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Why I Stay

My Life Lines column running in the current issue of Catholic New York:

Why do you remain a Catholic?” That was the challenge issued to me on Facebook a while back. Never one to refuse a good challenge, I pondered that question anew even though I had wrestled with it before in relation to various crises in the Church, particularly the sex abuse scandal. Why do I stay? I had originally thought the new answer to that old question would be easy. But, as I reflected on it more deeply, I realized that my truth is not that simple, because it would imply that the sex abuse scandal is the only thing that makes me wonder sometimes why I stay. And, quite frankly, abuse is just one thing among many that can make this faith a challenging matter. Read more

Why do I stay in this Church?

“Why do you remain a Catholic?” That was the challenge issued by Elizabeth Scalia (aka The Anchoress) via Facebook this week, calling me (among many other Catholic writers) out by name. Never one to refuse a good challenge, I started to ponder that question as I headed out to meet Dennis for date night at The City Beer Hall in Albany. As we sat at the bar, sipping our Chatham Maple Amber, Dennis reminded me that I had already written my own blog post on this very topic more than a year ago. (I’m glad someone remembers what I write!) Sure enough. I went back and found my own take: “Why Am I Still Here? In this Church, that is.” Read more

In fear I faced the real question: “Why not me?”

I am typically a “Why me?” sort of person — when my computer crashes, when a recipe flops, when I come home from the store without the one thing I went there to get. So you can only imagine how I might kick that attitude up a notch when something significant is at stake. But last week, when my 18-year-old son, Noah, was facing the possibility of serious and permanent heart damage, when we had no control and no way to help him as we watched him suffer through painful attacks, the “Why me?” slowly started shifting to another place. Read more

What if a New Year’s resolution isn’t the answer?

It’s that time of year again, the time when we look at ourselves and see all the stuff that needs improving over the next 12 months. We want to lose 10 pounds, exercise five times a week, work less, play more, and organize our house, our schedules, our lives. It all sounds great on paper, but those resolutions can do more harm than good. Why not take a different approach this year, one that will transform you from the inside out? I’ll get you started.  Read more

Are we willing to be marked as Christians?

For weeks now I have been feeling helpless, hopeless, in a constant state of incredulity tinged with despair. So much so I have been completely unable to write about it. No words could express what I was feeling. How, I kept wondering, how was it possible that Christians in Mosul were being killed — their homes marked, their property stolen, their lives threatened, tortured, taken as they tried to flee the insane wrath of the Muslim extremists known as ISIS while the world looked away? Where were our leaders, where was the public outcry, or at the very least celebrities tweeting selfies as they held up signs with appropriate hashtags, perhaps #stopISIS or #savethechristians? Why was there silence in the face of genocide, religious cleansing, what was clearly — at least to those of us willing to watch — the earliest signs of a potential Christian holocaust? Read more

Oceans of grace: keeping my eyes above the waves

This is one of those songs that stopped me in my tracks. I happened to have on K-LOVE, when I heard these words sung so sweetly:

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand Read more

Why am I still here? In this Church, that is.

I’m just going to come right out and say it because I know some of you are probably feeling the same way and maybe even feeling guilty about it: Why am I still here? In this Church. Why? I am struggling, I mean STRUGGLING with the latest sex abuse cover-up news coming out of the Archdiocese of Chicago. As I read the news story today, I could feel my heart sinking and then hardening and then breaking. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to cry or scream or walk away, or possibly all three at once. Read more

The lighter side of darkness

So yesterday’s post was pretty heavy, I guess, and I was reflecting on it as I went about my day and thinking about the depths of the darkness. And I realized something, I noticed markers, I guess you could call them, that to me are signals that I have not yet reached a level of depression that is beyond hope. What markers? Read more

The hope that’s found in the promise of purgatory

Some people have a problem with the idea of purgatory, which is something I honestly just don’t get. Of all our teachings, this is one that is not only incredibly beautiful but also especially logical (as logical as things of the spirit can ever be) and especially compassionate, at least in my book. When I look at my life here on earth so far, I can’t imagine — despite all my good intentions — that I’ll be ready to meet God face to face when I die. And so I’m banking on purgatory and the possibility that I might be able to do in the next life what I haven’t been able to achieve on this side of heaven, namely, get right with God. Read more