Garry Wills spares no one in his elegant, brief, historically attuned demolition of the claims of the papacy to infallibility and total control. But I found his reason to remain a Catholic all the more powerful because of the simple honesty with which he confronts the appalling record of child-rape and cover-up that is now obviously a universal facet of absolute corruption in the Vatican:

I am asked, if I believe this, why I remain a Catholic. I do that precisely because I do not equate the people of God with the papacy. Well, I am told, other churches honor the Creed and the Gospel without the burden of a papacy as outdated as the medieval costumes it affects. I want to be at one with Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and others; but I want all of these communions to come together, and I cannot do that by renouncing the Catholic membership in such an ecumenical Christianity, saying some churches are better than others.

When the disciples of Jesus came back from their first mission away from him, the apostle John reported, “Master, we saw a man driving out evil in our name, and he was not one of us, we tried to stop him.” Jesus asks why they did that: “No one who does a work of divine power in my name will be able the next moment to speak evil of me” (Mark 9:38-39). All of us who honor his name must come together. When a Catholic tells meoften these days, it is a young womanthat she can no longer put up with the male monarchical Church, I tell her, “Stay with us, we need you. The people of God need you.”

This is the ecumenical case for remaining Catholic. I have to say I didn't see that coming.

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