As much as I wish it wasn’t so, there times I wonder why I’m still Catholic. Decades of reporting on the church, particularly those nasty years in the early part of this century covering the sex abuse crisis, can do that to a soul. Being cursed with a questioning nature also plays against me; I’m so easily distracted by the non-essential (doctrine on artificial contraception in marriage; an all-male, all-celibate priesthood) that I’m tempted to dismiss the essential (the Creed, the Eucharist) as not enough. But then something horrific happens, and I see the response of the Catholic community and I remember why this is my home: the People of God.
This week, Amy Welborn’s husband died. Amy is a Catholic journalist, a prolific author and until she slowed down last year, a powerhouse blogger of up-to-the-minute Catholic news. Her husband, Michael Dubriel, was equally over-achieving: a book editor, columnist, author, blogger compelling pro-life speaker, etc., etc., etc. As the news of Michael’s death ping-ponged around the Catholic blogosphere, hearts broke for Amy and her small children, and messages of goodwill, prayers said, and Masses celebrated poured into her email inbox.
I never met Amy, although we exchanged a few e-mails many years ago and I read her books and blogs. Theologically, we differ: She is a fervent Catholic apologist while I’m a fervent Catholic questioner. But the wonderful thing about the Catholic Church is that there’s room for both of us (in spite of what those on the far right and far left might say) and that amazing Catholic togetherness – in spite of differences over theology, doctrine or modes of practice – is the great blessing of this ancient faith. The doors are always open, to sinners and saints alike, and when one of us hurts, all of us ache. Even if she does not know it yet, this union will keep Amy going in the days and months to come. It is the light of family in the darkness of grief, and it is a saving grace. A member of the blogosphere has set up this to help Amy and her children, if you are so moved.