Catholics ‘certainly’ respond to US Bishops on parody Twitter account

Catholics share experiences on Twitter

Catholics have taken to Twitter to share personal stories of their church experiences, and many of the tales are not positive.

A Twitter account was initially created as a parody of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. But it has taken on a new meaning with two invitations for Catholics.

In one tweet, it asked people to share the time they felt most at home in the Catholic Church; in another, it asked people to share the time they felt least at home in the Catholic Church.

The invitation to share moments of exclusion and hurt at the hands of the church generated a significant response.

Some of the responders shared experiences that caused them to leave the Catholic Church.

Many others expressed embarrassment that they had witnessed or personally experienced hurt in a church to which they still belong, a church they still love and want to trust.

The responders had many different stories to tell of grappling with the Catholic Church, and with elements of their own identities. But they shared a common desire for the church to take a clear look at its shortcomings and strive to do better.

Richard “Rickard” Morin is autistic and dyslexic. He remembered “being told by well-meaning parishioners that…I didn’t have enough faith because I said prayer won’t make me not be autistic and dyslexic.”

He went on to share the discomfort he feels “anytime a Catholic says vaccines ‘cause autism.’

Flora Tang who identifies as queer, tweeted about a homily she heard during her days as a master’s student. “… the priest went on a 5-min long rant during the homily about how ‘[people] are inventing what marriage means these days’ and other homophobic stuff. I pretty much just sobbed out loud in my pew for the rest of Mass.”

“Hearing the homophobic remarks wasn’t surprising, but nonetheless hurtful as I was a queer Catholic who was just trying to worship that day,” she said.

Dr Marcus Mescher’s tweet in response to the parody account hit on experiences at Mass that so many Catholics can recognize. “Anytime a priest uses his homily to shame a person or group makes parishioners think ‘Do I matter? Do I count? Do I belong?’”

Mescher noted that there are 30 million former Catholics in the United States today.

It’s a group that has more members than any religious denomination in the country besides Catholics.

As far as he’s concerned, that number reflects a church in crisis. He hopes that anyone who considers that an urgent matter will take stories like the ones shared on Twitter seriously.

“If we ignore this, not only is nothing going to change, but we’re going to keep wounding people,” he said.

Mescher suggests that we take a constructive turn and ask another telling question: “What would it be like to build the kind of church we want?”


America Magazine

Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: ,