Saturday, August 30, 2003

He believes in ideals of the Catholic faith

'I would react with anger'

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Catholicism appeals to Ken Jump because it emphasizes forgiveness over punishment.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
For most of his childhood, Ken Jump was certain he was going to hell.

On Sundays, he'd sit in his family's Pentecostal church for hours listening to fire-and-brimstone sermons about the fate sinners would face on Judgment Day.

"I'm never going to be able to live the way they say I should live," Jump used to tell himself.

Years later, with children of his own, he started looking for an alternative. The more he learned about Catholicism, the more he thought it sounded right for him and his family.

He liked that the Catholic Church emphasized forgiveness over punishment. It recognized that all humans are fallible, and that everyone needs time to develop a relationship with God.

Jump, who converted to Catholicism two years ago, believes the very things that appealed to him about his new church will now sustain it through the trying times of the clergy sexual-abuse scandal.

But as the father of two teens, Jump understands the outrage. As far as he's concerned, severe punishment is justified for anyone who harms a child.

"I've tried to think how I would react as a parent," he says. "And I know I would react with anger."

Even so, he thinks it's unfair to tarnish an entire religion because of the actions of a few - no matter how terrible the deeds.

He is grateful for what the church has given him: A chance to become better, to overcome the human frailties that he once thought would condemn him. He wants to give the church the same change it gave him.

"Catholicism tries to teach us to overcome our brokenness and to try to achieve the ideal," he says. "The goal is to work toward that ideal."

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