You are the most refreshing pope since I have been a catholic, which was most of my life. Your coming could not have happened a moment too soon. I am about to be a fallen-away catholic. The policies of the Archdiocese of Detroit is killing my parish. It has been killing it for a long time and now I have had enough.

Researching our history has opened my eyes to the mean-spiritness of the hiarchy that has shaped this region for many years. Had you been at the helm a lot of this anti-christian behavior might not have festered. As you know, the Catholic Church is made up of many ethnic groups. All have been treated well with policies that helped them to thrive. Not so in the black catholic community. We were never allowed to have a pastor. All we ever got were administrators and it has had a devastating impact on our little community.

So here I am today. I have had enough. The diocese’ policy of allowing a deacon to become the administrator of our church; and having a priest say mass on Sundays, has had a negative impact on our spiritual lives; and is the “straw that broke the camels back.” To get into details would mean sharing a letter I sent to the deacon with a copy going to the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Changing Lives Together Fundraising Campaign, in which I cancelled my pledge. Boy did that get their attention. When it comes to money they react. That’s all they are driven by is money. And our spiritual needs are neglected.

Pope Francis, you need to make a trip to the United States and specifically visit our little community. You will get a real look at a dying church community. I know you will not be happy with what you find. So while you are chastising the leaders about their rhetoric on gays, abortion, and birth control, perhaps you might want to add a little bit about the racism that has been allowed to fester in the Catholic Church as well. We are not getting the sacraments the way we used to nor are our voices being heard. My book might go a long way in helping you to understand what has happened here. This problem is every bit as debilitating as the other issues facing the church.

And so I have stopped going to my church. I never thought that I would allow someone else to dictate when I would make my exit, if I ever did. But it happened and so I am pondering my next move. In the meantime, I did get a response from the diocese but I don’t believe it will result in any significant changes in how they deal with us.

We shall see. Stay tuned!

1 thought on “DEAR POPE FRANCIS

  1. Mamie Smith

    Hi Shirley,

    What a touching letter! It speaks from the heart–expressing your love for Catholicism, but disdain for the policies that are reeking havoc on the foundation of the church namely–truth and love. It is an inspiring article and I hope you receive the response you are looking for.

    Serving in a branch church can be challenging! My position is to participate in the things that produce harmony and leave the rest to God.

    Good luck Shirley.



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