Monday, January 27, 2014

The Indifference of the Catholic Church - Why she doesn't care about me

Before you get to criticizing what I am about to write with words like, "whiny," "ungrateful," "selfish," "all about you" I'm going to first get down to who I am and  and who I am not.  I am a quiet, unassuming, humble person, not in the least bit interested in recognition or "being in the limelight." People who know me can attest that I would do anything for just about anybody.I love God deeply. I am a family man who raised four children to adulthood. They are mature, intelligent and good human beings, kind and considerate of others.My wife and I have been happily married for 36 years.I am a cradle Catholic, who like many young people left the Church, not by renouncing it, but by ignoring it. I did find my way back and am now a devout, and prayerful Catholic. My children were brought up in Catholic schools and I paid a fortune in tuition for all those years.My wife and I have volunteered countless hours to the Church. I volunteered coaching for many years, in fact I coached youth sports for  over twenty years. We've been on many fundraising committees, home & school association, and on and on. In  2009 I entered a Masters degree program in theology  and in 2010 I decided to put my business on hold and work to evangelize young people by teaching high school religion. As a side note I have had hundreds of hours of spiritual direction with a retired Jesuit priest whom I  visited weekly with for a bout a year and a half. My approach to teaching was to be from true Christian charity. I loved my students and was kind and generous to them. I never sought my own  attention, I just did these things as a matter of honor and stewardship in building God's kingdom. My wife and I went to the adoration chapel and committed for an hour for nearly twenty years. I was a Eucharistic Minister at a local hospital, bringing Holy Communion to the sick every Friday and then Saturdays when I taught. I also taught adult education classes and was involved in the parish's apologetic s group.  When I taught high school many of the children I taught told me I had a profound effect on them. I never wanted credit, I knew it was God working through me. But I found out this much about kids, and the Catholic School System. First, many kids were disrespectful and disinterested and refused to even acknowledge me when I taught them. Not all the children, some were very kind and engaging, others were cruel and hurtful, not giving a care about how I felt, even though I showered them with love. 90% of the kids did not go to Mass on Sundays and many were having sex and using drugs and alcohol. The administration turned a blind eye to all of this. The schools system is only interested in academic achievement and pays lip service to morality and Christian values. They too turn a blind eye to kids who neither go to church or know their faith. I was vigilant in my Moral Theology classes as to developing an understanding of good not from a legalistic, "you must follow the law" approach, but rather from a desire to love back to God who loves us all so much. In my final year at the school the administration and staff were cold to me and down right uncharitable. I was reduced to a spectator at the Senior Retreat, a baby sitter who wasn't allowed to contribute. Then there was the time when the juniors were going for a field trip to a local prison and I wasn't even told about it. After three years I was 'disposed' like an old dishrag, not with any advanced notice but told on the last day of school. I will have completed my Masters in Theology by this Fall, but at 60 years old, I am not in demand, can't even get an interview, dying on the vine. All that I have learned from my life experiences, spiritual directions, years of reading, prayerful meditation, my education in theology (which cost me thousands of dollars), my 36 years of marriage, my parenting skills, will not be shared in building God's Kingdom, not because I don't want to, but because the Church couldn't care less about me. So my head and my heart is back into the business world. Sorry...

1 comment:

Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

You are not alone in this trek! (you need not feel alone, the journey makes us one...). But, I would encourage you to not give up, but to find other, more creative ways to teach what you have to teach by way of your faith and love of God. I think one of the most favorite 'tools' of the devil is when we feel discouraged or disheartened as it influences the decisions we make from that point on when we feel that way.
There are many ways to make that light shine-it need not be in the context of church structure.
I hope you continue to find creative ways to influence our youth as you have in the past.
You need not apologize. But, the gauntlet has been thrown. Accept the challenge instead of admitting defeat.