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Friday, March 08, 2013

My Catholic friends
Posted by Bob | 12:16 AM

I have four trusted Roman Catholic friends, two I know personally, two I met online years ago through a KOS spin off site, Street Prophets:

A superb poet, a member of the Franciscan lay order.

A Notre Dame alumnus - with all the nuttiness that gives him, active in community, local politics. parish life.Married, one son.

Office manager of an upstate New York parish, moved there when she married, leaving a  career in corporate Manhattan. Stepmother to her husband's daughter.

An employee of Intel on the West Coast, highly paid. Active in a parish with  a large, poor Hispanic congregation. An out lesbian with a teenage son.

The latter two are in grad school studying theology.

All are in favor of marriage equality. I am not aware of their specific views on Catholic doctrine. All are taking a wait-&-see attitude toward the Papal election.

I also know ex-Catholics & lapsed Catholics. Some had their hearts broken, leaving the Church because they  were so unwelcome. My dad was an ex-Catholic. The Jesuits taught him to think for himself, so he did. I was baptized in a Catholic Church, as were my three older siblings, to allay family fears of Limbo. I was raised Methodist, my mom's side of the family.  I had a Catholic grandmother in my home for the first ten years of my life, & visited her frequently when she retired & moved to Atlantic City.

I listen to these four Catholics much more than I say anything to them about religion. Whenever I write about Catholicism, on my blog or at KOS, it is usually about Catholic practice, not doctrine, rarely the institutional Church of the Bishops. I would never  suggest a Catholic walk away from their Church, as some at KOS do. It is arrogance to presume an intelligent Catholic is not aware of the institutional failings, of their options, or to accuse them of somehow collaborating with child abuse cover-ups & Patriarchal oppression. We are all collaborating with evil. These Catholics do the best they can to steer their time, money & effort into missions of charity & compassion. Can't do that with tax payments. What keeps them in the Church, I believe, is the practice, the observance of Catholicism, its dailiness, the routines.  Their spiritual  calendar is not the one hanging on on the wall. Rather, it is a calendar of seasons & saints, of birth, death & resurrection,  of remembrances,  the celebration of things large & small. A day for blessing pets! Even protestants show up for that.  It is not onerous, as it was in many pre-Vatican II  Irish & Italian families I knew as a kid, attending churches with autocratic priests who knew all the secret sins of their  parishioners.  It can be a very sane way to order one's life. & it is difficult to duplicate outside of the Church. For  my  Catholic friends, it is their Church as much as it is the Church of Cardinals.


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Anonymous Syrbal/Labrys said...
I admire Catholics who can stay and fight for their Church from the inside. I was a convert at age 18...and about 17 years later, when John Paul II basically said that his word counted more than my conscience, I threw in the towel and walked away.

I still view my Catholic years as a stepping stone in my ever wandering spiritual life, which leads me ever further away from theism of any sort. I am grateful for knowing and loving many Catholic friends, priests, and nuns.