As a Catholic, I find it harder and harder to justify some of the Church’s stances on certain things, and as a result, I find myself pushing away. The “Dear Padre” column in the May-June issue, “The Catholic Position on Holy Communion,” has just about given me the final shove. I fully understand how the Church’s essence is founded on the holy sacraments, and traditions can be very beautiful. But the Catholic Church, along with others, has become extremely shortsighted and exclusive in its view of the rest of the Christian community—in short, they appear to be in a rut.
Churches are man’s creation, a way for laying ground rules for the people, similar to how roads are built to help us on a journey. But even a road that appears strong and well-built will eventually show its weaknesses. When this happens in the Church, the Church hits a rut, or a part of the road crumbles into an abyss. The Church can either get stuck in that rut with a flat tire and a revving engine, going nowhere, or it can work on the underlying problems (weaknesses).
First, it needs to assess the damage. In response, it can choose to either ignore the weaknesses, leaving the rut for others to stumble on; put up a sign saying, “beware of rut,” allowing travelers the option to go around; or the Church can tear out the existing weaknesses and remake the road into something truly reliable: A gentler and more beautiful path to God.
I think that sometimes churches are so caught up in the dogma that has led them to each particular point in their history that they forget the original, inclusive message Jesus gave to begin with. His message was simple: Allow ourselves to absorb and reflect certain qualities, like love, empathy, compassion, humility, forgiveness, friendship, gratitude, and so on. Those characteristics bring us together and are held strong with God’s grace. Therein lies salvation! Therein lies God! It’s with the utmost gratitude in these qualities and their place in the world around us that we find the pure and utter joy that is God! After all, gratitude is essentially one and the same with happiness. And what better way to gift God. So much still needs to be learned in this world. No need to short ourselves.
Lisa H., CO