A reader writes:
I am on the cusp of those who are going from Catholic to Nothing in the latest poll of religious belief. Rather than "a view from your recession" this is more like "a view from your disillusionment." I have been plagued with doubts since the sex abuse scandal really became public. I have never had any experience like those who were abused, but I was angered and mortified that such activities were tolerated and hidden away.
More and more since then I have asked myself, where is grace? Where is there anything like the charism in the Church that marks her clearly as the Bride of Christ? Granted, the Church is made up of fallible human beings, but is it to be excused for behaving like an incompetent corporation or failed state because some of its members are rotten? And if the Church does not show any signs of the efficacy of grace, what does? Some individuals, maybe, but not me, and I've been praying and trying for 50 years; and certainly not any other religious body that I can see.
But more than that, and something that was featured in the recent survey, I have been sickened by the mindless, brutal stupidity of the evangelical movement in the US. They have coopted the term "Christian" to mean "a right-wing ideological nut job who loves war and hates immigrants, gays, and Darwin." I grew up in a faith that led me to read CS Lewis and Thomas Merton, and eventually Thomas Aquinas. Nothing about the "Christian" movement in this country relates to that at all. It is mind-numbingly ignorant and illiterate, and I am ashamed to be of the same religion as them. This makes me a snob, I'm sure. Chesterton said that the main argument against Christianity is Christians -- and I think his point is more true today than when he said it.
The church in its current form is dying in the West: that's for sure. What will take its place? And whence will it come?
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