We matter because we can transmit truths and practices that bring meaning to life. Those truths often stand in contrast to the conventions of the larger culture. In fact, religion at its best teaches ideals and practices that are counter-cultural.
There is no wonder that people continue to lose faith in religion due to the actions of leaders across the religious spectrum. But does the misconduct of these disgraced individuals reflect poorly upon the religion they serve?
Noxious fumes assault my senses as I pull up to Old Mission Santa Barbara on a foggy Monday morning. The 'Queen of the Mission's' website said to expect "graceful lines with soft, blending colors" but I was still rubbing my eyes as I approached the front of the Spanish Colonial Revival buildings.
Just under 10 years ago, I came forward with a secret that haunted the majority of my life. A secret that I once swore I'd never tell anyone, it ate at the fiber of my soul every single second of every day. Now, I am proud of myself for doing what I once believed I'd never be able to do.
I kept my secret for eight years. For eight years I suffered in silence through the horrors of my own personal Hell. I endured close to a decade of rage, tears and ultimately self-destruction. The memories are nauseating, the shame unparalleled. The trauma didn't stop when my abuse did.
Unless civil society is prepared swiftly to try, convict and imprison these men -- all of them and for decades -- the Church should not be permitted to foist pederasts, one after the next, on the rest of us.
I have this tendency to speak out strongly against something that seems to be an injustice that is causing others real harm or pain. I have this tendency to function prophetically -- and to then pull back out of fear, out of self-doubt and second-guessing my motive or mood.
Twelve new apostles of truth -- they call themselves The Catholic Whistleblowers -- are raising their voices against a system of cover-up and denial, calling on Pope Francis to follow a six-point plan for ending the era of scandal caused by priests who have sexually abused children.
Often lost in the shadow of the Archdiocese of New York, and its larger-than-life cardinal, Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., is attracting national attention these days for all the wrong reasons.