The Catholic church seems to be taking more and more hits this these days with allegations of cover-ups when it comes to sex abuse scandals and so forth, and while those issues certainly need to be rooted out,
I think now more than ever it is important to remember all of the good the Catholic religion has done for the world. When I was at Mass the other day, a guest priest who was an American living in Jamaica led the service. He said he lived in the largest slum in Kingston and told heart-breaking stories of how kids were starving, receiving little to no education and had no access to clean drinking water.
He then talked a little bit about all of the work he and a group that was with him had done to build schools, provide food and help with other necessities. He said that the Catholic religion is strong in Jamaica because the people see all of the good work the church does.
I have personally known a number of Catholic relief workers who volunteer their time in some of the poorest countries in the world to provide such things as medical attention, food, clothing and other goods and services because they believe it is their Christian duty to do so.
I have also seen various ministries within the Catholic religion that offer services here in the United States that many places do not. I was personally the president of my church’s chapter of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for almost six years, and we provided financial and spiritual assistance to people in need.
It seems that these days, all we hear about are bad things within the church. Please don’t misunderstand me – anything involving sexual abuse or child molestation must be ended and the responsible parties arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I think it is also important, however, that people try to remember that the church, its members and priests are not all bad.
I read an opinion piece the other day where a columnist was ripping the church about all kinds of different things and making some outlandish suggestions about what should be done. I am not surprised by this, because the Catholic religion is an easy target right now, and Catholics seem to be one of the few groups that people can still make ignorant stereotypes about and get away with it.
The church has some serious problems that need to be addressed and that are being addressed. Like any institution or group, the Catholic religion has its problems, but I think it is important to stand by the good things the church does and respect the faith in a time when so many people do not.