Saturday, August 30, 2003

Nothing will shake her faith of 82 years

'It is a part of who I am'

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jane Doyle has plenty of reasons to be angry at God. Her husband died nearly three decades ago. Her only daughter was born mentally retarded.

But in 82 years, her faith in God and the church has not wavered. It has grown stronger.

"It hasn't changed the way I feel about Jesus, the way I feel about the church," Doyle says, perched on a bench in the shadow of St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica in Covington. "It has always been a part of me. It is a part of who I am."

Doyle admits to being torn by the series of local and national scandals involving Catholic priests, teachers and volunteers. But her gaze remains steady when she says that the entire church should not be blamed for individual decisions.

"We are all responsible for ourselves," she says. "We can't take responsibility for anybody else's soul."

Doyle, a Sharonville resident who belongs to St. Cecilia Parish in Oakley, was brought up in the church, attended Catholic school as a toddler and has remained devout.

Her husband, John, died of Parkinson's disease in 1976, and she has been on her own ever since.

"These days, when someone has a misfortune, they want someone to blame for it, want someone else to pay for it," she says. "A lot of people will say it's God's fault that something happened. But people bring things on themselves."

The priests involved in the scandals, she says, must find a way to make peace with God.

"I would tell them to make a good act of contrition, realize what they have done," she says. "If I could say anything to them, I would say what a terrible thing they have done. I would wish they were contrite."

But cutting ties to the church is unthinkable. It just gives her too much.

"I've had a lonely life because of circumstances," she says. "But you have to go on living. I have experience with that."

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