GUESTVIEW: Are Catholics masochists?

March 28, 2010
lyon catholic

Notre Dame de Fourvière Basilica, Lyon/Frédéric de La Mure

The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Isabelle de Gaulmyn is Religion Editor of the Paris Catholic daily newspaper La Croix and author of Benoît XVI, Le pape incompris (Benedict XVI, The Misunderstood Pope). She blogs in French at Une foi par semaine, where this first appeared.

Are Catholics masochists? After all that’s been happening these days, this looks like the question to ask. There were probably more than 3 million Catholics in France who went to church to celebrate Palm Sunday today. And during this Holy Week, millions more will to prepare for Easter. If the news we hear is anything to go by, these Catholics must be either mad or masochistic.

la croix uneWhy not take advantage of this Sunday to go fishing or play tennis rather than frequent a place full of pedophile priests and leaders who lie  and hush up the truth? How can there still be people in the pews, on pilgrimages, in monasteries or volunteering in one of many charities?

And what about the adults who will be baptised as Catholics on Saturday evening?*  Are they thoughtless, suicidal or stupid? In short, are Catholics “the blind being led to slaughter,” as was written in a militant secularist pamphlet dropped into my mail box?

These are legitimate questions if we go by the image of the Church found in the media now. It’s no surprise that the media focuses on the real flaws and shortcomings of the Church. But it makes Catholics feel hopeless and hurt to see their Church presented in a way that has little in common with what they experience daily in their own faith communities.

Today, the big problem Catholicism faces may not be secularisation but the Church’s inability to show the rest of society what actually happens in each of its parishes.

What do you think? Is there a disconnect between the Catholic Church you see in the news and the parish nearest you?

Follow FaithWorld on Twitter at RTRFaithWorld


* 2,903 adults will be baptised in France at Saturday evening’s Easter Vigil, a traditional time for adult baptisms. The number of adult baptisms has grown by 20%  over the past decade. The French Bishops Conference has an extensive dossier on adult baptisms (here in French).


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

We have a depiction from the liberal mainstream news media metaphorically crucifying Pope Benedict XVI this Easter. Lord knows they certainly are trying with everything they’ve got. However, it’s not as if something like this has never happened before.

For the record, the pope is innocent of any wrong doing. Every attempted smear story they throw at him falls short. All you have to do is read the details. For example; in Munich we’re talking about one case, wherein somebody beneath Ratzinger (currently Pope Benedict XVI) transferred an accused priest without Ratzinger’s knowledge or consent. Then in the case of Milwaukee, again we are talking about one accused priest, who could not be prosecuted by civil authorities and the CHARGES WERE DROPPED. Then while the Archbishop was the one and only man who could have done anything, he decided to punt the case to the Vatican instead, where it was delayed for months. Finally, when a response was given, it was given not by Cardinal Ratzinger (currently Pope Benedict XVI), but by somebody completely different, recommending the trial be canceled since the accused priest was DYING, the Archbishop of Milwaukee had not defrocked him, and CRIMINAL CHARGES HAD ALREADY BEEN DROPPED BY CIVIL AUTHORITIES. The accused priest died four months later. Once again, the responsibility lay at the Archbishop of Milwaukee’s feet, because he alone was the only one who had evidence to defrock the accused priest, and yet he tried to pass the buck to Cardinal Ratzinger’s office at the Vatican instead.

That’s it! That’s all the liberal mainstream media has! That is their whole case! Yet with that, they are trying to implicate the pope in some sort of trial by newspaper in which they alone play the JUDGE, JURY and EXECUTIONER.

Posted by drosaupan | Report as abusive

Wel, according 2 d Catholic Church every Sunday shuld b specially dedicated 2 d Almighty Lord, so theres nthing being mad 2 go 2 church on days of obligation.

Posted by PinAth | Report as abusive