I love a good story. That's why I've been captivated in recent days by stories concerning the Catholic Church abuse scandal. Not the newspaper spreads with timelines showing who knew what, when they knew it, and what they did or didn't do about it. I've read some of those stories, but they do not captivate me.
I'm captivated, rather, by the complex, inspiring stories of lay Catholics and, in particular, the stories of three Catholic women who explain why they remain Catholic. NPR featured two essays, the first by writer Elizabeth Scalia, whose essay is a poetic meditation on the dark and light that coexist in creation. Scalia understands that "everything, from our institutions to our innermost beings, are seen through a glass, darkly," yet she holds on to her faith's "bright hope."
In the second NPR essay, novelist and poet Julianna Baggott writes of leaving the church but retaining her Catholic identity. She honors the nuns and priests who welcomed and educated her mother during a troubled childhood and who schooled Baggott in a radical, inclusive faith. Baggott credits the church for shaping her as a writer, for "the basic rule of storytelling is show, don't tell. Christianity shares this idea—the word made flesh. Of all the Christian denominations, no one does more bloody, impassioned showing than Catholicism."
Finally, religion scholar Donna Freitas, who has published a guest essay on Her.meneutics, debuted her new Washington Post column called "Stubborn Catholic" this week. Her first post revealed her own experience with priestly sexual impropriety. That experience left a scar, but that scar is only one piece of her Catholic identity. Catholicism "is my family, my friends, my professional life as a theologian and ...1
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