Recovering Catholic: How to be Catholic without being Roman Catholic

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This general crisis was foretold by a surprising prophet. In , a priest named Joseph Ratzinger made a startling prophecy on German radio. Four years after the end of the Second Vatican Council, he predicted that the Catholic Church was at the beginning of a great and wide-ranging catastrophe, one that would destroy its wealth, power and status.

Father Ratzinger did not mention clerical sex abuse per se, but his remarks indicate a recognition that contrary to the official post-conciliar optimism, the church would not survive in its then-current state the cultural revolution shaking Western civilization. This is a challenge and a counsel of hope not just for the Catholic Church of our time, but for all churches, and all Christians. None of us can afford to be proud and complacent. Many of the old verities are tumbling down, like scales falling from our eyes.

As painful as it may be, it is far better to see the painful truth than to avert our gaze from things that disturb our false peace.

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This crisis is systemic and will not be resolved by new policies and procedures, as the hapless episcopal bureaucrats want to think. Pope Francis is not going to swoop in to save the Catholic Church, and heaven knows that by now, the bishops cannot be relied on to reform and restore the church. If the church is to be rescued, it will have to happen in the everyday lives of the faithful, no longer deceived by illusions or false promises of faithless shepherds.

I think the Catholic laity should raise hell.

Recovering Catholic

Sending angry tweets about how all these bad priests and bishops deserve millstones is not enough. Still, as you act, never forget that a faith that endures is not forged on a protest line, or in institutional reformation. It is as it always has been: in the prayerful, sacrificial habits of daily life. I left the Catholic Church, but I still had to figure out a way to keep myself and my children Christian. How often do we receive honest, straightforward direction from a cleric whose credentials support his lineage of Apostolic Succession, who calls himself a recovering Catholic, and who refuses to proselytize?

Rather than consider this book an indictment, readers must recognize it for what is was intended to achieve: protection and encouragement for everyone who has suffered the dogma.

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Straight or gay, divorced or married, liberal or conservative, there is a place for you in the Christian world, a place where you will not be judged, provoked, humiliated, or even banned. This book is about finding your path and following it to a joyful and fulfilling life. Get A Copy.

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For years, Vatican officials dismissed the sexual-abuse crisis as an embarrassing American problem. More recently, he issued a controversial letter that blamed the sexual-abuse crisis on the sexual revolution and s-era reforms in the Church. Francis, too, has struggled to comprehend the magnitude of the crisis. Early into his papacy, he convened a special Vatican commission on the abuse of minors, but the body failed to execute any meaningful reforms ; two sexual-abuse survivors who served on the commission eventually abandoned it in frustration.

Less than 18 months ago, Francis was embroiled in a scandal of his own making, after he lashed out at survivors who had brought allegations of a cover-up against a Chilean bishop. After apologizing for his comments, the pope met with Chilean abuse survivors to hear their stories.

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Since then, horror stories of Catholic sexual abuse have kept coming, including the case of an Indian bishop who allegedly raped a nun repeatedly over a two-year period and the criminal conviction of a top Australian cardinal, George Pell, for molesting two choirboys decades ago. The new motu proprio does not erase these crimes, or necessarily stop them from taking place in the future. It does, however, establish explicit measures holding bishops accountable for reporting crimes, and sets the expectation that Catholic officials worldwide will address allegations quickly and transparently, including by informing victims about the outcome of investigations.

This is the greatest cultural shift in the Church: Where Catholic leaders once sought to cover up abuse in a dangerously misguided attempt to protect the Church, the pope himself has now demanded the opposite. What the motu proprio does not do is establish mechanisms for reporting abuse allegations outside of the Catholic hierarchy.

The law nods to the possible contributions of lay people in investigations, but does not require their involvement. It acknowledges that various countries may require Catholic leaders to report abuse allegations to civil authorities, but does not state that this is required. This winter, Catholic leaders in countries with hostile governments to the Church, including many in the global South, expressed worry that sexual-abuse allegations would be used as a weapon against them.