Considering common sense morality amidst controversy


I grew up Catholic. I went to church every Sunday, attended Sunday school, received all applicable sacraments through confirmation (my “confirmation name” is Thomas Aquinas), and I was lucky to attend a private, Catholic high school.

I stopped calling myself Catholic about five years ago (new label still pending.) There are many motivations underlying my “fall from faith,” and many more have been added over the past few years.

The Catholic church is broken. By broken, I mean that it doesn’t function in a way that adds up to a sum good for humanity. Since its inception, the Catholic church has committed genocide, portrayed the Bible as a proper guide to morality and — most recently and saliently — enabled and covered up horrific abuse.

It’s weird and gross. Over the past two decades alone, we’ve learned about scandal after scandal, cover-up after cover-up, committed at nearly every level of the church hierarchy. How is this an organization worth supporting? How can anyone give money to an organization that uses its extensive resources to enable abusive clergy to continue abusing members of the organization? Almost every major investigation has uncovered really disgusting patterns of predatory behavior followed by administrative cover-up. Why would anyone want to be a member of an organization that does this?

I am super aware of the multitude of tepid, vague responses to my questions — faith and tradition always seem to come up. Catholics justify their participation in the church by citing a belief system that is inherently arbitrary and often self-contradictory, and I refuse to entertain this belief system by swimming into theological or biblical waters — I won’t reference the numerous bible verses or church teachings which suggest that membership in the Catholic church is not at all necessary for salvation because I think it’s unhelpful to cite a source as fundamentally flawed and self-contradictory as the Bible. Instead, I’ll use common sense morality.

A good test of whether or not you are in an organization worth supporting:

  1. Does my organization have a recurring pattern of abuse?
  2. Does my organization have a recurring, systemic pattern of enabling and covering up abuse?
  3. Does my organization use member resources (donations, legal expertise/connections, etc.) to commit, enable and/or cover up abuse?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, I strongly encourage you to reconsider membership in your organization. Chances are you can find a somewhat similar group that doesn’t abuse people.