The World of Grandpa Don

How Could I Go Back?  

In response to a request in August of 2002, I submitted the following article to Lonni Collins Pratt for possible inclusion in a book. An email was later received thanking me for my contribution.  In December, 2002, not having heard more, I sent an inquiry but the email came back as undeliverable. I assume the book is dead. Having taken the time and effort to record my thoughts, I offer them here.

p.s. This is not the same as the Willard Scott book.


I am asked, In the light of the current priest pedophile scandal in the church, have I decided to remain a Catholic and why? Until the question was asked, it didn’t occur to me that a choice was needed, and so, I remain a Catholic.

  The question is really,... why am I a Catholic?  

I am a ‘cradle Catholic’, born and raised in the faith. I am a product of Catholic grade schools and a Catholic high school, a former altar boy in a time when the Mass was celebrated in Latin and the altar boys responded for the congregation of people who ‘attended’ Mass. But after high school the church could not answer my questions. There was no logic in it. I’m not referring to the Gospel message. I knew little of that. I am talking about rules and regulations. My doubts in that regard led me to question the existence of God.  

When, after many years and the influence of many people, Catholic and non-Catholic, I rediscovered God and found my own spirituality, I was already a Catholic in name and I had been ‘attending’ Mass. I found myself in a new parish, a parish populated with welcoming Christians, dedicated to their faith and full of love for everyone. I finally realized that the church was its members, not the institution. I was absorbed into their midst and became one of them, or rather, part of them. I consider myself to be what I call a ‘born again’ Catholic and I found myself participating at Mass, not just ‘attending’. I now go to Mass because I want to be there and feel a need to be there.  I am enriched by our parish liturgies and supported by my parish family. 

What was the effect on me by the priest pedophile scandal? I felt guilty as a member of the church that tolerated and hid the problem for years and most likely, centuries. I felt angry with the bishops who allowed the problem to exist and who felt that to hide it would ‘protect the church’ and prevent ‘loss of faith’ in the church. This, I think, is the greater sin. Even worse there are the bishops who participated in these terrible acts. Did it shake my faith? No! My faith was never in the institution of the church, which is a man made organization and as such is imperfect. One has only to read church history to realize that with the help of the Holy Spirit, the church has survived a continuous series of scandals, evils and mistakes. The church, as an institution, will go on, hopefully, the better for having survived, learning from another blunder.

  Where else would I go? My parish is still the welcoming, loving place it has been. Our priests are excellent homilists, enriching our minds with the Word of God. The Eucharist is not diminished in any way and still is the food I need for my soul. God had been inviting me to return to Him, sending messages for years, some subtle and some not, all the time patiently waiting for me to respond. Now that I have, I find myself at peace with Him and myself. I can picture Jesus with His arm around me, both of us with smiles of contentment on our faces.

  In my senior years, I have made it my mission to be a witness to God’s goodness and His many gifts, many of which were given at a time that I didn’t know Him. I have a personal web page that, in part, attests to the goodness of God and the way he has worked in my life. Leaving the church would be a repudiation of my faith and a ticket back to the ‘dark ages’ of my spiritual life.  I could not do that.  

ă Copyright 2002 
Donald J Plefka 

May be copied only with permission of the author.

Read the Email


Articles by Grandpa Don

I have written things from time to time and love doing it. While working, it was confined to instructions and procedures. Now I can be a little more creative.

How Could I Go Back?    

The World of Grandpa Don 

Free JavaScripts provided
by The JavaScript Source