Why I Stay

My weekly column for the Parish Bulletin has garnered some interest, and so I reproduce it here…

I was asked recently—by a non-Church member I hasten to add—why I stay in ordained ministry and in the Church in light of the kind of revelations that came from the recent Royal Commission. Surely, they suggested, someone of integrity couldn’t stay in an organisation that had been shown to have made so many gross errors.

And it’s true. I couldn’t stay in an organisation like that.

But I don’t belong to an organisation.

Being Christian, and being a Catholic Christian in my case, is not a question of filling out a membership application form, and then becoming a member. My belonging to the Church is a choice, certainly, but it is a choice that is predicated on something much more than a mere human desire to belong to an organisation.

Being part of the Church—with all its faults, all its good parts—comes about because first and foremost I belong to Christ. Having been gifted with faith by God’s grace, having had that faith nourished within a family of faith—both of blood and of fellow believers—I choose to be part of something that is bigger than me, and to remain part of that something.

The bottom line is that I can’t not be part of the Church, even though there are times—many of late—where I find myself becoming angry at what ‘the Church’ has done, or failed to do.

And so I stay, and I continue to do what I can to correct the failings of the Church that those ‘on the inside’ are so aware of, so that the Church—that’s us!—can continue to be about all the good things that the Church has done, is doing, and will continue to do in the future.

And I draw comfort from the realisation that I am not alone in having made that choice, and continuing to make that choice, to stay.

So a very big thank you to you, the people of the God in this place, who continually witness to me your desire to continue to be ‘the Church’ in this time and in this place.