Re “Abuse summit: ‘Nobody can ignore this now,’“ (B.C. Catholic, Feb. 18):

The sex abuse crisis is probably the most serious problem the Church has faced since the Reformation. The crimes of clerics like the former Cardinal McCarrick have done significant and irreparable damage to countless individuals, not to mention the Church in general.

That said, there are many other issues, many at the local, parish level, that cause people to leave the parish, or even the practice of their faith.

In a video by Bishop Robert Barron entitled “Why Catholics Leave the Church,” Bishop Barron points out that other than “hot button issues” like abortion or divorce – issues that parishes at a local level cannot do much about – lead many people to leave the Church because of what he calls “bad customer relations.”

Bishop Barron highlights problems such as parishioners being “undervalued” by their church and their pastors being “arrogant, aloof, distant or insensitive.”

 He talks about parish personnel who are “unhelpful, unkind, or indifferent.” He relates a story of a mentor of his, a priest who said to the parish secretary that she is the first contact many people have with the Catholic Church and that her job is really a kind of ministry.

He concludes that problems such as the aforementioned are ones that can be relatively easy to solve.

Can we all, as Catholics, whether we are pastors, parish staff, or “just” parishioners, examine our conscience to see how an outsider would see as, and what kind of a picture of the Church we are giving others? All it takes is a little consideration and kindness.

Patrick May


As a longtime reader, I applaud The B.C. Catholic for publishing Michael Swan’s Catholic Register article “Abuse summit: ‘Nobody can ignore this now’“ in its entirety. However, I disapprove of such an important article being “sliced up” and spread over three different pages.

By doing so, you diminished the impact and compromised what should be a complete reading of such an informative article about a crisis that is now hitting our Church across the world. This article was certainly worth of a double-page spread in the centre of your paper for greater impact.

Pascal Coutant