My Catholicism: Part 1
This is a two-part series that I have been contemplating posting for a long while. I know there are a great many GTers who have valid issues with the Roman Catholic Church. I share a multitude of those issues as well. So, let me state for the record:
- I believe the Church is wrong on LGBT issues and I believe that God is judging us for this.
- I believe that teaching against condom use is a mortal sin and those missionaries and priests and vowed religious will be judged accordingly.
- I believe the Church is still hiding and protecting child molesters. I believe the Curia is aware of this and has continually chosen to do nothing about it.
And yet, I am still Catholic. And I know this makes me a target for your venom and disgust. I thought I might share with you why I chose to still identify as such.
I believe that a group of people called the Israelites entered into a Covenant with their God and part of this covenant was a Messiah sent by God. I believe this message has been interpreted in a variety of ways over thousands of years. I believe that God fulfilled that covenant by having a young Nazarene woman named Mary bear a child. That child was the Messiah. I believe that child was both fully human and fully divine. She named that child Yesuh ben Josef and He was the Son of God. Both Mary and Jesus were aware and fully cognizant of His Holiness, though Jesus knew the way His life would end and begin again long before Mary ever would. I believe that young Yesuh be Josef was a true human child, filled with bursts of emotion both tears and laughter. I believe that His young life was only chronicled in two stories because the rest of it was ordinary. I believe there seems a hint of sass in both the Finding in the Temple and in the Wedding at Cana stories because the writers who chronicled those stories were writing them at a time when young men spoke to their mothers in whatever manner they chose.
I believe this young Yesuh grew to become a thin, ragged man who performed miracles and healings. These miracles were doorways and offerings to people, "You saw me save your father/son/mother/servant, please come hear me preach." This ushered in a 3 year sojourn where He preached a simple concept, "Do onto others as you would have them do onto you." He furthered this idea in the sermon which I believe is the crux of the Christian faith, The Sermon on the Mount. I believe He was eventually betrayed by a public who needed a martyr and a friend who did not fully understand just who Jesus was to the world. Then, as it says in the Creed, He suffered, died and was buried. He descended into hell and rose again on the Third day. I believe His resurrection saves me from my sins and opens the gates of Heaven to those who follow the actions outlined in the Sermon on the Mount.
I believe these stories were gathered with the purpose of spreading the message of Jesus to new people and new lands. However, I think the historical context of the writing of these stories and the chronological order in which they were written is just as important to understanding the Bible as anything else. A good priest, one who is doing his job, provides that background and context and history when he is speaking his homily. If he does not do that, it is in direct contradiction to the Catechism.
But I identify as Catholic, not solely Christian, and with that I understand comes the full weight of the horrors the Church has participated in, funded, and covered up over the course of our 2000 year history. So, for the record let me state: I do not believe that evangelization is necessary and in more cases than not, I believe its various occurrences have been rooted in racism, imperialism and arrogance. I believe that all life is sacred (and here is the cafeteria Catholic in me) from BIRTH to natural death. I believe that God is Love and, as such, the Church's definitions of love/marriage/family will eventually change. And I believe in my heart that a large portion of the Curia and a vast number of Vatican officials and employees are evil and will burn in hell. I believe Pope Francis is trying his best but that he is trying to right a ship that had been tipping for almost 150 years.
All of these are my beliefs. I do not believe that any religion should impose its moral or tenants on non-practitioners. I think my morals are based in my Catholicism but I do not believe that Catholicism dictates politics. For me, as I stated previously, The Sermon on the Mount is the crux of the faith. And as such, my concern is for the living- not the unborn, not the souls of those gone- the living, breathing humans who are in need of food, shelter, kindness, love and compassion. It is how I choose to live and practice these rules on which God will judge me.
My faith is not simple and my chosen religion is very flawed but it is the best way I know for me to live a life of which I can be proud.