By Joseph Amodeo recently organized a vigil in front of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which led to the police threatening the arrest of anyone associated with the action. In this exclusive op-ed, Amodeo explains why he has decided to leave the Catholic Church.
A few hours after the events that became known as the “Dirty Hands Vigil” unfolded at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, I received the following message from a priest I know in Manhattan:
Soon after, I found out that his disappointment was not due to the fact that ten Catholics were denied entry to the Cathedral, but rather with me because, in his view, I had attempted to cause scandal.
Well, I have a few disappointments of my own to share:
1. I am disappointed in bishops who have allowed financial interests to drive their response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis.
2. I am disappointed in a Church that has attempted to argue that same-sex couples and their families are somehow less able to live up to the Christian ideal than their heterosexual counterparts.
3. I am disappointed by a hierarchy that has attacked the dignity of women and LGBT people.
4. I am disappointed by a Church that feels it has the authority to silence academic voices like Sr. Elizabeth Johnston, Sr. Jeannine Grammick, or Fr. Robert Nugent.
5. I am disappointed by a Church that asserts free will and the supremacy of the conscience, but negates such teaching with a practical commandment to obedience and what it deems a “well-formed” conscience.
6. I am disappointed by a Church that has failed to meaningfully discern the inclusion of women in the diaconate or priesthood.
7. I am disappointed by the Church’s reliance on time. As we face progress, the Church has allowed its sluggish character to take hold of its conversations with the world.
8. I am disappointed by those who are afraid of the hierarchy.
9. I am disappointed by an institution that has used faith to bully public servants and has denied communion to those who have sought only to serve the common good.
10. I am disappointed by clergy who have used the pulpit as a means to proselytize a particular political agenda.
11. I am disappointed by the American bishops’ selfish claim of ownership of the principle of religious freedom.
In short, I am disappointed in the Church and its hierarchy. Standing in and looking around a Catholic Church, I not only feel as if I am no longer in my own home, but I also fail to recognize the Church itself. As a human being, I will not be a part of an institution that has allowed fear to drive its theology as is evident in nearly all of the issues that I cite above. For this reason, I have decided to leave the Catholic Church.
I am disappointed, frustrated, and saddened; yet amid my decision to leave the Roman Catholic Church, I am liberated. By this decision, I am following a conscience that leads me to believe that humanity has been created in the image of God. If we truly accept and believe this fundamental teaching, our world of judgment turns into a paradise of acceptance and compassion.
I am not leaving the Catholic Church because of any one particular issue or person, rather because I believe that the Church itself has lost sight of its meaning. A Church founded on hope and charity has become a tradition steeped in an approach that can best be described as “command and control.”
With this decision, some will argue that I should stay and continue efforts toward dialogue and the evolution of theology. On the other hand, some will say that I should have taken this step a long time ago, and still others will say “good riddance, so long.” The reality is that the journey of faith cannot be controlled by others, but rather is dependent only on one’s relationship with his/her Creator.
I now stand at new juncture in my faith journey. It is a place that can be described as both unfamiliar and yet eerily recognizable.
As I depart, I remain disappointed in the Roman Catholic Church and its hierarchy; however, I realize now that I am not joined by chains to the Church. In fact, it is the Church that taught me how to free myself from the bonds of oppression so as to constantly seek liberation. The question is when will the Church choose to loosen its own bonds so as to truly engage with the world around it?
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11 Replies to “Eleven Reasons Why I’m Leaving The Catholic Church”
I think this is tragic. We need people like Joseph Amodeo in the Catholic Church. For Christ’s sake this man should stay in the Church. It is awful that some Church leaders seem to be driving young people out of the Church. It is scary to think that only a small percentage of right wing conservative young people may be left from their generation in the Church. The worst part is that many of these young people may end up alienated from Christ. I read comments on one site discussing this and one person who commented expressed a dislike for Christ. We need to remember that as Catholics we are following Christ, not a particular priest or bishop.
