their community and society as a whole.
Thank you to each and every one of you.

#13 TrixieBelden

Posted 04 March 2019 - 06:32 AM

I think you’ll find that’s not news to Catholics. The people who burnt Catholics were from other Christian denominations. The Freemasons are from other Christian denominations. Pentecostals hold some of the most bigoted views about Catholics - and are not averse to a bit of greed themselves. One of most sick interpretations of the bible in history is the ‘prosperity gospel’.

#14 ~Jolly_F~

Posted 04 March 2019 - 07:23 AM

Seriously what is it that makes people unable to stay out of this thread, which is meant to be a safe space.

You have several other threads you can say whatever you please about religion in.

Edited by ~J_F~, 04 March 2019 - 07:37 AM.

#15 Moukmouk

Posted 04 March 2019 - 09:20 AM

View Post~J_F~, on 04 March 2019 - 07:23 AM, said:

Seriously what is it that makes people unable to stay out of this thread, which is meant to be a safe space.

You have several other threads you can say whatever you please about religion in.

This. Thanks J-F. There just seems to be a level of vitriol against catholics that doesn't seem to be thrown at other religions. Our local dance school was the subject of an horrendous child sexual abuse case. The perpetrator is in jail now for a long time. I knew his wife. Yet no one say never send your child to a dance school again. An old friend of mine was abused by a teacher at (public) school. She was broken by the fight to even get recognition of the abuse, let alone justice and compensation. Child abuse is horrible, revolting... I can't think of the right words. I have spent a large part of my career involved in some aspects of child protection.
A big part of been able to cope with that was my faith. The belief that it was worth fighting for, fronting up to court as an expert witness to recount horrible injuries, was that somewhere somehow it would help people.

Edited by lucky 2, 04 March 2019 - 10:05 AM.
Edited response to removed content

#16 lucky 2

Posted 04 March 2019 - 10:36 AM

Hello again,

I have removed a few more posts to allow this thread to remain on track and respect the intent of this thread in this particular sub-forum.

Such topics, posted anywhere on the boards, may trigger powerful responses in many members.

This thread title is "Faith in a difficult time" and is posted in the Faith/Spirituality forum.
I ask that members keep this thread safe for members to share their thoughts and feelings about the topic.
Currently there are threads in the General Sections of the EB Forum were a wider range of views and passionate argument is more suited.

Kind regards,

lucky 2

#17 MooGuru

Posted 04 March 2019 - 11:34 AM

I'm agnostic so whilst I don't get the inherent faith I do genuinely feel for people struggling with how to marry their identity and religious culture with the horrific truth of the abuse and how widespread it has been and the response to it.

Eta - not sure why I posted. I guess to say I hear you when you say you're confused and hurt and my anger at an institution that allowed this to happen doesn't negate your feelings.

Edited by MooGuru, 04 March 2019 - 11:36 AM.

#18 RichardParker

Posted 04 March 2019 - 06:27 PM

I’m struggling to put my feelings into words, at the moment.  It’s odd being told by people who aren’t religious and never go to Church how to just reframe this whole thing to enable me to walk away. Or that holding a placard or agitating on social media will sort the issue. The Chirch is a 2000 year-old, international network of people, institutions and physical spaces, with orders and groups that have formed, mixed and pulled apart like clouds in the sky. It’s modus operandi is everything from quiet, private conversations in closed rooms, to international, televised events.

I’ve been kept up at night thinking of who to write to and what to say. I’m still connected to many people from the Traditional Catholic community, but know that many of them view the whole trial as a clear miscarriage of justice.  Whereas the school mums at drop-off seem to see it as just part and parcel of the power and politics that’s as always played itself out in places far removed from the ordinary faithful’s rhythm of life in the Church calendar.

At the moment, I feel like Emma Thomson in Love Actually, when she confronts her her husband for having an affair- he’s made of fool of himself. But he’s made a fool of her as well and made the life she leads seem foolish.  I’ve defended the faith for years - never the clergy or the hierarchy - I’ve always maintained that they are fallible men with corruptible and corrupt hearts. But this is ridiculous.

#19 Datrys

Posted 04 March 2019 - 07:13 PM

Part of my difficulty is that the culture as I encounter it, and as it's perceived by those outside the church, really don't line up exactly.

People outside seem to think that we have a culture of cover up still; in my experience we have a culture where it's drilled into us to report, report, report, and if in doubt, report.  Do not go to the bishop, do not stop to second guess; report.  Every single time I've had anything to do with anything reportable it's been handled seriously and action taken.  (Even the time when the offences had taken place overseas and had nothing to do with the church, I had church assistance to find the right authorities etc).

I've seen up close that we still have a lot of work to do to get things right once reports are made.  But I really do think that we've come a long way since the days when, as long as you could talk about cricket with the right people, you'd be protected.

So I feel some cognitive dissonance when people make claims that the institution still covers up and protects abusers, because what I've personally seen is the exact opposite.  huge amounts of resources and energy have gone into prevention and professional standards training.  I feel like we've come a long way and the momentum is in the right direction, and that there is genuine desire to continue to improve.  (In my experience, in fact, the lag is often when you encounter older volunteers who resent having to change "the way we've always done it," not realising or understanding why prevention policies need to be the way they are).

I think the next big thing is to focus on what happens after reporting; to realise that that's the beginning, and not the end, of where our responsibility lies.  But I'm confident that we have the capacity to do that better too.

#20 Seven of Nine

Posted 04 March 2019 - 08:06 PM

That Emma Thomson analogy is a good one RichardParker.

I would really like to give a few bishops, archbishops and (ahem) the pope a good dressing down about their behaviour. So many Catholic women are strong, outspoken, no nonsense women. I wonder what the mothers of these gutless wonders would say to them.

I've been thinking about "what I can do" too. And not for the first time. The abuse and the total mismanagement by the church has been in the press for my entire adult life. I do my best. Whatever each of us does, it needs to be effective in meeting a clear goal. It's not about pleasing people. I'm working on the confessional issue in my parish. No one outside my parish is going to know or care, but it will make things safer.

#21 somila

Posted 04 March 2019 - 08:13 PM

Some links from a couple of (non-Catholic) sources which might be helpful.  

This one pretty much sums up why disgusted denial of abuse doesn't mean the denier is innocent.  (It is not directly related to the Pell trial, just talks about the psychology of denial.)

An alternative way to deal with concerns about the way clergy interact with children:

Yesterday's Sunday sermon from the same person:
If we’re ever tempted to congratulate ourselves on ‘only’ having 102 claims of child sexual abuse over our history, we need to remember that the abuse of a single child in a Uniting Church institution is one too many.

ETA Lots of Catholic voices on Q and A.  Recommended viewing.

Edited by somila, 05 March 2019 - 06:43 AM.

#22 RichardParker

Posted 05 March 2019 - 01:47 PM

A friend sent me a link the Plenary Council website - it's happening in 2020 - the first one since 1937 - seems like it will be a doozy.

There is a facility for putting forward your views - either as individuals or groups.


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