My Struggle

“Well, the Church is an institution, Mike. Made of men. It’s passing. My faith is in the eternal. I try to separate the two.”
Spotlight
This is the quote that I used as my “spiritual writing” which influenced my spiritual life. I understand that this is not written to be spiritual nor by someone who may consider themselves to be qualified as a spiritual writer; however, no written words have affected my faith more than these. As someone who grew up Catholic in the northeast, the abuse and rape accounts of Boston priests over a period of decades but was only publicized in the early 2000’s was not unknown to me. From a young age I was made aware of the sick and disgusting acts that continue to stain what I believe in. As I grew older, I grew more confused and one day asked my dad “how he holds onto his faith?” and he explained to me that “if evil could infiltrate the people who are supposed to be closest to Christ and yet the Church still remains, then the Lord must have some goodness left in it for us.”
While this response satisfied my concerns for some time, I began to realize that it was not good enough for me. It was giving those men an excuse and a way out of the crimes they committed. As this confusion and anger built I still attended mass, church school, and the whole time I grew frustrated with what I was a part of. It seemed as though every day the crimes and positions of the church were striking me and making me second guess what I believed in. I had a few priests who were close friends to my family and in hindsight, the conversations and interactions that I had with those few good men were the reason why I did not lose complete faith in the church.
Then, I watched the movie Spotlight. Let me say that there truly is a reason why this movie won best picture. As I watched the truth unravel, I could feel my anger bubbling up and my embarrassment rising. But then I heard this line. These 24 words that changed my life. At last I realized in words and in writing what I had been thinking for years prior. The reason why I still felt faith in church was not because of the stained glass windows or the holy water, it was because that was where I could focus and get closest to the eternal. I was not believing in the men on the alter. They, like all thing, are dying. I was believing in something bigger than all of that, bigger than all of us.
Since realizing this, I still find myself struggling with my Catholic faith, but growing all the same. The key for me is to try and  separate the man from the faith that I love. It is as if I am pulling the weeds that constantly move to strangle a flower.

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