January 24, 2014 § Leave a comment
MPR is always on in my car. I love music for long road trips, but need the dulcet voices during my rush hour commutes. As I drove home yesterday, I heard more bad news coming out of the Catholic church. Now, on top of the sexual abuse, is embezzlement — to cover up acts of said abusive priests. Good grief! This makes me frustrated and sad. For the most obvious reason, I’m sad for the boys — and the families — who have been really damaged by this. I’m sure many of them have spent years trying to heal from what happened, and this opens the wounds fresh again. I’m also frustrated that this seems the only news coming out of the Catholic church — and out of the Church (to mean all churches) in general: sex and money. I’m convinced that Americans want justice just as much as we want some titillating scandal.
My first question is: why is it always the church? There’s bad stuff that happens everywhere! Why not report on the corruption in big government? Or of local businesses? But it’s no different. It’s just blaming someone or something else. Plus it’s just more bad stuff to hear about.
My second question (yeah, I have lots of internal monologues in the car) is: do I not want to hear about this? Is it that I don’t want it to be public? I absolutely want that truth exposed so that families — and the church — can deal with this. I want those priests removed from their position. (And let’s save that whole “is celibacy more damaging than helpful” conversation for another day.) But let’s be real. The news is a source of information for the masses. And if the only thing we hear about is gunfire in North Minneapolis and sex scandals in the churches — that’s soon going to be our truth. But it cannot be the only truth.
When I lived in Costa Rica, there was a news program — I think it was from 9-9:30pm every night — that only reported good things. Sure, in every other segment they reported on the bad stuff like we do (murders, gas line explosions, pirates), but in that half-hour they only talked of happy, bright things: coffee farmers donating their best beans to a local school, spontaneous (and dusty) street dances, of sea turtles giving rides to stranded dogs at sea. (Okay, maybe that just happened in Milo & Otis.) It also reminded me of a blog post that an acquaintance wrote about Facebook, titled: “What’s so bad about being positive?” We’re not naive. We know that craptastic things happen to our friends all of the time…because they happen to us too. Maybe we’re not necessarily trying to show off our perfect lives. Maybe it’s that we just want to share the positive stuff. Because there’s so much bad stuff out there.
Here’s my deal. I believe we are all capable of doing bad things. We hurt people everyday. Sometimes that seems like small stuff: an unkind word. Sometimes it seems like big stuff: a betrayal. Either way, we hurt people. I call that sin. We also are capable of pretty amazing things. We are capable of great love. Sometimes that is small: like a kind word. Sometimes it seems big: like forgiveness of a betrayal. I call that sainthood. The important thing here, is that we are both. You can call it what you want, but we are saint and sinner (did I mention I’m Lutheran?). There’s some truly awful stuff that some Catholic priests have done. There’s also some pretty amazing things that priests have done. (Hello, Pope Francis!).
I don’t want to live in a world wrapped in yellow cellophane and pretend that nothing is wrong. Nope; I know it. I just want to hear good things too.