Over at Apologia William Luse writes:
A rare venture into theology, and one not eagerly embraced. Like most of you, I try to follow St. Paul's advice and always be ready with a reason for what I believe, though I'd rather not have to ready myself against fellow Catholics, especially priests. I (like most of you?) would much rather just sit in the pew and trust that the guys in the robes will say and do the right thing. I do not like the feeling of having to enter a Catholic church with my error radar raised high, probing the air for evidence of an enemy incursion. But over the years I think many of us have developed the habit, some willingly, others with reluctance. I hope I'm among the latter. I get the sense that some who would argue for the Tradition have enjoyed the confrontations of the last forty years (what Monsignor Kelly called The Battle for the American Church) a little too much. I haven't. I knew before I joined up that the Church to which I was converting could be as fractious in its own way as our political culture was in another, but that doesn't mean I liked it. I didn't take the oath in order to find a good argument. I took it because of Christ's wish that we all be one, and I saw the only hope for that oneness in this particular gathering of souls. I came to the conviction that if I couldn't find it here, it wasn't to be found. more (you may have to scroll down, links not working right).
As a convert myself, and from Anglican at that, I am often heartbroken at the capers being cut within the Church in the USA. I realize that we converts often have a more extensive knowledge of theology, dogma, doctrine etc than the cradle Catholic. Many of us fought against the call to come home to the original christian church. For some, the stumbling block was Marian devotions - for others, it was Sactraments, or Liturgy, or Veneration of the Saints. For me, it was a more difficult obstacle, and one that I fought (and still do fight on occasion) both from without and within the church. It has to do with being raised so that my religion was not only Anglicanism but feminism - of the angry new age, anti-male, we are oppressed, women need men like fish need bicycles sort. I never fully internalized either Anglicanism or feminism - but I also never truly shed all the skins they wrapped me in.
My life's ambition from a very young age was to be a mommy. I read cookbooks like others read comic books (I read comic books, too!). I never saw a need for a female priesthood. Yet I also bought into the myth that Paul the apostle was a misogynist, that Ephesians 5 was anti-woman, that someday the church would become what the AmChurch types are trying to change it into.
As you can guess, I was a little schizoid when I was younger. I knew that this is the church Jesus founded, and that Peter was the rock, and the Apostolic succession is true. And yet, and yet, and yet - I rebelled in thought and deed. My poor children suffered horribly as I swung from fervently acting on my Catholic beliefs to angrily rebelling against them. My poor husband (a cradle Catholic) was also dragged through some pretty turbulent seas. The Church was not a shelter from the storm - it was often incitement to riot. I gave up the sacrament of penance for years - I would confess something I knew was sinful and be told that it wasn't a sin at all, if I was following my conscience! Excuse me, but a conscience needs to be properly formed! Still, I swung from the chandeliers - having faith, but not always feeling faith. Going from obedience to rebellion, from orthodoxy to flirting with the New Age, from pro-life, pro-family to radical feminism. Mr. Luse manages to capture a lot of what I was going through when he speaks of the original sin:
Our earthly mother and father did not doubt His existence, nor wish to fine tune the nature and extent of His attributes. They simply doubted His seriousness in issuing a command that forbade a certain activity. The instant they doubted they were corrupted, allowing instant access to that arrogance of will, that pride of intellect, and that lust for certainty, which put suddenly an entire race deeply in trouble, and ended up nailing a God to a tree.
I knew that I was doing what was not pleasing in the sight of God - I knew and I continued, and I misled others as well. I am so glad that there is a purgatory - I know that I am spending serious time there. No matter how complete my contrition or how extensive my penances, I know that the temporal effects of my sins are pretty extensive. My soul needs a long course of God's chemotherapy.
A while ago, I read How Firm a Foundation by Marcus Grodi. There was a Bible text repeatedly quoted in the book - something about it being better that a millstone were wrapped around one's neck and he be thrown into deep water, rather than leading astray one of His little ones. How many 'little ones' have been led astray by those who should have been leading them to Christ and the Church? How much culpability do I bear - or you - or you? Is it sin that we stood by silently? Is it sin that we spoke up? I am eternally grateful that our God is one of both justice and mercy - and I pray that He will be merciful with me, a sinner.