November 09, 2005

Mass exodus

CBC News

CBC News Viewpoint | November 9, 2005 | More from Vicki Robertson

Local headlines claim that more Catholic churches are closing their doors, this time in Cape Breton. One building is in such poor condition that it requires hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs. Twenty-some years ago, a priest told me that the church walls wouldn't collapse if I skipped mass. Guess he was wrong.

Growing up Catholic, I sometimes wondered about the dogma. In 1991, the Michael Harris book, Unholy Orders: Tragedy at Mount Cashel, turned innocent doubt into sickened outrage. I didn't want to believe that priests could be that deviant and the church that devious, but Harris's book was a slap in the face.

For decades, the church had kept a clean house by simply moving the dirt around from school to school and parish to parish. Its actions were no more pious than Enron's accounting practices.

The scandal shook my faith at a deeper level. It is decreed that the Pope is infallible: Catholics dare not question the church's teachings, beliefs or traditions, but after the realization that the church was awash in hypocrisy, the floodgates opened in front of me. I was liberated. I questioned everything. Evolution seemed a lot more plausible than a six-day marathon of world building, and Immaculate Conception sounded like hooey. Was it all just a fairy tale to create a civil society?

Posted by kshaw at November 9, 2005 03:09 PM