A Different Kind of Catholic

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I am a different kind of Catholic now than I’ve been all my life. Whether that’s good or bad will depend on me and how much I cooperate with God’s grace.

I’m an angry, disgusted Catholic these days. I’m stunned, horrified, furious, and grieved. The past decade has been brutal. 

I admit I was ignorant for a long time. I know the Church is both “Spirit and mud,” as Deacon Keith Fournier explains it. But I did not know the mud was so deep, so toxic. I trusted that the men in priestly collars—and especially those in miters—were genuine in their faith, pure in their love for God, sincere in their desire to serve. I trusted that they were, indeed, shepherds. I never thought they could be wolves in disguise.

It sounds ridiculous now. If you want to chide me for being a colossal idiot, get in line behind me. But there you have it. I trusted. I believed the best.

No more. I am not that Catholic any longer. And I am glad. Though painful, I hope this shattering of ignorance and foolishness is also purifying, so there is nothing at all to cling to except Jesus. 

Last week saw the death of Archbishop Rembert Weakland, a corrupt prelate who used his flock’s money to try and shush one of his homosexual lovers who’d accused him of assault. He also covered up for a monstrous priest who had abused deaf children.

He was immediately lauded for his many gifts by Fr. James Martin in this now-deleted Tweet:

When Martin was justly skewered for heaping praise on an abusive prelate, we were treated to yet another manipulative, patronizing, spiritually abusive lecture about how Jesus ate with sinners and how we’re all in need of mercy. When that also backfired, Martin then apologized:

Jesus didn’t indulge people in their sin. He said, “Repent.” He said, “You cannot serve two masters.” He said, “Go and sin no more.” 

Moreover, the apostles didn’t abuse people and then pay to silence them. They didn’t shelter the wolves who were feasting on the lambs. 

Peter and Paul didn’t groom Timothy to continue some homosexual network. They didn’t drape their shoulders and the holy altar on which they offered the sacrifice of Christ for the sin of the world with the colors of sexual deviancy. They didn’t publicly profess their sin as a badge of courage against a Church determined to make them deny their “nature.”

And now, Robert McElroy, a bishop who protected a sexual-predator-Satanist-priest received his shiny red cap and changed his name to Cardinal. A man who saw fit to provide cover and safety for the literal devil is elevated to be a prince of the Church, joining the ranks of those who will elect the next pope. 

There is no way Pope Francis does not know the details of his candidate for promotion. The pope is giving the faithful a cardinal who chose Satan over the body and soul of a young woman who was diabolically raped by a wicked priest, to say nothing of choosing the devil over Christ.

It is impossible to frame that attractively. There’s no way to say it that sounds defensible. It is incomprehensible, period.

McElroy should be made to stand in St. Peter’s square, before a thousand microphones and cameras, and repeat the name Rachel Mastrogiacomo, over and over and over. He should be made to confess how he protected the satanic priest who ritually raped her during Holy Mass.

Bishops who protect predatory, satanic priests should be laicized and put in jail, not elevated to the rank of cardinal and celebrated. If the pope, or any other cleric, expects the faithful to believe that the days of tolerating sexual abuse by clergy are behind us, they truly do consider us to be the stupidest of sheep. 

But really, I know it’s worse than that. The only logical conclusion is that they do not care about the souls in their charge. Their concern is their own power, their own position, and their own secrets.

So, another one of McCarrick’s boys gets a red hat. Oh, and the satanist-priest’s friend, Fr. John Dolan, was recently appointed bishop of Phoenix, replacing faithful shepherd Bishop Olmsted. McElroy was present for his installation Mass. So was Roger Mahony. Wolves run in packs.

It would be wrong not to be angry about the continued preservation of sexual perversity and abuse among the ranks of Churchmen. Especially infuriating is that these traitors make life so painful and burdensome for the shepherds who are faithful. I know the Church is still full of good priests and deacons, and even good bishops. I’m blessed to know many of them, and I thank God for them. They suffer cruelly and unjustly because of their despicable brothers.

If I am an angry, disgusted Catholic these days, I’m also a sober one. The way is narrow, the Cross is calling, and I want to finish the race marked out for me. I cannot do it without the Church because I need grace. The mud is revolting, but His Spirit is more powerful. That isn’t a platitude but an eternal truth. 

“Sword in one hand, trowel in the other,” says Deacon Keith. Jesus is Lord. He is faithful. He has been and will be victorious. That is a hope that will not disappoint.

Jennifer Hartline

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Jennifer Hartline is a wife, mother, and a daughter of the Church. She is a contributor to The Stream, Catholic Stand, and Catholic Online.

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