A few days ago the Catholic blogosphere was all abuzz over the return of Katie Holmes to her Catholic roots. Yes, the soon-to-be-former Mrs. Cruise has registered in a parish in New York.
According to the article proclaiming Ms. Holmes' return to the practice of her Catholic faith, Saint Francis Xavier parish is: known for inclusive thinking and its welcoming of many gay and lesbian Catholics. Its mission statement indicates that the Roman Catholic Church parish “strives to be a prophetic, welcoming community, inclusive witness to the presence of Christ Jesus in our midst.” Its website proclaims that it is a respectful community, “where seekers and their questions are welcomed, where injustice is challenged, where the poor, the alienated and marginalized find a home, and where people are refreshed, reconciled and renewed. So, not the parish I would have chosen, but then, that's me.
Why, oh why, did I feel the need to say anything? Of course, my intention was not to slam Katie Holmes, my intention was to question the orthodoxy of the parish in which she has chosen to register. It was stupid of me, and re-reading my comment it does sound on the uncharitable side. Certainly, we should celebrate when anyone chooses to return to Christ's flock. We must meet them where they are spiritually and welcome them.
My comment was surely not of the welcoming variety, but neither was it overly harsh or critical. This is what I said, "Not to sound too judgmental, as I suppose it is a baby step in the right direction, but if this is the parish she chooses, Ms. Holmes has a very long way left to go to be considered home." I stand by my comment as being the truth, if not the truth in charity. Believe me, I agree, her stepping away from Scientology is a very good thing!
From there, I (along with a few other folks who agreed with my point) was raked over the coals as being uncharitable, overly judgemental, harsh, and suspicious. And honestly, I get it. Those criticizing me over my remark do not know me as a person in the least. Had they known me, they could have gently pointed out their disagreement in my judgement and we could have had a real, honest, and insightful conversation rather than the sniping that ensued. I haven't responded in the least. I know it won't make a smack of difference to anyone, even myself. Lesson learned. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
As a side note, I did visit the parish website, and while it seems they say all the right things there is something definitely off. Should a Catholic have to wait and schedule an appointment for confession during the summer rather than having regular confession hours available? Should a Catholic parish have a Zen Meditation group? Sigh. Enough said for today.