The Idea of Catholicism
[Exercise: What religion were you brought up with?]
I was raised Catholic—went to an all-girls Catholic high school in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans. I attended mass, participated in the rituals, was baptized and confirmed, but I was always bored by religion. The words were always just words: empty, without feeling and meaning. To overcome my boredom in church I used to observe people. I studied their faces, what they wore, how they interacted with one another. It wasn’t until later in life that I developed my own personal relationship with God.
My mother used to say, “I’m a Catholic in my own way.” I didn’t fully understand the meaning of her words until I was in college and choose to go to mass a few times. The priest, certain that we all thought and felt the same, made comments that, to me, were highly offensive. The hot button topics for me were abortion and gay rights. I have no problem with people who believe differently, but I do have issue when others assume that I think (or should think) the same as they. To me, this is disrespectful, intolerable.
I love the idea of Catholicism—this universal religion where ALL are welcome and ALL are one with God, but I do not like the politics, the corruption, the greed, and the misogynistic practices and policies of the Catholic Church. For this reason, I do not align myself with Catholicism. I am a child of God, as I believe we all are. I am here to grow in oneness with God, to open myself up to the beauty and truth of creation, and to see God in each and every person. I do like some of the Church rituals, the beautiful architecture, the incense, but those are things I can create for myself, or bring to whatever spiritual activity I choose to engage in.