Be careful when we decide to scrutinize others
Watching how some Catholics have decided to leave the Church for another religion, to only discover there was more to it than distrust. I recently wrote about a Catholic relative who mentioned her moving onto a more spiritual group saying the Catholic Church just didn’t do anything for her. She needed a sign of Pastoral attention as opposed to Rituals. My comments were not condemning, but questioning why she would give up our rituals and the Holy Eucharist. Recently the one reason could have been in earlier years she had to undergo shock treatments for some conditions that upset her mental balance.
Her situation does not place her decision to leave the Church a harsh reason to look elsewhere. She was then and is now lonely for more than salutations, her needs go deeper looking for more than rituals. Her needs are someone who is the leader to be pastoral rather than rules that go further than what she needs now.
There certainly is not a reason to scrutinize her decision, but just like her, far too many who end up seeking acceptance, for one reason or another, human lives that appear angry are just looking for warmth in places that are not fulfilling that need.
I worked with another electrician who came out to me as a homosexual. He explained how as a youngster his father would come home many nights, drunk, angry, and took most of his hidden viciousness out on this boy and the other siblings as well. This is just one more example of how people are affected in their childhood and the results can be devastating leaving the residue of insecurity for generations.
In all of the many cases where people become anti-social or looking for solace in ways most of us don’t agree with are just victims of a deep-festered anomaly that is well hidden to us.
As I also watch a lot of Catholics turn away from the Sacraments and the Clergy, there is a much deeper significance to a structured Church and some prefer to find Christ away from the structured Church. As I have written about a number of Catholics who accuse the Catholic Church and its leaders in Rome for their contempt have just as many reasons that to this day refuse to go back. My response was then, and now, they shouldn’t allow one terrible incident to destroy their faith in Christ’s Church. Yet again, there are many deep occurrences in their lives that were not known until the scandal hit hard and the deep-rooted reflection of some past occurrence rises up and becomes the enemy of sound reasoning.
Try as we might, instead of scrutinizing their choices that resemble agonistic behavior, we must look at their situation as God looks into their reasons and also views the deeper significance of their reasonable choice. Each person must follow their own conscious beliefs and needs.
Whether it is loneliness, contemptuous feelings, or an emptiness of heart that has driven some away from the Church, each one of these attributes calls out to the Clergy for passionate pastoral understanding to reel-in every soul that is crying for attention and missing the needed care. The examples I alluded to above are real and our community is not addressing these hurting people enough. Jesus encountered many of these souls during his ministry. He never once recited a law or specific requirements to find God. He showed comfort, compassion, and individual forgiveness, one person at a time. That is pastoral care directly from the Son of God; God himself!
Ralph B. Hathaway