Although I don't consider myself very religious, I do love a good sermon, and the priest at the church my wife's family attends is one of the best--he has an evangelical fervor that you rarely see in Catholic priests, and a lovely lilting Irish brogue that just draws you in. His sermons tend to be built upon repetition--a series of images, a string of phrases, used once, twice, three times as the build to a climax, until the blood is broiling and heart thumping and YOU CAN SEE IT, PRAISE THE LORD!! YOU BELIEVE!
Ahem. Now where was I?
Oh, yes. Well, that being said, I just didn't think this week's analogy was really appropriate. Living in the Boston area, we've seen firsthand the scandals that have affected the church (in fact, my former boss initially blew the lid on them--seriously, with Father Porter. Those were fun times to live through.)
Anyway, this week, with Christmas around the corner, Father O'Malley tried to compare the shame that Joseph felt upon first learning that Mary was pregnant with the shame parishioners must feel with the Catholic church. Okay, I guess I can buy some of it: retain faith despite adversity, never lose sight of God, etc....except for one thing--MARY DID NOTHING WRONG!!! The situations are just a wee bit different.
I guess the use of the word "alleged" was what bothered me most of all...he said that Joseph remained faithful despite his upset over what had "allegedly" occurred. No, there's nothing "alleged" going on here--there were countless cases of actual abuse occurring and the Catholic church engaging in a cover up, violating the trust placed in them by the families within their parish.
I really do think this man is a good man. You can see on his face that he's plainly grieved over what this has done to the Catholic church (although his parish still thrives). I have no beef with that. But the comparison he was drawing was simply unfortunate, that's all.