Emma Keller writes in The Guardian about changing churches:
…I believed that the number of good people in the church outweighed the bad. I believed in the triumph of good over evil. I believed that the people in the pews around me felt as I did and we had a duty to persevere.
I would give money to the collection wondering where exactly it would end up. Would it pay off an abuser? Get laundered in Rome? Subsidize a hypocritical lavish lifestyle? For a while, I stopped giving, then out of habit started again. For a while, I stopped going to church, too, but I’d always go back.
At the age of eight, my younger daughter began to serve mass, and I was struck that, hierarchically, this was as high as she could go as a Catholic. That felt wrong. But by now, it all felt wrong. I was ashamed of my church. I had not lost my faith in God, but I had completely lost my faith in Roman Catholic leaders. The scandals grew and multiplied, going higher and higher up. Where would it end?
And then, the pope quit. The pope! He left. He walked out on it all. I watched him fly away from Rome and I thought, “That’s it.” In the few moments of his flight, I left too. I decided I could no longer be a part of this church. It was over.
I realized I didn’t want this decision to be about leaving, but joining. I knew immediately I wanted to convert and become an Episcopalian. Why? If I were to trace this decision back, it would be to a summer I spent in Maine 11 years ago. Our closest church was Episcopalian, so I went there on Sundays. The vicar was a woman. Her sermons were eloquent, moving, compassionate and connected to the modern world. She spoke like my nuns.
So, as the world was introduced to Pope Francis I on Wednesday, I watched from a distance, both literally and emotionally. His problems are not mine. I saw the excitement in St Peter’s Square and found it moving.
I felt excited, too, but for a different reason. This Sunday, I’m going to an Episcopal church where I’ve already talked to the vicar.