It’s Holy Week. And once again, I arrive at this moment realizing that I suck as a Catholic.
Except for some reading I actually accomplished, Lent was a dismal failure. I haven’t been to Mass once, and it looks like I won’t be hitting the confessional until after Easter. I think about God a lot, and I pray each night with Frannie, but my rosary beads have largely gone untouched. I’ve been cranky about the Church, and anything that smacks of traditional Catholic practice or belief leaves me guarded in case it’s linked to some kind of scary far-right extremism.
So, I gravitate to my old comfort zone of moderate evangelicals and Catholic voices like Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Fr. Jim Martin, and Franciscan Fr. Casey Cole. My media consumption veers sharply away from EWTN and Relevant Radio now, and more toward America and U.S. Catholic magazines. It feels like the more outspokenly traditionalist and more-orthodox-than-thou the voice is these days, the more likely the voice belongs to angry people who hate the current pope and/or hold frightening views on COVID-19 vaccines, political conspiracy theories, and policies that support the common good.
So much for gravitating back to basics this Lent and getting to know Jesus again. There is that – but then I think, Jesus, have you even met these people?
(Yeah, I know: He has. And yeah, I know: They need His mercy as much as I do.)
Between the pandemic that still scares me from Mass and the divisive politics in the Church today, I feel a lot farther from Rome than ever.