I’m all for compassion and mercy, forgiveness and love, warmth and welcome. I’m totally in favor of the priests being like the father welcoming home the prodigal with a kiss, clean clothes and a banquet.
The problem I have with the current narrative coming from some Catholic sources is that it doesn’t match up with my experience of the Catholic Church.
I get the impression that some folks who are manipulating Pope Francis’ message that the Catholic Church has been harsh, hypocritical and hierarchical, patronizing and patriarchal, condemning and critical, negative, unloving, liturgical, legalistic, Pharisaical and phony.
I’ve been a Catholic just under twenty years first in England and now in the United States.
Not once have I heard a homily that was judgmental, self righteous, condemnatory and vindictive. The homilies I have heard have mostly been a mish mash feel good self help message combined with some smug sentimentality and a few do gooder bromides.
I have heard of one or two priests who have been harsh in the confessional, but I have heard of far more who are lenient, lax and so ready to forgive and forget that they dismiss sin, tell the penitent that they are okay, downplay the sacrament and let things slide.
If the present narrative is to be believed, the church is full of uptight, sexually repressed, sour faced old killjoys who love nothing better than to turn their self righteous noses up in distaste at the sinners.
This may well be the case elsewhere in the Catholic world, and I’ll be the first one to be corrected if my experience is too limited.
My own experience has been the opposite. Continue Reading