Monday, May 24, 2010

Blog Share: Guest Post

Blog Share time! Today's share is being hosted by the delightful Bright Yellow World. As I've indicated before, Blog Share is an event in which participants from all over the world submit a guest post to be hosted anonymously on another participant's blog. It's imperative that bloggers don't share the identities of these posters, as we all wish to remain anonymous.

The following post is not my own. Mine is out there in blogdom somewhere. In my previous post, you'll find the links to all of the other bloggers participating in today's Blog Share. Go visit some of them and see what others have to say! Oh, and don't forget to make a comment or two!
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Me? Catholic... I think.

Religion has always been an iffy subject for me. More so because it's
not straight forward, cut clear, than anything else. I grew up in, not
only a Catholic family, but a Catholic country, in which people are
expected to go through the sacraments one by one, no questions asked.
Change of religion? Unheard of! Doubt the faith? Please! And yet, I
rebelled.

Maybe it's because my mom has always been a bit of a liberal and a
spoiler to the core, that she let me get away with not taking first
Communion when I said I wasn't sure I believed what "they" preached,
at age 9. My grandmother was appalled, but my mom was on my side. My
dad has never payed much attention to religion, so he didn't mind
either way. Years went by and while all my friends took their
communions, their confirmations, confessions and started getting
married in church, I was left to the way side saying"'I'm not sure I
believe. I'll abstain until I'm sure."

More years went by. High school, college, jobs and then graduate
school came and went. When I moved to NYC, one of the most eclectic
places I know and where not only is anything possible, it's
encouraged, I started revisiting my beliefs. I started going back to
church, listening to my heart and following my gut. Being at church
for me felt good, it still does. Not because of what the priest was
saying, half the time I didn't agree and still don't, but because of
the spiritual aura I find and connect to while in a chapel, church or
cathedral. And since the Catholic ones are the ones familiar to me,
the ones in which I know what to do and what is appropriate, that's
where I went.

I think I went more to church and mass the 3 years I lived in NYC than
ever before in my life. When I went back home I started attending mass
in the chapel at the university I worked for. And then found a great
priest about 30 mins away and a friend who also liked him, so we went
to his masses on Sunday together. I couldn't take Communion, since the
only sacrament I had gone through was baptism, but I liked the sermon
and felt at piece in church. It was a way to center myself and start
the week afresh.

Some time went by and I decide I would make peace with Catholicism and
enrolled in a course to prepare myself for 3 sacraments: communion,
confession and confirmation. I was 30 when I did this and it felt
right, good. I belonged. Since then I had no problem being Catholic
and saying I was Catholic. In fact in my country it wouldn't come up,
it's a given everyone is Catholic, even if you don't practice it,
which is the case for the vast majority.

Spring forward a couple years and I moved to NYC again. This time to
get my doctorate and with it all beliefs and values got revised again.
This time it felt intense, more serious. It wasn't just me and for my
sake anymore. It seemed that as an educated adult I needed to define
myself, know where I stood and be able to say with conviction "I am
this versus that" and mean it. And this is where things got tricky
again.

You see, if you ask me I'll say I'm Catholic and you will probably put
me in the box of whatever definition of a Catholic you have. But I am
a different kind of Catholic, at least by American standards. I don't
go to church every Sunday, I barely go these days. I pray practicing
my style and only when I remember. I believe God is energy and is
inside everyone of us, not some white beard omnipotent man ready to
strike us down whenever we sin. I believe there is a dark side to
everyone, but don't believe in the Devil. I have my doubts about hell,
but for sure understand heaven as the place our souls go to once we
pass away. I believe in reincarnation and past lives. I read tarot
cards and communicate with the spirit world. I "talk" to my guides and
angels on a regular basis. If given the chance I would choose life,
but I believe every woman has the right to choose and if abortion is
her choice, that should be ok with everyone, so I am pro choice. I
believe homosexuality is part of what some people are, they were born
that way and should be accepted as we should accept everyone else. And
contraception? Yes, please!

I am ashamed of some of the terrible things the Catholic church has
done to man kind throughout history in the name of God, and do not
understand how a religion based on sacrifice and votes of poverty, has
it's headquarters in a city made of gold. I think if priests were
allowed to marry things would make more sense, as well as include
women in the clergy. And don't even get me started on child abusing
priests.

So you see, I probably wouldn't fit into most people's definitions of
a person of the Catholic faith. And yet, I find it terribly taxing to
even think of changing religions at this point of the game, or to
begin searching high and low for some definition that better suits my
eclectic beliefs. There probably isn't one, because I truly feel like
I have taken from different religions what suits me, what makes sense
to me and rings true, and gone ahead and believed that. Yet, if you
ask me about my religious background I say I am Catholic and I do wear
a cross, I hold dear, around my neck at all times.

There you have it, this is me. Catholic by name and custom, but
probably not by definition, at least not the one we would find in a
dictionary. Does it bug me? Sometimes. Will I do somehting about it
besides explain it a little bit? Probably not. I'm ok being "my type"
of Catholic, I hope you are ok with that too.

4 comments:

  1. i think that as long as you get what you need to out of your religion, faith and beliefs, you can call yourself whatever you want. Im the same way with being jewish.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really, really awesome post.

    I also find myself revisiting my faith after years of not going to church. I think people who doubt and question and re-evaluate end up stronger in their faith than the people who blindly accept things. And it's a real shame how people assume they know everything about you once they know you're Catholic (or any other religion.) God means something different to each one of us; there's no reason to pigeon-hole people. Thanks for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous10:44 PM

    I'm right there with you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love your post! And you can define yourself anyway you want to.

    The Catholic church in our area is incredibly liberal. A far cry from the Roman Catholic church, so I know and identify very much with you. But your spirtuality and or religion are yours alone to define.

    Great writing!

    ReplyDelete

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