Apostate Rod Dreher writes about his fellow, doubting and re-believing compatriots. Rod emailed me to ask why I still cling to Catholicism. Sadly, I think "cling" is the right word, at this point. Institutionally, I don't think I'll ever be able to overcome the feeling of disgust and despair at my church's long-standing policy of allowing grown men, in the image of Christ, to rape, abuse, molest and traumatize boys and teens - and persistently cover it up. Seeing, as a gay man does, the depth of the hypocrisy and cant and sexual and psychological pathologies that drive the Vatican, it is very hard to regain trust in such a deeply corrupt and dishonest institution. Benedict cannot help symbolize this to me. He's a brilliant, brilliant man; he has not been a new Torquemada. But he is so much a part of the reactionary regress of the Church that only his departure will allow a rebirth.
I cling because such a future is always possible; and hope is not the same thing as optimism. I cling because I do not know where else to go. I can no more divorce my church than I can divorce my parents. Becoming an Anglican, given my Irish-Catholic background in England, would be slightly more traumatic than becoming a Muslim. I guess my dialogue with Sam Harris explains why I'm still (barely) a Catholic. Because the message of Jesus and the divinity of Jesus still compel me. Because He will never be adequately represented by a church He didn't have and didn't found, but without which He would be lost to me and to the world. And so faith persists. In all its fallen human indignity. Which is all the church on earth is, in the end.