I got involved in "the church struggle" because I passionately loved the essence of Catholicism from the moment I was born into it. Perhaps I'm not as unusual as I like to think I am, in that I wasn't affected at all negatively by Catholicism as a child or young person. Except to say I observed with great sadness the heaviness my grandparents generation carried from being taught it was a sin to have self esteem. Or to love making love with their husbands.
From a small child, almost all my internal life revolved around Catholicism. It was my secret love and my passionate obsession, as I am unashamed to say it still is. The knowledge that the mother of Jesus has appeared to little children and that this beautiful soul, her son, has defeated death and makes magic every day even in my own little life, is a solid cedar ship within which I have sailed oceans both beautiful and terrible all my life and I never want to get off no matter what the weather.
So because I believe, I thought it was worth risking all my soul in the struggle to persuade the Vatican to honour the body of Christ and our beautiful church by standing down and requesting prosecution for those in leadership who turned their back on Christ when he manifested in those who were raped, assaulted, molested abused and humiliated. And when he manifested also in the loved ones of those victims.
I thought the Vatican might be moved eventually, if enough people kept up the pressure. But after over 30 years of knowledge and pressure, at Christmas pope Benedict addressed his cardinals on the matter using the following words: "in the 1970s it was theorized that pedophillia was fully in conformity with man and and with children." He went on to say "nothing was considered either good or evil in itself." I can tell you that's not what the chemist told my granny when she asked for condoms.
His point apparently was to say that there was no more of an accepting attitude of pedophilia within the church than there was in secular society. Nonsense of course to suggest that after laws against pedophilia were enacted in the late 1800s anyone theorized it as acceptable. And there can never have been a child on earth who felt even slightly in conformity with pedophilia. Hardly needs stating that Jesus Christ would never have been in conformity either.
When I heard those words I knew there was no point fighting any more. There is no hope of morality or a fiery cleansing of the Vatican from within on this issue of respect for Christ. Only a headset entirely bereft of morality could have made such an astounding remark. And clearly a phalanx of lawyers added to this lack of morality means those of us who were fighting for a cleansed Vatican may as well throw down our arms. My dead mother has more chance of releasing her debut album.
However, while there are zillions of us who do not identify with the current Vatican's manifest definition of Catholicism, we still identify with the beautiful essence of the Catholicism we grew up with. But the child is being drowned, and the bathwater needs to get thrown out. And no one at the Vatican is going to do that. So we're going to have to run in and rescue the baby and raise it ourselves.
We must now start a provisional alternative Catholic Church for all, including present Catholic clergy, who have been let down and disillusioned and who want to see a Catholic Church which honours Christ with truth, honours the sacraments and the people's spiritual needs, has no hierarchy and does not dictate who God can love or not love. Nor whom can be in or out. Nor whether a woman is fit for Christ to make himself manifest through in priesthood. Nor whether the sacrament of sacred marriage and the comfort of children and grandchildren should be denied to priests.
In history, people move. They create what they feel they deserve. Times change.
I don't know how, or what, I just know we need a new Catholic Church. If we stick to the sacraments and honor them fully, the rest will follow. (Allow me to point out that the Catholic hierarchies' refusals to be publicly questioned on abuse and instead using the Mass as a platform is a gross disrespect of the sacrament of Mass). The rest of how to organize it, I mean, we can make it up as we go along. But if we don't start it will not happen. At least until our children or their children make it happen, which they will.
I ask please this Easter that we consider moving the stone away from the tomb and let the man out. He taught us to fear nothing on earth. And that prayer will give us answers. So, let's pray that we may have the courage to build ourselves a new church. Let whomever wants to stay with the current church stay gladly. But let those of us that want something different create something different. And may God inspire and embolden us and give us faith and strength. But above all give us love. For Christ and for each other that we may work together and make something beautiful which will be a thanksgiving to God, an honouring of Jesus, a fit house for The Holy Spirit and a comfort to us.