This morning as I was reading this reflection written by a Steubenville alum, this quote stuck out at me:
“I’m scared that if I pull this thread and start to doubt and reexamine my experiences at Franciscan, my faith will start to unravel, too.”
As I watch people very close to me shedding their Catholic faith, it is clear to me that how the Church, institutionally, and how we, as individual Catholics within it, represent Christianity MATTERS. It can lead people to Christ, but lately it seems to me that it more often damages the faith of others. I think about my own culpability in this as, over the past years, I have been so often frustrated by how things are going in the Church, and express that frustration at home.
But there is also the reality that those frustrations are pointing to something real.
A while back, I wrote about the sin of scandal. Our disconnect between the faith we profess and the things we say, the attitudes we hold, and the candidates and policies we support, have an impact on others. When the Church fails the way it did in the abuse of minors over generations; when it fails the way it did at Steubenville, and people leave, it is hard not to think of Jesus saying in Luke 17: Those of you who lead these little ones astray…. better off to hang a millstone around your neck and jump in the water.
It matters, how we interact with the world. And this applies to abortion, yes, but it applies every bit as much to guns and environment and the dismissal of women who were assaulted and the embrace of lies about stolen elections and continued support of politicians who claim Christianity while brazenly breaking commandments by telling those continued lies.
These. Things. MATTER.
These things DRIVE PEOPLE AWAY FROM CHRIST.
A frequent commenter here often laments how the turning away from God is the source of all our problems in modern America. Well, that’s true, though it has been true at every moment throughout history; it’s not a new problem. The veneer of Christianity in the past covered a lot of not-Godliness.
But we cannot conveniently ignore the reality that when we represent God in, forgive my bluntness, crappy ways, WE also bear responsibility when people turn away from God.