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What I'm Reading Wednesday: Christ’s Body, Christ’s Wounds: Staying Catholic When You’ve Been Hurt in the Church

November 21, 2018
Photo/Jonathan Rados, Unsplash

What I'm Reading Wednesday - Christ’s Body, Christ’s Wounds: Staying Catholic When You’ve Been Hurt in the Church

Note: This book deals with mature subject matter and themes that may not be suitable for young readers.
“How can you love what has hurt you? How can you go back? I don’t know,” begins Elizabeth Scalia’s preface to Christ’s Body, Christ’s Wounds: Staying Catholic When You’ve Been Hurt in the Church(Cascade Books, 2018; edited by Eve Tushnet).  These are timely questions on the heart of many Catholics both in North America and around the world; scandal is all around us, and many are choosing to leave the Church. There are no simple answers for those of us who remain, but it can be a highly healing exercise to hear from others who share similar questions and have similar needs, to feel we aren’t so alone amidst the bewilderment and isolation of spiritual trauma.
The issues covered in this collection of essays range from racism to sexual abuse, gossip and judgement to emotional manipulation and financial fraud; chances are that everyone will be able to find at least one thing they relate to within its pages. Many stories highlight the role that good and Christ-like ordained men had in helping to make sense of the hurt and charting an initial course towards peace.  I found their holey examples particularly compelling at a time when we’re hearing a barrage of stories reported about unfaithful priests, both past and present.
Alternative titles for this volume might have been “Why I Stay” or “Getting Real in the Church”: the tone throughout is one of pain, yes, but also of love for the faith and the cleansing power of truth. Despite the human aspect of the Church not always having been a place of holiness in our lives, we still need each other; in the true community of faith, we find strength. Are you searching for consolation and a sense of togetherness amidst all the hurts of recent month? This book could be just what you need.
Favourite quote (from Elizabeth Scalia's forward, p. xii):
"There is power in the act of working out one's healing and there is power in the truth. In fact, once the truth has been spoken aloud and heart, the only place it can go, then, is to the source of all that is completely, inarguably, eternally, True. Power to power; light to light; love to love. It all begets and assists grace."