Accentuate the positive

The Catholic Church is more than bad press


In recent years, it has started to feel like being a Roman Catholic is frowned upon. Recent events have made the Cathoilc Church seem like the bad guy. Scandals have appeared in the news including young children and priests that bring to light cases of abuse, with articles detailing cases of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests and officials.

Alongside these reports, other scandals developed last year here in Indiana involving a former counselor being dismissed at Roncalli in a situation involving sexual orientation and the archbishop continuously firing LGBTQ+ teachers who serve in the archdiocese and denying them entry into sporting events at other Catholic schools. The Catholic Church also has taken controversial stances in politics, generally supporting more conservative policies, like making abortion illegal.

However, with all these scandals and issues happening within the Catholic Church, the entirety of the Church shouldn’t be defined by these events. The Catholic Church still represents a positive force in the U.S. and the world.

On Nov. 21 to 23, at least 20,000 youths and I from all over the U.S. gathered at Lucas Oil Stadium to attend the National Catholic Youth Conference, a Catholic youth convention that aims to dive deeper into the religion. Along with diving deeper into their religion, many of the teenagers that attended embraced volunteer opportunities such as helping put together meals for Pack Away Hunger, an Indianapolis-based organization that provides meals for local food pantries around Indiana. Another volunteer opportunity that my friends and I actually took part in was Hands Across Haiti, a ministry in the parish of St. John Paul II in Sellersburg, Indiana that provides decorative t-shirts, schools supplies, tote bags and backpacks to their sister parish in Haiti. Being able to help others in need, even if its decorating a shirt, makes it all worth the work to make a small impact on a huge issue.

Other members of the Catholic Church have had positive impacts on society. Monica Kelsey, the founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, definitely has. Her mission is to prevent illegal abandonment of newborns by offering options for the babies’ mothers through a 24-hour hotline for mothers in crisis and a last resort option in the form of Safe Haven Baby Boxes. These boxes are built into the exterior wall of designated fire stations or hospitals where, upon surrender, the baby is attended to by medical staff. This organization has made a huge impact to this day. The hotline has received close to 4,000 calls from every state in the U.S. and has had 59 legal safe haven surrenders. There have been no dead abandoned infants since the first box was installed in Indiana in April 2016, according to the Safe Haven Baby Boxes website. This organization shows the heart of the Church, it and proves that the people of the Catholic Church are good and present a positive force in the state and nation.

Despite all the scandals the Roman Catholic Church has been involved in, none of them should be able to overshadow the goodness within the community. The media may choose to portray many of the negative aspects, but it can’t be ignored that the Church and its members still greatly impact the world in a positive way.