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UNC student: Catholic Church has 'lost its moral standing'

Posted March 11, 2013

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— 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.

Catholic UNC student wants 21st century policies from new pope Catholic UNC student wants 21st century policies from new pope

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."

51 Comments

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  • mrschizzy Mar 13, 1:23 p.m.

    As a life long, educated, and practicing Catholic myself (and still in the "young" ages"), I can tell you this girl has no clue.

  • ishami Mar 13, 8:59 a.m.

    21 and as mature as a 7 year old. Nice.

  • 4Strikes Mar 12, 11:39 a.m.

    ""Why do you think that it has been around for so long?"

    A lot of institutions have been around for "so long". Such as prostitution, for example. Longevity is hardly proof of moral standing." Sumo Vita

    My point had nothing to do with moral standing

  • 4Strikes Mar 12, 11:25 a.m.

    "4Strikes - "WRAL is purely agenda driven now. They have very little to do with actual news."

    And YOU cannot differentiate between NEWS and human interest stories. Agenda driven... what agenda?" seankelly15

    My comment was a response to someone else, genius.

  • Wiser_now Mar 12, 11:23 a.m.

    @seankelly
    A divorce is a civil action.
    An annulment is the dissolution of a marriage that did not meet the requirements of the sacrament of marriage when the vows were exchanged. It is not the duplication of the divorce. It does not cost a lot and I believe a person can even get it done with no cost if necessary. It offers a lot of Catholics closure and encouragement.

  • 4Strikes Mar 12, 11:22 a.m.

    "Traditions die slowly....but they do die. The world has changed a lot over the last 50 years....people like the Catholic Church and the Taliban resist the change but its unlikely either will win in the long run......you can only fool people for so long." Grand Union

    Everything goes in cycles. Radicals come and go, Taliban, Nazis, liberal/progressives, etc. The Catholic church has survived all of it. It is laughable that one of you fringe groups thinks you will change it. Soon enough you will be gone and they will be reading about your failures in history books.

  • Grand Union Mar 12, 10:57 a.m.

    "Why do you think that it has been around for so long?"

    Traditions die slowly....but they do die. The world has changed a lot over the last 50 years....people like the Catholic Church and the Taliban resist the change but its unlikely either will win in the long run......you can only fool people for so long.

  • Grand Union Mar 12, 10:48 a.m.

    "Morals, Watch in a Few months when the College Students go on Spring Break."

    LOL spring break is now............and having college age kids myself its seems things are pretty much the same as they were when I was in college.

    " Thanks to Liberalism There are no More Morals."

    and who gets to decide what is moral and what is not? you?

    " We Will See. Liberalism destroyed the Democratic Party,"

    Really, thats weird since they just won the presidency and hold the Senate.......if anything its the religiously obsessed GOP thats falling apart right now......

    :" Now it wants the Catholic Church to change it's thinking on Abortion and Gay Special Rights."

    Its either that or the church dies a slow lingering sink into irrelevancy as it has in Europe.

  • Sumo Vita Mar 12, 10:35 a.m.

    "Why do you think that it has been around for so long?"

    A lot of institutions have been around for "so long". Such as prostitution, for example. Longevity is hardly proof of moral standing.

  • GravyPig Mar 12, 10:29 a.m.

    "Hang in there"? I don't see any changes on their stance even with a new Pope. What is and always has been will continue to be the wat will always be. Any deviation from the path will upset other parishoners.

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WRAL anchor David Crabtree reports from around the world.