Editor’s note: we received this submission from an anonymous seminarian, and have chosen to run it as such. It is the cry — and the challenge — of a child to a neglectful father: “Why weren’t you there to protect me when that was your job?” It’s the cry — and the challenge — of a man who has given his life to a cause, only to discover that the guardians of that cause no longer believe in it.
It’s a cry of the heart and a challenge to our shepherds that many of us know all too well. It is a calling out that expects no answer, and to which none is likely to be given. We implore your prayers for the author, and for all of the faithful who find themselves where he is in these dark times.
I’m finishing up my theology studies and planning to leave the seminary. I know I shouldn’t go into public ministry. I’ve become disillusioned and resentful. I don’t believe in what the Catholic Church is teaching, and I don’t want to help perpetuate what it is doing. After almost 10 years of discerning a call and pursuing a vocation, it seems like I’ve wandered down a dead end road, and ended up stranded in the woods. I was naïve enough to assume that the Catholic faith was practiced in the Catholic Church, but experience has taught me that the faith is no longer welcome in the Church.
I would advise against pursuing a vocation in the Church today, and I wouldn’t even recommend the Church to anyone. What could anyone expect to find but spiritual abusers who refuse to enter the Kingdom of God and try to prevent others from doing so?
Honestly, not much of my faith has survived the seminary. I could not tell you one teaching of the Catholic faith that isn’t always changing. I don’t think we’ve even begun to acknowledge the extent to which modernism has undermined the foundations of the faith. The Church is crumbling into quicksand, and we are scolded ad nauseum that the Church still has to change more with the times. Jesus said, “let your yes mean yes and your no mean no”, and we respond, “not either
yes or no, but both yes and no.” We call good evil, and evil good. We guard a false peace of compromise in contradiction, and cultivate diseases of corruption and decline. The Church is like a wet cardboard box, and the bottom is falling out.
Why evangelize? Evangelize to what? We’re not allowed to catechize anymore. There is too much resistance to the faith from the Church. What’s the point? What are we doing? The Church is no longer hoping to convert the world to Jesus Christ, but we are converting the Church to the Spirit of the World. The salt has lost its flavor and it is being cast aside and trampled underfoot. The lamp is dimming, the coals are dying out, and charity is growing cold. The substance of the faith has been drained out of the Church and watered down. The Church has been hollowed out. Triumphalism is defeated, the Barque of Peter is sinking, and it could be downhill from here.
But, I know I’m the problem. I’m bitter, pessimistic and resentful. I know I shouldn’t minister publicly in the Church, and so I’m getting my degree and leaving. I shouldn’t have tried to persevere for so
long, and I wish I had never pursued what I thought was a calling. I’m the kind of person who should be chased out of this Church. But before I leave, I just want to ask one question, hoping that some leaders of the Church may hear me, and maybe try to offer a response:
Is there any reason why I should remain Catholic?
Further, is there any reason for anyone to remain Catholic, or become Catholic? I dare you to tell us
one good reason.
You can’t tell us that the Church is necessary for salvation, because we are no longer allowed to believe and teach that anymore. We don’t need to be saved from anything anymore–except from maybe tradition–it’s unhealthy to talk about sin, and hell no longer exists. You can’t tell us that Christ is present in the Church, because we have to acknowledge that he’s present in other churches also, and even in nature. What can the Church offer that a scenic mountain view can’t offer? You can’t tell us that we are building the Kingdom of God on earth, because we can do that better as liberal Democrats, and that the traditions of the Church are only holding us back. You cannot tell me that the Church is a community of charity, because I know how unwelcoming the welcoming are, I know how intolerant the tolerant are, and I know how vindictive the merciful
are. You cannot tell me that the Church will accompany me with dialogue because I know how the Church is not a safe space for people who believe in the faith, and how much churchmen gossip, bully, and ostracize.
Hello?! Can anyone hear me?!
Do any leaders of this Church care about anything besides guarding the false peace, enforcing mediocrity and managing the decline? Do you care about the salvation of souls? Do you care about anything?
I dare you to answer this question: Is there any good reason why anyone should practice the Catholic faith in the Catholic Church? I dare you. Is there any reason, besides fear of the judgement of God–something which we are no longer allowed to believe in–why I shouldn’t warn people to stay away from the Catholic Church?
Of course, I know that the leaders of the Church cannot answer this question satisfactorily. We no longer believe in the Catholic faith, and we can no longer say anything of substance. They can only respond with something about an inclusive human community journeying toward unity in a dialogue of accompaniment, etc., and my point will have been proven. The Church has nothing to offer the world that it doesn’t have already, and its benefits cannot outweigh its deficits. Some lower clergy and faithful laity could respond with a satisfactory answer, but they also know what it’s like to feel so unwelcome in this welcoming Church, as well as what it’s like to struggle to find reasons to stay.
I often sneak out of the chapel during homilies on Marian feast days, because I find that aversion to the sacred is especially directed toward Mary, and it hurts me too much to hear Our Lady denigrated by priests. So I will end this terrible rant by praying for the intercession of Our Lady Help of Christians, to please help the Church, and especially the little ones who feel so spiritually abused
by the Church.
Our Lady Help of Christians please do something, anything… But, either way, I should probably leave, I’ve lost my faith and I’m not wanted here.
Some details of the author’s situation have been altered to protect his identity.