Busted Halo
feature: politics & culture
December 27th, 2010

Why Are They Still Here?

Given the painful revelations of the sex scandal, why are Catholic churches not empty?


Every Sunday, all around the globe, a minor miracle is occurring that has gone almost unnoticed: despite continuing revelations about the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, somehow the churches aren’t empty. Despite all the terrible news about the Catholic Church sitting at the top of everyone’s RSS feed for days on end, it was still standing room only at the Holy Week events. While it is strictly anecdotal evidence, people are still coming to church even when the reports of the sex scandal are so dire. Can you imagine any other organization on earth weathering this type of negative publicity over this long a period and still being able to function?

So we asked young Catholics themselves why they still come to church. Is it simply out of obligation? Do they defend the church? Are they able to see value in their faith despite institutional mismanagement?

Bill McGarvey, Joe Williams and Brittany Janis visited a parish with a large young adult population to ask that question and several others. This video is a small sampling of the many thoughtful answers we received.

But we would like to hear your thoughts as well…

Share your thoughts about the scandal, the Church’s response and your own spirituality as reflected in what is going on. Submit your comment below, or upload a video response on the video’s Youtube page — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnuN1eG3dk4.

Originally published April 15, 2010.

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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • moose70

    remember that “we” are the church. so when you say “they are covering it up” you really should say ” we are covering it up or allowing it to be covered up”. don’t quit the church because of the sex scandal. don’t just hope and pray for change to happen. step forward and help make it happen. check out “voice of the faithful” which is one group trying to work within the church to make necessary changes happen within the church.

  • I once heard an interview during the height of the Boston Scandal:reporter,If you were abused why do you still go to church? Woman replied, “No human being is going to destroy my relationship with my God and I need all the help that the sacraments offer”. I chose to remain in the church. My question now is why and how can the hierarchy still promote those who have helped cover up and protect the abuser? This is the question that still disturbs me to this day. (note to editor: do not use my name as it has taken me many years to forgive as encouraged by my Jesuit confessor……)

  • Joe Callander

    The church is going through a change where the people are realizing these criminals who have and still are sexually abusing children are not going to be tolerated. Also, they are going to ask the higher hierarchy who are responsible for moving, covering up and protecting these priests to step down because they are just as guilty as the abusers.
    Let me ask this question of the priests who are doing the work of God “How can you work with these criminals?”

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