I just ran across this piece that I wrote in April, 2014 after listening to a piece about Pope Francis on 60 Minutes. It seems like an appropriate time to share it. I called it The Pope That Made Me Cry.
When I was a kid, I often wished I were Catholic. Those who were seemed so certain about their beliefs. They didn’t waste time and energy puzzling, questioning their faith. The bought the church’s teachings whole.
I, on the other hand, had a dad with a philosophical bent, graduate of an Episcopal boys’ school, enamored of the monk who ran the place to the extent that at one point he’d decided to become a priest. Instead he became a corporate man but he never lost his love of discussing spiritual things and he managed to fill my head with questions. This was a path that led me to Methodist and Presbyterian phases, a return to the Episcopal church and finally a satisfying home as a Unitarian.
Not wanting to leave my Episcopal church without some sort of explanation, I wrote a note to the priest explaining my joy at finding a spiritual home. “You,” was his reply, “are making a very big mistake.”
“And that,” I said to myself, “explains why it was necessary for me to move on.”
When I lived n Seattle, I only knew one Jew. When I moved to Philadelphia, I attended a high school where thee were many and with a few exceptions, Jews and Gentiles separated themselves from each other.
My dad, the self-proclaimed egalitarian, subtly made me aware of where I belonged. He would not have approved if I had dated a Jew. He didn’t approve when I dated a Catholic. He was a man of his culture and time, sometimes hard for me to understand.
I never gave popes much thought. I guess I knew they were God’s representative on earth and therefore could do not wrong. Their word was law for Catholics.
The current news regarding sexual abuse by priests is hard to watch, listen to and read about. At times, I have to shut it down at my house.
But, thank goodness, I tuned in to 60 Minutes on a recent Sunday night and caught a piece on Pope Francis.
…to think that he took blame for the priests’ and bishops’ misdoings
…to think he’s deserted red shoes, fancy vestments, elegant living quarters
…to think he does without tight security
…to think his focus is on the poor
I’m grateful to the cardinals who elected him, though perhaps they did not know all that they were choosing.
I predict a surge of returnees to the Catholic faith. It’s easier than ever to be one.