I seldom write about (my) religion but really wanted to in light of the Pope’s recent visit + another blogger’s own great post on her Catholicism story.
Today’s post was inspired by another from a fave blogger of mine, Taylor of The Daily Tay’s My History With The Catholic Church. In it she details how she was raised Catholic but because of a few “qualms” (Catholics have a special history with this word.. Just ask Martin Luther) doesn’t practice anymore.
Her reasons are all totally valid. But before I go into those (+ another I’d add if I ever wanted to leave the Church, which won’t happen), let me delve a little into my history in the Church…
Like 99.9% of Colombians, I was born a Catholic: OK, “born” is probably the wrong term because it’s not like anyone baptized me in vitro :/, #weird. But since my parents and their families (incl. their parents, their parents [etc.]) are Catholic, I was baptized very young, and I grew up Catholic, I feel like I was born that way. It’s basically in my blood, so to speak.
So I was baptized when I was one month old, had my First Communion in the 2nd grade, and my Confirmation in the 8th grade (though that one was in the U.S.).
At my private, Catholic all-girl school in Colombia and my private Catholic Middle School and High School in Utah we’d take Theology classes, in which we’d learn anything and seemingly everything about Catholicism, go to Mass, and in my case, even sing and help out at Mass.
Catholicism has forever felt like Home to me.. In Colombia, this wasn’t really the case, though, because EVERYONE is Catholic, so you’re always surrounded by the status quo. But now that I’m living in Utah, a Mormon state, in my mid-20s, it feels like a refuge (for lack of a better word).
Sometimes I’ll step into our beautiful Cathedral of the Madeleine (in downtown SLC) and be so overwhelmed with warm fuzzies that I may shed a tear or two. As great as Mormons have helped Utah become, it feels awesome to “escape” all that by “coming Home” to the Church and beliefs you grew up with.
Now let’s switch gears for a bit and introduce you to some popular qualms some–including me–have with the Church. (The first two come from Taylor’s post)
POPULAR COMPLAINTS RE:CATHOLICISM
I can’t get into a church who is so outspoken about not letting gays get married. I went to a service last spring and almost walked out because I found the priest’s message so judgmental and downright offensive to homosexuals. It was just hurtful.
Yes, true, the Catholic Church doesn’t allow gays to marry in the Church, but Pope Francis has “come out” and admitted something most of us have known for ages: Homosexuals are people, too; we’re nobody to judge them; and they deserve to be happy like the rest of us.
That may not mean that they can marry in the Church (something I’m actually not 100% for anyways–at least not yet, to be honest) but I like that openness and kindness.
Women can’t be priests. Soooo….. no. Not for me. How could I take my non existent daughter to that church some day and let her know that men will always be one peg higher?
This bugs me too, actually–especially knowing that Pope Francis is so against it, to, because I know us women can be fantastic church leaders.
I was curious as to where his opposition comes from so I did a little research and found a Time article that explains the reasoning behind his and the Church’s refusal of female priesthood:
…Jesus did not include women among his original 12 apostles, so the argument runs, and the Church is compelled to follow that example, restricting the priesthood today to men.
Although he’s presumably accepts that teaching,” states the article, “it’s not the basis of his own stance on the issue.” Simply put, Pope Francis is against the idea of clericalism, “an exaggerated emphasis on the power and privilege of the clergy.
Therefore, “in his mind, conceding that the only way to elevate the role of women is to make them clergy feeds the mistaken notion that clerics are what’s most important about Catholicism, when he sees his mission instead as exalting the role of the laity.
Quite noble and makes sense. However, that’s not likely to appease those of us who know women would rock at the whole clergy thing.
FYI: Female apostles may not have been mentioned in the texts that made it into the official Bible that we know today, but who knows? They were probably left out. So that’s a silly argument.
FYI #2: Who’s to say that a fellow Millennial won’t later on overturn many of the Church’s beliefs when he’s (she?) is a Pope?
Priests have to be celibate and can’t marry.. I get why, historically, this changed, but I still think it’s so arbitrary and backwards.
That was actually the one I added in the Comments section of Taylor’s post.
In case you need a refresher: Back in the day (like way, waaaay back), Catholic priests were allowed to marry and have families. However, when those priests died, their wealth/estates would go to their families–instead of to the Church.
Naturally, the Church started to not grow (because it didn’t have the funds), which made it decide that priests could no longer marry, or have families. However, I once met or read about a man with grown children who became a priest after his wife died. Idk what’d happen in that case, but I still thought it was interesting.
Now the Church will tell you that it prefers its priests celibate because Jesus was celibate and like him, priests (since they’re “married” to the Church) shouldn’t have earthly distractions, and what-not.
That, to me, has always seemed like such a cop-out. (I almost wish priests were allowed to not be celibate and have wives–not girlfriends/be promiscuous, though!–so that they didn’t end up being as depraved and perverted as some priests have been found to be. There, I said it.)
All non-joking aside, though, perhaps the priests of the near future will be allowed to marry, and that would be great, because I also feel like that will allow those who receive premarital or couple’s counseling from them to maybe believe them more(?).
Despite my qualms + what others manage to say, I’m still a happy Catholic. Why? As I also commented on Taylor’s post:
Because deep down I know the Church is actually quite flexible: Sane Catholics know that the rules really don’t fit everybody, so we don’t stress over going to Heaven/hell, Confession, fasting, etc. We just try to live as best as we can and the rewards will come later. Also,[Pope Francis] and [Pope John Paul II] is-was the bomb.
Now you tell me: What qualms do YOU have with your church (be it Catholic or something else), if any, that still don’t make you want leave? Or what made you leave your former church?