Dear Roman Catholic Hierarchy,
You and me, we are officially fighting now. Over the past months and years you have been making it pretty clear that you seem to not want women like me in your church. Lately you tell me that taking control of my reproductive system is wrong, that the women religious I hold in high regard for their work for the impoverished and ill are incapable of directing their own efforts to minister to Christ’s brothers and sisters, you advocate laws that deny rights to so many, and now you are launching an investigation into the Girl Scouts of America, a group that goes out of its way to be inclusive of girls of all walks of life, to see if they are somehow being “anti-Catholic.”
These things you do upset me, and so have I sought to understand the choices you have made. The information I have found has done little to soften my feelings of unrest. In fact, the more I learn, the angrier I become. Surely by now you have heard that 98% of sexualy active Catholic women in America have used birth control at some point. We have looked into our hearts, sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and found that it is not immoral to prevent the conception of a child we are ill equipped to care for. You say that there is no room in Catholic teaching for same sex marriage, and yet respected Catholic theologians, such as Daniel Maguire and Frank Parella, disagree with you. And a recent Gallup poll shows that Catholics aren’t really any more divided than the general populace on the opinion that it should be legal. This study from The Public Religion Research Institute paints a far more disturbing picture. Its research shows that 64% of Catholics believe that your negative teachings are leading to increased suicides in gay and lesbian youths. We are saying to you that your attitudes are killing our children. That is horrific. Are you listening yet?
And now I read that Cardinal Bernard Law was influential in the decision to investigate and then take over the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. This makes me more angry than I know how to express. In case you somehow forgot, Cardinal Law left Boston in disgrace after he helped hide the crimes of pedophiles. And yet this man somehow has the moral authority to say that the women religious of America are insufficiently orthodox in their priorities to heal the sick and feed the hungry? Did you think we wouldn’t notice? That we wouldn’t mind?
Christ teaches that I am to love my enemies. Rest assured, right now, you are my enemy. I don’t love you, but I pray to God for the strength to love you. You aren’t making it easy. I don’t know what I will do when I find that strength, but I also pray that whatever action I am inspired to take, it will touch your hearts in a way that will lead to positive change. Change that will open the church’s love to all those who seek it.
I can tell you what I won’t do, though, not now and not then. I will not leave this church. I will not refer to myself as anything less than a faithful Catholic. I will not stop going to mass on Sundays. And I will not stop speaking my mind. Nor will the countless other Catholic faithful who support missions that are unafraid of you like those of Catholics for Choice and Equally Blessed or the more recently formed Nun Justice Project. This is our church. We have not compromised our faith by questioning you and your motives. We will not let you take the church we love away from us. We will not go away. We will not be silent. We will stand confident in God’s love and minister to the disenfranchised and least among us as Christ taught us to do. I pray that one day you will stand with us.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
A Catholic Woman