Choosing My Religion

I am a Catholic.

Well… is that a true statement? I was baptized a Catholic. I was brought up as a Catholic. I married my husband through a Catholic ceremony and all three of our children have been baptized as Catholics.

But I struggle with my faith.

That’s also not true. I still have faith that there is a God; a God that created this Universe; a God that will judge us when we meet him one day.

So… I am a spiritual being.

But…

Do I believe He sent His only son? Do I believe that Jesus is “God made Man”? Do I believe in that Jesus’s Mother was a virgin when she gave birth? Do I believe she was the Immaculate Conception, “conceived without the blemish of Original Sin”? Do I believe in the Three-for-One deal of the Holy Trinity? Do I believe that we truly “Eat his body, and drink his blood” every time I receive communion?

No.

So far as I can make out, all of this is nothing more than a load of hocus pocus; concocted by a bunch of men and handed down through generations to their brethren as though they were feeding slops to their sheep.

 So then…, I am not a Catholic.

Recent events have confirmed this for me.

“Pope Benedict XVI has established a special structure for Anglicans who want to be in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church while preserving aspects of their Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage … Anglican priests who are married may be ordained Catholic priests …”

“…recent changes within many Anglican provinces with the ordination of women priests and bishops and the acceptance of homosexuality in some areas… The church recognizes and welcomes those Anglicans who fully share the Catholic faith, agree with the Catholic view that only men can be ordained priests…” Catholic News Service, 20th October 2009

Do I think that women are lesser beings than men, just because they were born with a womb and the potential bring life into the world? Damn right I don’t!

Do I think homosexuality is a sin? No way: “each to their own, said the farmer as he kissed the cow”, as the saying goes!

Do I think that a celibate Clergy is a good idea? Absolutely not – it’s inhuman and unnatural and probably led the Catholic Church to the horrible place it currently finds itself in.

I cannot be part of any community that would change its rules to be more welcoming to misogynists and homophobes.

And that’s not even to mention the harbouring of paedophiles…

“In a report issued last year the Church admitted covering up abuse for decades. … Some bishops still in office had been part of the cover-up, the report said. Four out of five bishops named in the report who helped run the Dublin archdiocese during the period have now resigned, … ” BBC News Website

There is a chance you may not have heard of the “Murphy Report” or the “Ryan Report”. Both reports are the result of investigations made into the abuse of children (sexual, physical, mental) by Institutions in Ireland or in the Diocese of Dublin – either by Priests or members of  various Religious Orders in the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict’s mealy-mouthed response:

“Every kind of challenge can become a reason for purification and sanctification as long as it is illuminated by faith,” BBC News Website

“Rome said the Holy Father also pointed to the more general crisis of faith affecting the Church and he linked that to the lack of respect for the human person, and how the weakening of faith has been a significant contributing factor in the phenomenon of the sexual abuse of minors.” Mail Online

He has yet to accept the resignation of those Bishops. And will the perpetrators of these “henious crimes” be handed over to the relevant authorities for prosecution?

I have faith. I believe there is a God.
I struggle with how to give praise to that God.
I am a spiritual being.
I am not a Catholic…
…anymore
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8 Responses to “Choosing My Religion”

  1. Helen (of troy) Says:

    diest. I too believe in god. but I am god.
    god is love.
    and he who abides in love,
    abides in god
    and god in him.

    god is the best part of us, the best we can be.
    we are the savior we long for.

    (tough topic, i applaud you courage to take it on)

    • undermeoxter Says:

      I can take on this topic in my own blog, but I haven’t yet the courage to take it on in my own life – in particular with my mother, who would be very hurt and upset by this.
      My first real dilemma will be next year when DD is at First Holy Communion Age… stay tuned!

  2. Bridget Says:

    I completely understand how you are feeling, the same things give me problems. I will admit that I cannot even stand to see a picture of the pope, he irritates me so much.

    My only comfort is that like you, I am spiritual. And I’m not anything else (other religion) as I have learned they have as many problems and maddening things as Catholicism has. Even to the point of covering up pedophiles and child abuse.

    Sometimes I think that it is more important to know what you believe and have a personal relationship with God than it is to follow any religion or belief system blindly. My husband always tells me I’m a “self-defined” Catholic …

    (To anyone reading this who is offended, I am sorry, but at the same time, I am glad you have your own beliefs. Please respect mine.)

    • undermeoxter Says:

      I like the idea of being self-defined. It takes a lot of inner strength and self-knowledge.
      I think the problem most organised religions face is that they are about the preservation of the organisation itself and not the organisation’s members.
      The Catholic Church is more important than Catholicism, at this point.

  3. eimearee Says:

    I chose to openly reject my Catholic upbringing about 10 years ago, while in my teens. After years of her complaining to me and questioning my beliefs I overheard my mother admit in conversation that she has no belief in the church whatsoever – not even just the abuse scandals.

    It’s unfortunate that we (Irish people in general) feel we have no choice but to celebrate the milestones of life through the church – baptisms, schooling, weddings, funerals – it seems there is no alternative to the Catholic way of doing these things.

    I take comfort in the knowledge that we are now in a time where the average person can question the authority of the Church, state etc. even if they take comfort in the community provided by these things.

    • undermeoxter Says:

      You’ve hit many nails bang-on.
      I can understand and appreciate the role religion plays in society and community for milestone events. This is the last remaining positive contribution that religion can make. It’s a pity that most people involved in the Church have forgotten that. With the down-turn in vocations you would think they would be more open to lay involvement. Or …. women priests!?!?!?

      However, the involvement of the Church and clergy in schools has to be addressed… and loudly… and soon. This is no longer an acceptable contribution to our society. (IMHO)

  4. Meg Says:

    I think that this is a situation a lot of us find ourselves in these days – I do believe in God, and that the lives we are living are just part of something bigger, but I am very ambivilent about the Catholic church, and I am horrified by the abuses that have been perpetrated, condoned and then covered up in the name of the church, and also by some of traditional attitudes that make no allowances for the realities of life today. I think that there are some wonderful individuals within the church who do their best to make the world a better place, but I think that this is what they would be doing anyway, regardless of their place in the Catholic heirarchy, and I do understand that the church is a great source of consolation and comfort to many people, and would not wish to be disrespectful to them, but the Catholic church does not represent me or my beliefs.
    Having said that, I do sometimes like the rituals and ceremonies as a focal point to bring people together – my brother, sisters and myself will all get together this weekend (from Nenagh, Dublin, London, Spain and Australia) for mass for my Mam’s anniversary, and I am very thankful for the opportunity for us all to stand together as a family to remember her, but I’m also sure that the next time I enter a church will be for a wedding or funeral, and will be because I want to be part of a group of family and friends getting together to mark a milestone occasion.
    It’s a difficult topic, and not one that I feel I can fully articulate my views on, but it’s good to know that I’m not the only one.

    • undermeoxter Says:

      There is a growing swell of dissent but there seems to be no-where to direct that energy. The usual reaction is to stop going to Mass – and that’s the one I’m taking lately. But that a) won’t get the message across to the Church, though they should start to feel it in the coffers; but also b) I feel adrift with no alternative spritual tradition to offer to my children.


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