So I have had a longstanding, tumultuous love affair with the Catholic Church. I hate her and I love her, so please indulge me as I wax about her momentous day today. 2 Popes being canonized while 2 Popes are still living…historical at the very least. I can’t help but think there is more at work here too, something way beyond a PR stunt by the Church (which is not beyond them by the way). One of my favorite priests, Father Robert Barron, captured a bit of the essence of the day – only the Church can elicit the deep sentiments that are emanated today- and emanated is an apt word here I think. She manages to draw into herself all the devotion of 1.2 Billion Catholics worldwide and have them love her with all her warts and shortcomings, all her stodginess and all her scandals. They stay with her. She makes those of us that think they have broken free from her, long for her embrace. Sometimes you think there is the essence of truth living there, not in the dogma, that is an “article” of faith, one put on for the sake of unity, but an essence of truth at the very core of her being. Or maybe you just hope there is.
I will watch the coverage in part wishing I was there, in part really glad I’m not. I will watch wishing sometimes I didn’t know what I know, so I too, could look at the Church with an innocent faith, like a child loves a parent. They say Christ called us all to do just that, come to faith as children. Today, I will yearn for her like a child yearns for her mother and wish I hadn’t reached adulthood and discovered she isn’t perfect all the time, isn’t beautiful all the time, has done really bad things sometimes and really good things at other times.
Just for today, I’ll cry a bit for her, thinking maybe I’ll be the repentant child and go back to her. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Robert Barron, Thomas Merton, Teilhard de Chardin, Karol Wojtyla, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, how did/do you stay Catholic?
Did you know the Vatican was designed to be an embrace, so when you walk to her doors you walk into her arms? Even that makes me hate and love her…..2 new Saints today…let us all be Catholic for a minute and pray they can help us all, that their sainthood is a divine sign that there is something bigger at work here. Today at least, let us have that hope.