Sunday, March 19, 2006

I dislike buffet religious types

Culture: Especially the ones who write in a tone that makes your sugar levels go up.

I am as Catholic as the moon is round. It's not visible, sometimes, the moon, my Catholicism, but it's there, pulling the tides, shaping the earth, pulling and shaping me. I knew who made me before I knew who I was. God made me. ''Why did God make you?" the catechism asked. ''God made me to show His goodness and to make me happy with Him in Heaven," the catechism taught me. I was a child who loved being a Catholic. I loved bowing my head at the name of Jesus, kneeling, lighting candles, inhaling incense, listening to Latin prayers and Gregorian chant. I loved Saturday afternoon confession and Sunday morning Communion, the ritual, the cleansing, the knowing that if I got hit by a car on my way home from either, I would ascend right to Heaven and behold God's face. I loved words like ''ascend" and ''behold." They took the sting out of life and death. ....Forty years later a different priest called me a cafeteria Catholic, but not in a mean way. He said it with an understanding born of having said this many times before. But he said it with a warning, too. You cannot choose what to believe if you are a Catholic. You have to believe what the church teaches. I didn't. And I don't. And I am not the only one. The church was kind when I went back. The child who wanted to be a saint grew into a woman who left the church for 17 years. The moon rose and fell and tugged and shone, but I said no, I am not following you. And then one day, the moon lit up a man I did follow, a good man and a good priest. He said, ''God loves us all," and he meant it. He said, ''People are good," and he believed it. He said at the end of every Mass, ''Go and serve the Lord and one another." And he did. I forgave the church its trespasses because of him. I opened my eyes and saw that there were no longer just altar boys serving Mass. There were altar girls as well. I saw lay people reading. I saw Eucharistic ministers. I saw a community where there once had been a kingdom. I turned a deaf ear to Rome's dictates about premarital sex, divorce, artificial insemination, and contraception. Yes, the church was against these things, but when I returned, it was to a parish where there was no finger-pointing. This church was holding out its arms.
I have respect for those who at least try to follow their faith and teachings, if they realize this is disagreeing with their own feelings/thinking, they at least try to adapt or just leave all together. This Beckham character wants to go to the buffet, picking and choosing while still having the title of Catholic as some sort of status symbol. Pathetic. Represent or sit down.

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