In this morning’s Cincinnati Enquirer, a local physician joyously shares her reversion to the Faith three years ago and urges other fallen-away Catholics to accept Archbishop Schnurr’s invitation to “come home” this Christmas:
I grew up in the post-Vatican II church. Ask any 30- to 50-year-old and they’ll tell you that our religious education, while focused very much on Jesus’ gospel of love, was lacking in explanation of the Church’s teachings. Without such understanding, we were easy prey for the emerging ideas of secular humanism.
So, in college, I became what many call a “Cafeteria Catholic,” or one who picks and chooses which Church teachings she would like to follow. I went to Mass when it was convenient and to confession once in 15 years.
I was successful in college, went to medical school, got married to a Catholic man and began a career as a physician. But my soul became a rotting corpse as I abandoned my faith. I eventually became overwhelmed by anxiety, depression and utter meanness. My marriage and family were crumbling.
And then, three years ago, in the middle of one of the worst nights of work I’d ever had, God sent me an elderly man with dementia to wake me up and start me on my journey home.
My journey, exactly three years ago this Advent, started with the sacrament of reconciliation (confession). What many see as an outdated and unnecessary Catholic practice is exactly what opened the door of my heart and mind to understanding the joy and beauty of my faith.
It was at once both frightening and completely liberating.
I have learned much in three years. In a time when everything changes daily, I am comforted by the fact that my Catholic Church has the courage to stand firm in its beliefs, not succumbing to pressures to conform to societal norms. I know what happened to me when I succumbed – I crumbled. There are many who are waiting eagerly for that to happen to the Church.
When things change as fast as they do in our world, it causes insecurity, anxiety, despair. You never know where you stand. Just look around at our kids and you see it. What I now understand is that, with the laws of the Church, which are based on scripture and designed to protect the dignity given to every human person by God, I always know where I stand.
Stability – how we desperately need it! And for Catholics, the one place to get it is Mass. If indeed the Mass is a “museum piece” as Mr. Sauerbrey states, then it is one of immeasurable value. The sacraments are great treasures in that museum. But just like a museum, if you don’t go, you never discover what is in it.
The column, by Dr. Elissa Whittenburg, was prompted by a shameful letter written late last month by Mr. Bob Sauerbrey. A man who goes by that name is a former teacher at LaSalle high school (they’ve created a scholarship in his honor) and in 2006 was presented with the “Xavier University Theology Alumni Award.”
The Catholics Come Home commercials began to air on local TV earlier this month. Has anyone seen them? overheard people talk about them? observed some of their fruits in your parishes? I don’t watch a lot of local TV and so have missed them.