In a recent essay, I outlined my reasons for leaving the Church of Rome. I noted in the piece that my reasons were my reasons and that I was not trying to convince anyone else to leave to explain my reasons why. My reasons are rooted in emotion as well as in theology. As a public theologian, I expect a certain level of criticism of the things that I write, but one remark was not only unexpected, but it hurt me.
I an online conversation about an unrelated topic I was told that the other person was “wounded by all your obvious joy at the plight of the Roman Church.” My response was that I did not realize I had any joy in the plight of the Roman Church for I do not find any joy in any of this.
I find no joy in the unknown number of lives that have been destroyed by the perpetrators of child sexual abuse.
I find no joy in a system designed to care more for an institution than people.
I find no joy in the smugness of church leaders as they attempt to push the blame on to the victims of their crimes.
I find no joy in the countless number of the faithful that has had their faith shaken to the core or perhaps have lost their faith over this.
I find no joy in people who chastise those I just mentioned and say things like “they never had real faith in the first place.”
I find no joy in seeing for sale signs in front of a church that generations of people not only worshipped in but, in many cases, sacrificed time and resources to build and sustain.
I find no joy in the countless numbers of victims that still have not come forward or for those who have taken their own lives because of the abuse they suffered at the hands of clergy and the abuse they faced at the hands of the church after.
I find no joy in the billions of dollars this has cost the Church of Rome, dollars that should have been used to alleviate the suffering of the poor and disenfranchised.
Moreover, I find no joy in the damage this, and abuse in other religious institutions and the subsequent cover-up, has done to the witness of Jesus Christ. Yes, this has damaged the witness of all churches and the ministry and mission they have.
Simply put, I find no joy in any of this, in fact, it sickens me to my very core.