November 3, 2012 by lucieromarin
This blog exists because my friends exist, and, during the past year or so, the conservative Catholics amongst them have started sharing, in furtive conversations, in half-ashamed whispers, a feeling that we never shared when we started out together on the Catholic highway. The feeling is… disappointment.
It started out so well! Remember? Somewhere in your twenties, your True Vocation was waiting for you, just over the next horizon! In pursuit of it, you filled your car with petrol and zoomed on ahead, not noticing the bodies by the side of the road. You discovered that Wonderful Spiritual Group; you found the Great Apostolate (or, even better, the Church Job) and signed up to work for it seven days out of seven; that Nice Couple was by your side, ready with praise and advice; a fellow traveller stopped for you when your car broke down, and you thought the company was not half bad. You knew it was just ahead of you – the city of gold, where you’ve embraced your vocation, saved the Church, and proved to everyone that all of your sacrifice was worth it.
And then, you turned thirty or thirty-five or forty, and now you see the landscape for what it really is. The only men on the road are the Modesty Police (plus unemployed hitchhikers who can’t drive) and they won’t examine the roadkill, because it’s wearing a clerical collar, and they can’t risk discovering that one of their own has dumped it there. The nice guy who stopped for you turned out to be a sociopath; your boss works half your hours on six times your wages; the Wonderful Spiritual Group turned out to be a cult; the Great Apostolate gave you burnout (and a public scolding when you took a day off); that Nice Couple just wanted free babysitting, and when you turned around three times in the cold shower, you didn’t get chastity, but bronchitis. You’ve sat through a hundred vocations retreats, talks, sermons and testimonies; you’ve stuffed two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand envelopes; given three hundred weekends and nine hundred evenings to conferences, prayer-vigils, rehearsals, marches, speeches, meetings, and the scrubbing of brass, and at the end of it, all you are is older than you were when you started, and broke. Your car veers off the highway and, as you tumble out of it, it strikes you that the whole point of the horizon is that it can never be reached. Finally, you realise that you actually prefer funerals to weddings, at which point, you give up, sitting weeping and penniless in the ditch, and near out of petrol (still wondering why no one asks who the priest is and how he got so beat up)…and that’s when the Family Man in the Minivan hurtles past – his vehicle stuffed with children – and his wife calls out from the window, “Cheer up, honey! You could still end up this good!”
You know what? It’s good to ask, “Is this my fault?” for it is possible for us to be our own worst enemies. But I’ll tell you something else…if you’ve ended up as roadkill, it’s not your fault. You’re not a failure. You’re not a failure. You’re not a failure.
You’re a casualty. You’ve been hit by the giant Bus of Righteousness and there’ll never be an official outreach to you, because that would mean acknowledging that you were hurt by one of your own.
This blog is for the roadkill; it’s for the Catholics who feel a disappointment they cannot share or a hurt they cannot express. It’s not a name-and-shame blog, or a pity-party, or a call to apostasy. It’s a deal-and-heal affair; it’s about climbing out of the ditch and getting back in the car with your dignity and faith intact, God at your side, and a map that actually works.