Friday, May 28, 2010

On Sister Margaret

I read a few blogs where the writer is a different religion from me. (Here is one if you are interested). In both of those instances, the writer is Mormon.

I don't know a whole lot about the Mormon faith, but I will say that there is something inspiring about 20 and 30-somethings who are so solid, so content, so invested in their faith. I have a few peers that feel similarly loyal, but they are certainly not in the majority.

I categorize myself as "cafeteria Catholic" in part jokingly, but frankly, I think it's pretty accurate.

Yesterday, my uncle Dan sent me to an article by NY Times Columnist, Nicholas D. Kristof. Essentially, a Catholic nun, Sister Margaret McBride, was employed by a hospital. She was on a committee that was charged with making a medical recommendation for a pregnant woman suffering from a debilitating condition - one that would surely take her life if her pregnancy was continued. The committee recommended terminating the pregnancy at 11 weeks, and Sr. Margaret? She was excommunicated.

For a church community that began with Jesus embracing the least among us (the Lepers, the poor, the sick) it seems to me that somewhere along the way, the message has been lost. "Love one another as I have loved you" seems to no longer be the commandment.

With the message so lost in translation, I am frustrated that my church leaders focus so completely on hating on gays and birth control, on covering up pedophilia and punishing a saintly woman who prioritized a living, breathing mother-of-four over her unborn fifth child.

I will admit to not being so steady in my faith. I want unconditional acceptance. I want to be positive and faith-filled and a lover of Catholicism. The thing is, I believe Jesus would have comforted Sister Margaret, and held her hand, maybe hugged her, after she made what I believe to have probably been an agonizing decision. I believe Jesus would understand, embrace, accept. My problem isn't with Jesus. No, my objection lies with the heirarchy of the Catholic Church, the people who we are entrusting to distill our faith and dole it out, lesson by lesson, teaching by teaching.

This time, though, they have it all wrong.

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