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The hardest part about being Catholic

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

October 9, 2019

Sometimes, the hardest part about being Catholic is other Catholics.

I know that sounds harsh, but I’m pretty confident nearly all of us have felt that sentiment when we’ve been on the receiving end of behavior that’s anything but Christ-like, whether it be from a priest, deacon, consecrated religious, ministry leader or the person who sits two pews ahead of us on Sunday.

When I was younger, I adopted a somewhat condescending attitude toward people who left the Church because they disagreed with a decision or how they were treated. I thought such people were weak in their faith.

I now see how wrong I was.

I’ve experienced those moments. I’ve had those times when, in anger or frustration, I think, “if this is how other Catholics behave, maybe I don’t want to be Catholic.”

I’ve been thinking and praying about such moments lately. I’ve come to a few conclusions:
• Even if they wear black clothes and a Roman collar, even if they’re a leader in ministry, even if they’re a consecrated religious, these “other Catholics” are human. They’re not perfect. They have their struggles. As Father Bill Muench wrote in his column this week, the Catholic Church is a family. Like a family, we may not always like one another, but we’re still called to love one another.

• There are times when I’m that “other Catholic.” I am absolutely certain I’ve said things, done things and made decisions that hurt or angered others. In some of those times, I was well intentioned and thought I was doing “the right thing.” In other times, I was just plain being a jerk. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I was frustrated. Maybe I had no good reason, but I was still a jerk. We all have those moments, too.

• I have a habit of getting bogged down in moments. I get frustrated and/or angry, and I lose sight of the bigger picture. I lose sight of the fact that we all make bad decisions, behave badly or have bad attitudes at times. In fact, that’s why we’re Catholic – because we all need a savior, and we all need the graces we can obtain from our Lord and His sacraments. We’re Catholic because we’re not Christ-like, but we want to be. We’re works in progress.

So, yes, sometimes the hardest part of being Catholic is other Catholics, but sometimes we need those other Catholics to learn about ourselves and how we can be better.

And please forgive me if I was ever that “other Catholic” to you.

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