Remember the amazing Twitter thread earlier this week by Prof. Susan Reynolds, the Atlanta-area Catholic who observed an angry man stand up in mass to confront his priest about the abuse scandal? The man, one Naka Nathaniel, has now written an op-ed for The New York Times explaining why he did what he did, and what he wants out of it. Turns out that the story was too good to be true, pretty much (though this is not Dr. Reynolds’ fault). Excerpts:
In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, I naturally turned to the church for solace. But on the following Sunday, to my surprise, none of the church leaders at Mass acknowledged what had just happened. I was deflated and left feeling empty. Soon after, the sexual abuse scandal erupted.
The repugnant stories of abuse touched my peers. I blamed the clergy. My wife and I moved abroad, and I stopped attending Mass regularly. But as I traveled in the developing world, I was proud to see Catholic missionaries working in the most desperate situations driven by our shared faith. I have still occasionally felt the pull of Sunday Mass.
It was the church’s own teachings that made me stand up on Sunday and question the priest.
So wait a minute: he hasn’t been a regular massgoer for 15 years or longer, but he decided to show up this past Sunday to pull a stunt?
After establishing his pro-LGBT bona fides in this op-ed by praising his own activism as a straight man on that front, Nathaniel makes the following demand:
But we should go further and demand that every ordained member of the Catholic Church resign, including the pope. If any other organization had covered up the rampant sexual abuse of children, the government would rightly shut it down. Why should the Catholic Church be any different?
I’m mad at the church administration, as I was in 2002. But now I’m also angry at the congregation. I’m upset with the people who aren’t demanding that every member of the clergy resign.
Catholics cannot keep on filling the pews every Sunday. It is wrong to support the church.
As the Catholic reader who tipped me off to this column said:
I assume people love him, but to me it’s a huge let down. A fraud. He’s not a regular Mass goer, and appears to have shown up with his kid in tow to stage the whole thing.
He asked the priest “how” to make change, but he wasn’t there to hear a message. He was there to deliver one. Liberalize on the gay stuff. So guys who haven’t been to church since 2002 will… what?
Doesn’t make him a bad guy. He’s a better guy than a few cardinals I can name. But this is what the church did to itself. Turned guys like this into heroes so they can memorialize their heroism in the NYT.
All the priests should resign? What’s that even mean?
Doesn’t need to mean anything. It means more than nothing.