Yesterday, I was watching a video entitled "Moving Art - Gratitude," which contained a beautiful, meditative narration by Brother David Steindl-Rast, and I thought to myself, 'This is the true beauty of Christ; this is the essence of Christian spirituality; this would convert billions.' Brother David Steindl-Rast is a Catholic monk - and I found myself thinking, again, 'If such a wise, spiritually awake man is satisfied with remaining as a Catholic, why can't I?' Then, moments later, I was reading about how the Vatican is cracking down on American feminist nuns - and oh, the comments that followed were egregious. I realized then why I have had so much trouble remaining Catholic: "Catholicism" has become more of a political position than it has as spiritual body of believers; there's so much negativity happening in the Catholic Church, and millions upon millions of Catholics from the faithful to the dissident are angry about something; even the monks are confused, many of them becoming Zen masters in addition to priests in the wake of Merton; there is such a dearth of priests that the ones we have are spread like too little butter over bread so that the 99 sheep rather the one which remains faithful are left to wander aimlessly; and there is NOTHING going on in my own parish or any other parish near me…and trust me, as someone who has been part of RCIA, the Knights of Columbus and the Stewardship Commission I should know. There's very little good going on in the Catholic Church. Sure, there are good-hearted souls who feed the hungry, who help destitute in the Phillipines, who act in the name of environmentalism and social justice, who live the words of Jesus and do their best to live holy, fulfilling lives - but this isn't any indication of the truth of the Catholic Church as I have seen and read reports of Orthodox, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists doing the same.
People like David Steindl-Rast, Richard Rohr, and Thomas Keating inspire me, but the political authoritarianism of the USCCB and the Vatican is such a let down. Orthodoxy seems to present the nature of the Christian faith without all the Bull.