Quitting Church, coming back, and staying

Andrea Palpan Dilley on her journey away from and back to church. Her suggestions of 6 things to do to help young adults explore their faith and doubts

E.J. Dionne’s response to the Freedom from Religion ad.

My, my. Putting aside the group’s love for unnecessary quotation marks, it was shocking to learn that I’m an “enabler” doing “bad” to women’s rights. But Catholic liberals get used to these kinds of things. Secularists, who never liked Catholicism in the first place, want us to leave the church, but so do Catholic conservatives who want the church all to themselves.

I’m sorry to inform the FFRF that I am declining its invitation to quit. It may not see the Gospel as a liberating document, but I do, and I can’t ignore the good done in the name of Christ by the sisters, priests, brothers and lay people who have devoted their lives to the poor and the marginalized.

And his response to the comments his article generated.

James Martin, SJ on those who, like Dionne, stay in church:

The church is the place into which we were born and out of which we will leave this life. We are called through baptism into a distinctive place in the church. That means that we are called not only to enjoy its fruits, but to labor in its vineyards, even when that vineyard is filled with thorns, the day is late, we are exhausted, the fruit seems scarce, and the sun is beating down on us, seemingly without mercy. It is in our church that we will work out, difficult as it may be, impossible as it may seem at times, our salvation, alongside other sinners—sinners just like us.

“To whom shall we go?” said Peter. The church is not Jesus, but it is his visible body on the earth.  And, like his body after the Resurrection, it has wounds.  So you could also ask: “Where else shall we go?”

And remember that it’s your church, too. God called you into it, by name, on the day of your baptism.  Never forget that Jesus called each of the disciples for a particular reason.  They each had different gifts and talents, and were able to help build the Kingdom of God in different ways.  As Mother Teresa said, “You can do something I cannot do. I can do something you cannot do.  Together let us do something beautiful for God.”  Though the disciples often quarrelled with one another, Jesus wanted them all to be there.  When you’re tempted to leave, or when others say that they don’t want you around, remember who called you.

Ministering among those “crushed” by the Church

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