A reader writes:
My husband and I are raising our sons in the Catholic Church. We are active in my church, I teach religious education, we perform corporeal works of mercy with our fellow parishioners (our food pantry has added 100 families in the last six months). We are anti-abortion but pro-choice, we support gay marriage and female priests. We are not alone in our beliefs in the parish and we are often at loggerheads with our rather strict constructionist brethren.
I was quite proud of my sixteen-year-old son, who after completing two years of confirmation preparation wrote his letter to the Bishop telling him quite proudly why he did not want to become confirmed as an adult in the current church.
He stated his positions on sexual equality, freedom of choice and the treatment of woman as second-class citizens. He laid out precise logical arguments on how the church was losing its young by neglecting to follow the example of Jesus. Our Director of Religious Education was also proud of him and uses his letter (with our permission and his name redacted) as an example of the seriousness of the decision of confirmation. She told us how many of the teenagers go through the motions, do it for their parents and then are never seen again.
Our son attends mass, helps when he can when he is home from college, and works with a local parish near his school. He still considers himself Catholic but cannot in good conscious swear to obey the tenets of the current church.
I consider him a good Catholic - in fact a better Catholic than I - because I had doubts as a teen but got confirmed anyway because I didn't want to disappoint my parents. His faith is strong, but his desire to build a better church is what keeps me teaching and trying to live up to his example. He is the reason that I believe the American Catholic Church will become in the future a separate branch, rather than Roman Catholic.