New Catholics not detracted by abuse crisis, say their faith is holding strong

.- Catholics in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, who are new to the Church, say their faith has not been deterred by the sexual abuse crisis. Rather, they are enthusiastic about their faith and the future, reported the Cincinnati Catholic Telegraph.

Heidi Miller, who was raised in the Evangelical Church of God, was received into the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil. Miller said her journey to Catholicism was not side-tracked by the abuse crisis.

"The Church has problems that it needs to address, but that didn’t detract me at all from joining,” she told the diocesan paper. “It was a sin committed on the part of a few priests, so we should blame the sinners but not the Church. The Church is a gift to keep us together. We need to look past this and see this as Jesus’ Church."

Pat Haungs was raised by a German Jewish father and a Methodist mother. The mother of nine was active in the Presbyterian Church but decided to leave after a difficult struggle. Several years later, she joined the Catholic Church.

Haungs said the abuse scandal did not detract her from joining the Catholic Church. The widow also knows two abuse victims and is well aware of their hurt and pain.

"The Church isn’t the priest or the nuns, the Church is the people," she told the Telegraph. "It’s time to get rid of the evil and take control. It’s the people who make the Church, and there is no Church with out them."

Both Miller and Haungs believe that Catholics, struggling with their faith as a result of the crisis, need to stay involved with the Churh and help it to grow. Also, they would like the clergy to deal with thinds more openly.

“Abandoning the Church is like abandoning Jesus,” said Miller, “and He would never abandon us as much as we might sin."

Jim Kapp believes contemplation and prayer are key to the healing process. The former Methodist admits to having experienced only an initial impact by the abuse crisis. His wife’s faith and his own familiarity with the Church helped him keep things in perspective.

"Certainly it’s a serious issue and one that need be addressed, but you can get hung up on one issue," he said. "For me, the bigger picture is our faith and the Church itself.”

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