For about three weeks, I've been feeling tempted to leave Catholicism. I've been feeling unhappy for almost a year and a half. It started when a scandal enveloped the Latin Mass parish I used to attend. To sum up, a bunch of parishoners didn't like this one priest, so they ganged up on him and falsely accused him of every sin imaginable. The secular and religious authorities had to get involved (including the ones in Rome), and the priest ended up resigning from the parish, but was cleared of all charges. Because I believed the priest in question was innocent, this other faction of parishoners ostracized me and wouldn't let their children attend the CCD classes I was teaching.
Then, last year the election occurred. I felt caught in the middle, because I'm black and I got all of these conflicting messages. My family thought that Obama was the natural outcome of more than 400 years of struggle, while the people at church were saying he was the anti-Christ. I was being ridiculed from both sides, and I felt like it was impossible for one to be both black and Catholic. These feelings are continuing to the present.
Lastly, I have been feeling scandalized by the Irish abuse story. As many CAF members know, the notion of separation of church and state was condemned in the 19th century, possibly before. Yet, looking at the Irish example, I really can't see how having the Church in bed with the government is a good thing. All it seems to do is make the Church look bad without improving the government or the morality of the citizenry. The government can't even be trusted to fix potholes in a timely manner. Why should I trust it with my immortal soul? Since the bulk of the abuse happened pre-Vatican II, it can't be blamed on the effects of the council. Ireland is/was perhaps the most prototypically Catholic country is the world, yet these monstrosities happened on a large scale, without the aid of "liberals" or secular humanists or the other usual boogeymen. I wonder if continuing to be Catholic would force me to take a political stance that I find to be unconsciousable. I remember reading the passage in the Gospel of St. Matthew where Christ rejected Satan's temptation of the kingdoms of the world and wonder whether the Catholic Church has taken worldly power at the expense of religious and moral power.
Suffice to say, I feel very confused. I keep going to mass, but don't take communion. I want to do what is right, but I don't know what that is anymore. I am mortally afraid of going to hell. Please help me.