Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Abdul Pridgen will lead the district’s community-based safety program
Li Khan, Editor in Chief • June 21, 2024
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Rym-Maya Kherbache, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
A cap at the Laney College commencement ceremony on May 24 reads in Spanish, This is for my mom who gave me everything. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
Graduations, resignations and more: PCCD Trustees wrap up school year at 5/28 meeting
Romi Bales, Staff Writer • June 17, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024

    I’m a Shaky Catholic.

    I need evidence the church is going to stand up to evil it preaches against.

    By Alice Robinson

    Robinson’s Oakland based church, Our Lady of Lourdes Church has been located at northeast side Lake Merritt since 1921. (photo by Michelle Snider)

    From my actions in the pew and in my life, you wouldn’t notice I’m a questioning Catholic. This fall, I even planned to go on a pilgrimage to visit ancient sites like St. Teresa’s hangout in Avila, Spain, but the trip was canceled due to low sign ups.

    I worry that the phrase “questioning Catholic” sounds like I’m afraid to take the leap to leave the church. In my mind there’s nothing worse than existing in the middle. There are lots of reasons I like the church-my religion is part of how I navigated life choices and battled depression in my 20’s. I’m now 41.

    For all of its good points like helping the poor and an unbending faith, Catholic rituals and beliefs at times suffocate me, or at the very least, don’t allow comfortable breath. Mass can feel like a conformist exercise where everyone repeats the same remarks in a monotonous voice.

    I believe women should have the right to an abortion. However, I’ve listened to many a ramble by priests proclaiming with conviction that life begins at conception, but I can’t help but question what a church brass that appoints only men to the pulpit can know about women’s bodies.

    Most Sundays I sit on the hard bench, smiling gamely, an examining-things Catholic but not yet comfortable making a full-blown exit.

    The Catholic Church is being confronted with new and severe scrutiny, due to the uncorking of abuses by a Pennsylvania grand jury report a couple of months ago. The report accuses 300 priests. I grapple to understand why this hasn’t already come to the surface.

    Major leaders and priests seem to have difficulty standing up to evil in their parishes. Since the report, Pope Francis has taken minimal steps to address the abuse.

    Clearly, the church is suffering from a “see no evil, hear no evil” mindset. Ignoring the rampant actions of these abusive priests will not improve the situation down the line or lessen chances of future abuse.

    Church leaders seem to think that existing in their own removed Vatican world will protect them from being held accountable. I’ve seen the abuse addressed in church on Sunday mornings. Comments about the topic always come with a muted tone instead of a fierce one.

    This is the way the Catholic Church has coiffed itself over many decades, softly — but there is often an undercurrent of embarrassment and cluelessness, instead of taking responsibility or promoting changes like allowing priests to marry.

    In Catholicism, we’re taught to revere priests, to assume they are good — for crying out loud, we call them “Father.” The inherent assumption that they are virtuous is part of the embedded problem.

    Catholicism has a lot of ancient practices that officials have never changed. But a lot of the archaic ways of thinking are no longer feasible in 2018. The natural tendencies to think all priests are good are preventing people on all levels from reporting and punishing abusers.

    My mom, Maria Robinson, a Texas Catholic, said with anger about offender priests, “They were supposed to protect people.” She is bugged by their abuse of power.

    As my brain is wired to do so, I’ll probably land in church this weekend. When it comes time to give money, I plan to put a note in the basket, explaining that I choose not to give because of the recent abuses. It’s unlikely that this action will cause a sensation, or that the priest will notice.

    But it feels like a daring statement to me. Maybe it’s OK to uniquely analyze this faith.

    And still be Catholic.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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