Apr 8, 2002

U.S. Catholics See Priest Scandal Testing Faith and Vatican Most Zuikers I know are, or were, Roman Catholic. (I was surprised to find that 33 percent of Dutch are Catholic, 28 percent Dutch Reformed or other Protestant faith, and 40 percent with no religion; I’d always thought the Dutch were predominately Lutheran.) As more and more information comes out about the abuses of the priesthood, it’s more and more likely that we have stories of our own to add. Many Zuiker males have been altar boys; my grandmother’s brother, Hugh Martcie, was a saintly Franciscan friar. We have given much service to the Church, and I pray that we are unscathed by this scandal. It’s a tough topic for me. I have been very close to priests: they have been father figures and mentors, counselors and friends, racquetball partners and road trip companions. I have known priests with serious issues of alcohol, sexuality, and, yes, faith. Mostly I respected these priests for the hard work they do and their lives of service. For many years I considered a vocation as priest, and I grappled with the idea of celibacy, occasionally understanding the argument of celibacy as a divine-inspired way to minister to all people, but more often struggling with my burning desire to be married and to have children. My decision to turn away from that job—and to distance myself from codified, institutionalized religion—was an emancipating moment.

What do you think about the scandal of Church-hushed sexual abuses? How is your faith in light of these revelations? Add your thoughts and comments to the Forum. Click here.

Anton Zuiker

© 2000 Zuiker Chronicles Publishing, LLC