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Saying “No” to Crippled Religion

As some of you know, I have a personal blog, as it were, on the newsletter platform Substack. It’s where I go to air out my more personal and non-religious musings about the search for meaning, the pursuit of purpose, and other assorted interesting things about our sojourn in this universe.

It’s a place, in other words, to do all the writing that doesn’t really fit here.

I wrote a thing yesterday at that Substack that is at least 1P5-related, though. It’s deeply personal, and it’s uncomfortable for me to talk about openly. But I thought I’d take a risk and share it with you here.

Hemingway is credited with having said, “It is easy to write. Just sit in front of your typewriter and bleed.”

Yesterday, I sat at my keyboard and bled for hours. I wrote about how my experience of Catholicism has been one kick in the teeth after another. It wasn’t possible to fit it all in — there are other stories I could tell — but I’ve reached a point where I’ve had enough.

I’ve never been good at setting boundaries or saying no. Learning to do that is new to me. But when my pastor denied sacraments to my children last week for arbitrary and unjust reasons, something in me snapped. It’s been 24 years since I left the spiritual abuse of the Legionaries of Christ, and here I am, still dealing with it at the FSSP.

Something is deeply broken in a religion where this kind of experience is so common, and I’m not going to take it anymore.

As I said, I know that sharing this is a risk, but you all have been with me here for the past seven years on this wild tour of the worst crisis in the history of the Church. You know I’ve been struggling with my faith, with my cynicism, with questions I can’t find answers to. Many of you have been so incredibly kind and generous, and you are decidedly not the kind of trad who makes the traditional Catholic experience so negative so much of the time. I can’t thank you all enough for being the balance in the force, to borrow a crappy Star Wars metaphor. And because of that, I owe it to you to explain. To keep you in the loop. To trust that being honest about difficult things won’t cause you to turn away now.

The essay I wrote attempts to capture why I am where I am. I hope it will help those of you interested in reading it to understand. Even moreso, I hope it will help those of you who are struggling with similar things to know that you are not alone.

You can read it right here.

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