Friday, May 01, 2009

Hypocritical Catholics

I received a forwarded email this morning from a "friend" at church, praising the decision of Catholics who are protesting President Obama's visit to Notre Dame University because he supports abortion rights. That burns me up!
Where were they when George Bush started an illegal war or was instructing our military and spy agencies to torture people? Are they thinking Jesus would have been good with that?
So, I responded to her email. I think I get some points for output control because I didn't reply all. I replied and included the emails of my friends she had sent the letter to.
I told her I was glad that Grace isn't considering Notre Dame because I think the decision to protest is pathetic. I said Catholics need to support a president who is actually thinking about the needs of the poor, the elderly and the ill who don't have health insurance.
Maybe some would consider me a bad Catholic. I don't follow the rules to the letter. That whole idea about having as many children as God gives you -- no thanks. God gave me the intelligence to know when I had reached my threshhold. And, although I love two out of three of the priests at our church, I think a woman could easily do their job. I think priests should be able to marry and I think the Catholic church cheapened Mary's sacrifice by declaring she was born without sin. In spite of all of these differences of opinion, my kids are baptized Catholic, we show up to Mass most Sundays, and I've spent whole months of my life training for and teaching religious education.
No religion is perfect. The only one I could find to be a perfect match would be called Paulita-ism, and it would definitely be a church of one. So, I'll take the good with the bad. I'll enjoy the wisdom I hear from the priests I admire, and I'll try to remember that if I live the way Jesus taught, the world will be a better place.


Ruth S said...

I am a "fallen away" catholic who misses my curch in a visceral way. Divorced and remarried I was active and happy in my parish until my priest stopped speaking to me. Since then I have been on a spiritual quest for a religious home but know I can never identify myself as anything but Catholic.

Despite objections my first three children were baptized in the church and attended mass regularly until our priest felt the sacrament of marriage was more important than my well being and spiritual health.

I am not one of those people that can blithely say that a religion is not about one person, it is when that person makes it clear to you that you are not welcome, despite your contributions to your family of faith over the years. And it is when the people who you rely on to support you spiritually and emotionally answer your concerns and questions with blithe answers right out of the Churches FAQ book rather than having an intelligent dialogue about what your crisis entails.

I miss my church but am not welcome, in my heart at least.

In high school I dated a boy who often took me to church at the beginning of a date. His father had recently passed away and it was where he most often heard his fathers voice. I felt his faith as a part of him, like his hand in mine.

Creepy, my sisters said but he gave me physical relationship with God that has persisted, despite my crisis of faith, more resiliently than any nugget of truth imparted by the hypocritical priest or friend with a flip remark.

As for my sisters who thought Kevin was so creepy, one has changed her faith and one continues in the church. For both religion has never been a rock or mainstay.

For me, my belief in God got me through the darkest days of divorce, custody battles and my fathers lost fight with cancer. Although I never go to mass anymore I often find myself sitting in a quiet and empty church in the way I learned from an old boyfriend, talking to a God who deosn't care I'm divorced, fallen or in crisis. Who will answer my questions if I listen long enough and will bring me back to him in his own way. Father Jim lost one of his flock by not listening by judging without faith. My friends and family do me a disservice by discounting the depth of this crisis I feel, but God still hears me, in a quiet church, when I can still my soul and feel how much he loves me. Catholic, always.

There are all kinds of hypocritical Catholics. Some just more obvious than others.

Paulita said...

You're right, of course. And when I show up at religious ed, really resenting that those 6-9 year olds are eating up my day, I'm just as hypocritical.
Sorry if I've underestimated the depth of your loss. Still love ya.

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