Sunday, May 22, 2011

Let's start with something heavy and controversial: Roman Catholicism

My husband and I were both raised Roman Catholic, attended Catholic schools, were married in a Catholic Church and our boys were baptized Roman Catholic.  I am a lector at my church and I also have taught CCD. 

With that being said, I am conflicted, confused, disheartened and torn.  I do not feel that I belong in this Church any more.  I really don't think I want my boys brought up in this Church culture.  My husband and I are both somewhat,liberal minded.  We believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ.  We both take comfort in the ritual and symbolism in the RC Church.  We believe that we are here to not only worship God, but to help others.  And that is where it ends. 

With all due respect to the Church Hierarchy, I just don't think it is headed in the right direction nor is it likely to change. The sexual abuse scandals that have come up and the covering up of those abuses has been a slap in the face.  I personally know of  people who have been abused by RC priests. Most of their lives have been ruined.  They are shadows of who they could have been, plagued by drugs, alcohol, and mental illness.   Meanwhile the priests who had abused them either lived out their lives, uninterrupted, or were sent away as if on a retreat, to think about what they had done.  It is a disgrace.  The fact that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is now funding a lawyer to defend Msgr. William J. Lynn, who is charged with putting children in danger is outrageous.   It is for this reason, I don't put money in my weekly envelope.  (Which I don't think makes a big difference, but it makes me feel better)

I have always had a problem with the fact that women in the Church were stifled.  There were some abusive nuns whom I encountered, but there were also some wonderful IHM nuns.  These nuns that I knew and loved have all but disappeared. I believe because of the Church's history of belittling and under-appreciating them.  Is it any wonder that the Catholic schools, who had such a great reputation in the past have fallen by the way-side and are closing left and right?  The nuns who ran these schools with the efficiency and excellence of the military are gone.  And they did it for free!  They did not get paid, they did it for the love of the children and for their Church.  Now, the Church has to pay lay-teachers to do this work and they pay them poorly. So as soon as a position in a public school opens up, they are gone, unless they are not qualified to teach in a public school, which many of them are not.  

The fact that Priests are not married also has alienated them from their own community, the very communities they are supposed to guide.  How can a priest relate to his congregation if he has never been in their shoes?  He has everything handed to him. His basic necessities are taken care of, i.e, housing, car, health insurance, pension.  AND he is paid a salary.  That is AFTER his basic needs are taken care of. Who gets a job with those kind of benefits?  How can he understand the juggling of finances all while raising children and taking care of extended family members? It's not like he has to worry about getting fired. He is a priest, the Church will always find a place for him, always take care of him.  Who, in the real world, has that kind of security?  

The Church's views on contraception, medically necessary abortions, who is and is not considered "in good standing,"  homosexuality and that we can not interpret the bible except through the Church are all stumbling blocks for me. 

I think I am looking for a church that does not exist.   My views are not meant in any way to offend or say that my way is the only way.  I am open minded. If you are a devout RC and follow everything the Church says, that is wonderful for you. I am just not there.  I guess it just comes down to how I want to raise my boys.  

It breaks my heart to think that my sons may not receive their First Holy Communion, or their Confirmation.  Why?  Is it because of the history of my Italian American culture? Yes. Is it because of the joy I felt as a child going through these rights of passage?  Yes.  Is it because I believe in transubstantiation?  I am not sure. Do I feel it is necessary to attend Church every Sunday?  Only if you feel that you need it or it helps.   I don't think voting democratic should have anything to do with my standing in church. I certainly do not believe that we are born with Original Sin.  A tiny baby is the most innocent being and can not have a stain on their most perfect souls. I don't believe that I have to tell a priest my sins in order to be forgiven by God. So I therefore feel like a hypocrite, like someone who does not have faith.   I am a hypocrite. I do not have faith in the RC Church.  I don't fault anyone who does, I just don't have it.  

I guess there are just so many questions.  So many unanswerable questions that I just don't know where the answers are.  

So there it is, my first blog post.  I hope you enjoyed my stream of conscience and my questions.  I don't know what my blogs will be like in the future, but probably not as heavy! 


Sean said...

well said Momma, well done...
--Sean O

Azura said...

Tried Christianity love? You sound (or read, I should say) like a Christian. I relate to a lot of what you said, being raised RC with nuns at school. I won't share my views on RC on here, I'll wait til I can receive "hate posts" from hypocritical Catholics on my blog, it will be such fun!
Anyhoo, thanks for visiting and your blog is awesome! Toodles.

Anonymous said...

You said it! I left the Church as soon as I was done high school. The racism I faced in school was enough to make me cry, and this was done by nuns and priests. Then, watching a religion teacher go on a tirade about premarital sex while one of his students, 8 months pregnant, bawled the whole time, I knew it was all over for me. I have found a sense of spiritual peace in the work I do and try to live life by the principles of Jesus, not those crammed down my throat by theologians. I watched a video today where a dying man said that he believes that spirituality is abut questioning, searching, and struggling with the concepts. Your boys are lucky to have such a thoughtful mother :)

Bill H. Ballistik said...

The belief in "Original Sin" requires one to grip the fact that what God was really mad about was the "Great Sin" of Adam and Eve.
A sin that was perpetrated BEFORE they knew the difference between Good and Evil.
Which they learned from eating from a tree.. That God put there.

Becky said...

I was raised Catholic but left the church about the time I was pregnant with my daughter - I just couldn't baptize her into the church, knowing that the parish just down the street from my office was where they sent the priests who had been accused of molesting children over the years. That was way too close to home. Over the years, I have rethought many of the teachings of not just the church, but of Christianity in general.
We are raising our daughter in a manner that exposes her to all religions,not just Christianity. Frankly, the things they do scare me.

Momma O said...

I hear you Becky. I think that showing our children the positive aspects of all religions is healthy and beneficial. They are all basically telling us the same message. Show love, compassion and search for peace. Thanks for your comment.

Erin said...

Hey there....I'm with you on this post. I actually converted to RC, and would love to stay RC, but only if I could take the R out. The ugly stuff that continually comes out about the hierarchy is just too ugly, keeps getting uglier, and will likely continue to as there is no check upon the power and authority of the hierarchy.

Kay Ebeling said...

You have a real clear perception and wonderfully direct writing style. I feel your frustration. I want the church to be what it could be, not what it has become. I recommend Bible studies, get a group together who feel the way you do and meet once a week to read Scripture and apply it to your life. You can even break bread, like the original Christians. You don't really need the catholic church, and there might be a different church out there that meets your needs more realistically. I agree your sons would do better with a church, well, unless it'a a Catholic one with a molester around... yikes. Great blog, Momma

Katie Morton said...

I was also raised RC, and have all the same opinions you do. A friend of mine (also RC) recommended that I find a Unitarian Universalist church. I did some research, and they celebrate all races, sexes and lifestyles. The focus is on spirituality and being good people, as opposed to obsessing over 'sacred texts.' Although they do pull from all of the books from any religions, as long as the teachings are beneficial(and not 'judgy' or justifying the alienation or mistreatment anyone.)