Saturday, April 26, 2008

Proud to be Catholic

I've been thinking, and trying to articulate, the myths and misrepresentations of the sexual abuse scandal for years now. And while I in no way want to diminish the agony of the victims or the seriousness of the problem of certain priests in the Church, or the evil they perpetrated on innocent children -- children that should have been in the hands of Christ-like men and amongst the love of Jesus and not the wrath of Satan, I have a problem with what's become the mindset of much of America about our Church. The notion that this is exclusively a "Catholic Church in America" problem, or that the Catholic Church holds a monopoly on this problem is absurd.

Moreover, the picture that the media (and Hollywood) paints of the Catholic Church is quite selective in what it chooses to report, and report, and report, and report -- ad nauseam. This is not what our Church is about, it is about so much more, and I, for one, am sick of the misrepresentation by the media. They have hoodwinked the entire nation on positioning the Church in this light, and only this light.

The following is an email that I received from a brother knight. It articulates my thoughts and it accurately, in my opinion, reminds us of some of the things that most people, including Catholics, seems to have forgotten.


Proud of Being Catholic


(Excerpts of an article written by Sam Miller, prominent Cleveland Jewish businessman - NOT Catholic) Submitted by Dee Lynd

Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States, namely the Catholic Church?

Do you know - the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to your Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. Your graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%, all at a cost to you. To the rest of the Americans it's free.

The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an enrollment of 700,000 students.

The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people - not just Catholics - in the United States today.

But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage.

Let me give you some figures that you as Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8 % of clergy women reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed. Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic Problem.

A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.

The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now.

Walk with your shoulders high and you head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the United States. Then remember what Jeremiah said: "Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls". Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions.

Be proud that you're a Catholic.

Reprinted excerpts with permission of the Buckeye Bulletin courtesy of Brookside Council #3297 of The Knights of Columbus, Cleveland Diocese.

Full text of Sam's speech

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