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!