Why Do Good Men Leave?
In the past while, I have read two books by believing Christian families where the husband was born and raised in the Catholic Church, but have fallen away, though deepened their belief in Our Lord and Saviour. They are excellent testimonies to the action of Christ in the lives of these man and their families.
I read "first things first" about Kurt and Brenda Warner, he late of the Arizona Cardinals, my sorta home NFL team here in Tucson AZ. He wrote to a minor extent about being raised Catholic, and about how his meeting of his wife to be Brenda made him question the weak faith that he had, and brought him to a belief in Christ as His own saviour. It is an excellent book, and I recommend it.
Next, I read the story of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, the family of the story Blind Side, a high grossing movie of how they adopted Michael Oher, who lived on the streets of Memphis, and the success that has come of that. Though Michael Oher has made it into the NFL himself, it was in no small part due to the love given to him by the Tuohy's, but which he returned as well. Sean Tuohy was raised in a Catholic home, but it was Leigh Anne's faith that inspired him to commit himself to Christ. Again, I recommend this book.
Here are two Catholic Christian men, who have been inspired by the love of faith filled women to commit to Christ, and to make their lives about giving of themselves to them, to their children, and to others. The charity work and focus of both of them and their wives is very commendable. I am an admirer of both of these families for their commitment to their faith, and to living it out daily.
But, I want to know why these men felt it necessary to leave the Catholic Church. The obvious answer is that the Catholic Church did not appear to be feeding that deep desire inside them to enter into relationship with Our Saviour. This is not a criticism of them, but a criticism of the Catholic Church. Why did we, the foundational Church of Jesus Christ not feed them in their need to draw close to Him? We have the food. We call it Eucharist. It is the real presence of Jesus Christ for us to feed upon.
If you know in your heart that the Eucharist is real food, that it is in fact the Body of Our Lord and Saviour, where can you go except to the Catholic Church?
These are the words that they were taught as children, but faith is caught not taught, and though they were taught the words, it was not allowed to enter into their hearts. We, the Catholic Church lost these two fine men to a faith that is not a broad and full, but which animates them daily.
For Catholics, the sacraments are life giving, and enriching, and yet we hide them under a bushel basket.
Praise God, they have faith that is alive and have love for their families and for mankind.
Imagine, if you can, what would happen, if these fine people of faith, the Warner's and Tuohy's had access to the sacraments of Eucharist and Confession, and availed themselves of them. Those inside the Catholic Church, who receive the sacraments faithfully, and live them out in their daily lives become spiritual giants.
However, many abuse the sacraments, and approach the Eucharist chewing gum, waving to their friends, talking their way through Mass. And confession. Who goes to Confession any more? Though we all need it, and should approach this sacrament with regularity, most of us do not.
If these men and their families were members of the Catholic Church, their families would treat the sacraments with the kind of respect that they treat each other and their faith communities, and they would inspire more of us to live our faith more openly and fully.
I am saddened that we do not have them in full communion with us, though I am encouraged to see them living lives of faith in these troubles times.
The sacraments, we believe, are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification. We have 7 official sacraments, and we need them. But there is an 8th sacrament IMHO, and that is the outward sign of faith filled Christians living out their faith in this world we inhabit, unabashedly, and humbly.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in your love for the Warner and Tuohy families.