UNC student: Catholic Church has 'lost its moral standing'
Posted March 11, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Gabriella Kostrzewa has always known Catholicism. The 21-year-old junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says she still loves the church, yet admits something is missing.
"I grew up going to Mass every Sunday, so Catholicism has been a huge part of my life," she said. "To be quite honest, I don’t feel I have a strong connection (anymore)."
Kostrzewa says issues, such as contraception and gay marriage, have led to that lack of connection. The child sex scandal that rocked that church rocked her as well.
"I think the church sort of lost its moral standing in how they responded to that," she said.
Her frustration is personal, too, especially when it comes to how the church treats her parents.
"My parents, who got divorced, which is not illegal, can’t receive communion. Yet, a priest who sexually abused a child can still remain a priest and keep preaching the word of God. That really doesn’t make sense to me. That’s almost, at times, irrational," Kostrzewa said.
The Rev. Michael Battle, an Episcopal priest and scholar, says he wants to encourage Kostrzewa and others who feel the same to "hang in there." He believes significant change within the Catholic Church is near, especially with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI – a move he calls courageous.
"I hope, as they’re meeting, the cardinals will reach within themselves and, for the betterment of humankind, seek the change we all need to see," Battle said.
A change of ideas and ideals is something both Battle and Kostrzewa say they believe is essential for the next pope.
"I believe this pope is going to be the pope that kind of determines the path of the church in the 21st century," Kostrzewa said. "A lot (of us) want to be inspired by the church, and we’re not right now."