Letter to the Editor

Francis Boccuzzi, Graduate Student

At the center of the Catholic faith stands the concept of vocation. A vocation should be understood as a process of living and reflection leading to a life that God intends for us. This spans farther than the priesthood, and instead is applicable to every single individual, since God formed each one of us in a specific way for a beautiful purpose. While each individual has a vocation, what is the vocation of the Church and how is this vocation brought to life within our Carroll community?

Theologians speak of the Church as a sacrament, since a sacrament is a visible symbol of a supernatural reality. For example, the sacrament of marriage is an amazing and loving bond between two individuals that symbolizes God’s love for humanity and the commitment that we share with God. The Church, both as an institution and as a body of individuals, is a symbol of God’s presence and action in our world. Therefore, the vocation of the Church should be understood as the spreading of God’s love, compassion and care to all of humanity through the testament and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Within the community, vocal members have portrayed an image of God that is not reflective of the vocation of the Church. Since the beginning of the semester, some Catholics who may suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect, have relentlessly labored against the immorality of abortion, advocating for the use “Church Weapons”, using inflammatory rhetoric, by stating that plague of racism should take a backseat to abortions, and finally objectifying Martin Luther King Jr. as a tool against abortion. This letter stands as a question about the true vocation of Catholics within our community, Church and within the world. This letter does not stand as a rejection of abortion, as abortion, within a context, is a legitimate issue within our country and is justly understood as a sin within the Church.

Throughout the last year, and continuing today, the Catholic Church has been shaken with allegations and revelations of horrid sexual abuse, which plagues the Church on multiple levels. Many of these despicable acts have been intentionally hidden and it has become necessary that Catholics face this travesty, since it may forbid both Catholics and the Church from following their vocation and being present within the world. If Jesus Christ and the Church, as the representation of Christ on earth, is meant to be the moral standard of the world, Catholics have lost all footing unless this crisis is dealt with justly. And this same standard should be held within our community. While it is just and proper to lament about the atrocities of abortion within our country, this lamenting must also be self-reflective if it is to be of importance. Many Catholics within our community have neglected to understand the magnitude of this epidemic. Furthermore, and horribly so, some Catholics have intentionally avoided this problem, and instead cast stones at other individuals and communities, attempting to feel comfort in a shell of illusion.

A possible resolution to this problem may lie within the Gospels. In John 7:53-8:11, Jesus is confronted by a group of pharisees and scholars who bring forth an adulterous wife and ask if she should be punished and stoned to death. Within the laws of Moses, found in the Hebrew Scripture, the consequences of a married woman committing adultery is death. (Interestingly, a married man could only commit adultery by having sex with a married woman, and sex with an unmarried woman was not considered adultery). Jesus’ answer to the question is simple, yet revolutionary. He responds, saying “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Once the group dispersed, he asks the woman if anyone condemned her, and upon her response of no, he says “Then neither do I condemn you … Go now and leave your life of sin.” When it comes to sins, God is the ultimate judge and perhaps, before we condemn others for their sins, calling for exhaustive and incendiary action, we should reflect upon our actions and how this aligns with our vocation. An insight by Theodor Adorno may also be helpful, with the exchange of one word: “To take the [Catholic Church] as seriously as its unquestioned role demands, means to take it seriously critically, and not to cower in the face of monopolistic power.”