Lent (Day 28) — Jimmy Breslin’s “The Church that Forgot Christ,” cont’d.

Much of chapter 2 involves Breslin on a pilgrimage of sorts — he takes the train to a nursing home in Queens, and as he travels through his neighborhood, and through the many parishes he had known as a young man in high school and early adulthood, he reflects back on what those places had meant to him, and what the devastating news of what also went on in such places had done to so many.  He had figured he had to leave the church to turn his attention to exposing such crimes, and he encounters others who had to do likewise.  What he finds interesting is that the spirit that his early church experience had engendered had not gone away, even if he no longer had any belief in the institutional church.  And, as someone who grew up in the church, and knew some of the priests who later came to be exposed in the Boston Globe, I have to say the whole matter gets me quite angry, and yet, like Breslin, I can’t give up some of that experience, that place where I started.  My mom’s mom, had lived her entire life in the same parish, and had actually been there when the church itself was built  She, in many ways, was one with the parish.  And there is that history and sense of place that one cannot escape, even if one no longer accepts a lot of the teachings of the church.  In some ways, it’s a lot like family.  

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