Oh Catholicism. Tuesday, August 01, 2006As a former Catholic I have lots of things to say about the religion. Some of them are not so nice.
For background I should disclose that I went to Catholic school from the very start (pre-school) and continued right up until graduation from high school. I'd made the purposeful decision as a senior in high school to attend a public university. At that point in my life I was well on my way to seeing flaws in the church. Coming to the public university was great for many reasons- I was able to fully form my own opinions about things and secondly I was able to make decisions all by myself without having to justify it to my religion teacher or my parents.
In high school I was very involved with the church. I was a member of the LifeTeen group- which for me was more about socializing with my friends on a school night than about searching for divinity. Looking back, I'm more than a little embarrassed because of my membership with this group. Again, when I was Senior I quit. Things just started clicking for me, especially when my friend came back from a Lifeteen retreat and said that she spoke in tongues. I'm sorry, I believe a lot of that has to do with a sort of mass hysteria. I had attended the previous year's retreat and the entire thing was basic one giant abstinence commercial. And the whole time all I could think about was getting back home so I could blow my boyfriend.
HA! I guess I have the devil inside.
I was also a Eucharistic minister, which for a Catholic is a pretty damn big deal. I attended several classes in order to distribute the body of Christ to my fellow Catholics.
Senior year is also the year we learned about sex. In. Religion. Class.
They waited until we were 17 and 18 years old to talk to us about sex (except for the 2 weeks our sophomore year were we had an abstinence chapter in our books). Science class had no section on the female or male reproductive system. The pages where either entirely removed or glued together. Fuck people. Isn't that totally fucked up?
In my senior religion class we learned that birth control was evil, abortions are evil, sex before marriage is evil (which is hilarious considering that half the class was already fucking each other). I'm sorry God, if science gives me a way to not have a litter of children I'm going to take it. I don't think He wants us to pop out kids every year just because we can. I know there is no way I could possibly hope to support 10 kids, regardless of how much money I'm making every year.
Also, I find the church's stance on gays horrifying.
And really, I've no need to discuss at length the sex abuse scandal. It sickens me and makes me hate the church more than all of the other things combined.
I've long struggled with my feelings about the church. I hate them for what they have done. Yet, I miss the ritual and the fond memories I had of when I was younger and going to mass/the church picnic/etc.
The reason I decided to bring this up is because I read a brilliant article in Salon today about the ordination of women into the priesthood. Yesterday, 12 women took up the cloth in a rogue ceremony performed at sea. These women will likely be excommunicated for wanting to serve God fully in the tradition of their faith. The article brought to light that there were ancient women who served as priests and bishops-these facts were covered up by the church by changing their names in religious texts, they deny these women were really in the priesthood and call these statements by scholars a DaVinci Code pipe dream.
I don't believe in God in the way the church puts things forth, but part of me believes in something. I can't put my finger on it, maybe it is a remnant of faith left over from 15+ years of Catholic schooling but it is there. I wish I could articulate what I believe in, but I can't- there just are no words. I don't believe I'll ever return to the church, there are just too many fundamental differences in my beliefs vs. their beliefs.
And truthfully that makes me more than a little sad.