PS. I check out your other site too from time to time but don’t comment there.
you mean http://gaycatholicpriests.org/ or http://theamateursguide.com/ or http://www.drdicksexadvice.com/ 😉
I’ve seen the others a little bit but was talking about Dr Dick’s Sex Advice.
I think porn is harmful. I think they should pass laws to raise the age for people to act in porn films to 21. I don’t think teens should be allowed to be filmed performing sex acts. I don’t think any 18 or 19 year old or younger is emotionally mature enough to be in such films. I have seen guys that look 14 or 15 being used in these films. Is that right to use youngsters in this? Even if they are 18, if someone is 18 and has the emotional maturity and/or physical maturity and/or mental maturity of a 14 year old isn’t it a crime for these kids to be exploited. What do you think? Probably a lot of kids under 18 are in these films too and most are very damaged by it. Teens are just exploited by the industry to make money. Maybe a lot of these kids do it because they are desperate for money. But how many young people in the porn industry end up with drug or alcohol addictions, sexually transmitted diseases, even AIDS, and risking suicide? I have read that many sex actors were sexually abused as children and suicide is a risk factor in this business. I wonder how many gay actors who were born in the fifties like me, are still alive. What would you say that answer to that? How many of those actors have survived to the age of 50? You are a religious and holy man. How would you bring Christ to kids in this kind of situation?
Porn is a real easy target in this culture. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. you make some excellent points about exploitation, drug and alcohol addiction, and even suicide. now, here’s a little exercise for you. Whenever you use the word porn, change it out to read Walmart or McDonalds. You will find the most of all the things you accuse porn of is also applicable to these multinational companies.
There is indeed a lot of awful stuff about porn, but if that’s the only thing that get your ire up, then i think your concern is misplaced. Take a look at this: http://www.drdicksexadvice.com/2011/09/09/something-wicked-this-way-comes/
Since this is your area of study, I am interested in your opinions here.
Do you think teenagers, kids under 20 years of age, should be allowed to act in porn films? If not, why? If so, why? Also what do you think the percentage is of porn actors who were born in the 1950’s are still alive? How dangerous an occupation is being a porn actor? I know of one man (Ralph Woods) who got out of the business and it gave me a lot of respect for him because I thought that he was a person of beauty and goodness inside and I felt that he was too good for the porn business. He even said himself that it was a dirty business. Beauty is more than a pretty face or a big dick, it was what is inside a person.
i wouldn’t advise anyone under 21 to appear in any sexually explicit material of any kind. digital material lasts forever. an early indiscretion can last a lifetime. i have no idea about the percentages of older porn personalities and life expectancy. i suspect it’s much the same for the general population.
beauty is indeed more than a big dick and a pretty face. but i’m curious; why are you on this tirade? you clearly don’t like porn. fine! by all means, have none. do you eat fast food? do you shop at Walmart? do you bank at Chase? i think these things are way more corrosive to society than porn.
I am no saint here but I feel compassion for the actors. They are in a way like coal miners of old. Many of these men gave their lives for their companies and I think many porn actors do too. Male erotica is beautiful but if people are harmed physically, emotionally or spiritually by this that is a price the actors have to pay. I think the people at the top make a lot of money but most of the actors, no. You surely don’t think that the life expectancy for porn actors is much the same as for the general population. I bet that most of the porn actors from the 1970’s and 1980’s are dead. Let’s face that truth. It is a dangerous occupation.
honestly, i don’t have the same take as you on porn or the fate of porn actors. i know a lot of them personally and what you claim about them is simply not true. are there tragedies? certainly! but you are trying to make the case that porn = tragedy. it ain’t so.
finally, your comments about the performers of the 70’s and 80’s and life expectancy is also fallacious. do you know what else was happening that that same time? i do. i lived through the plague. i know lots of good little catholic boys, who never did porn, who died of AIDS.
and ya know what, Mark, that’s all i’m gonna say on the topic. thanks for your comments.