For what I assume was my never-ending stream of questions, I was asked by the Bishop who confirmed me not to come back until my next sacrament (be it marriage or last rights). As such, my next statement might as well be “you can’t fire me, I quit”.
I am done with Catholicism, and the Catholic church has only itself to thank for pushing me away.
It's not about ritual, it's not about dogma, and it's not about priests who are kid touchers (though that is kind of hot). It has nothing to do with transubstantiation or the holy trinity or plenary indulgence.
I am sick of the pope, and I am especially tired of Benedict XVI.
I’ve been told before that I’m an old soul, and there are many reasons in the history of the papacy to despise the very concept of the Holy See. I don’t claim to have lived though The Western Schism (an outstanding time in history to find a better religion, like Zoroastrianism), but even if I did and remembered, the lunacy of my lifetime is enough to give up the vicar of Christ for good.
My crisis of faith was actually conceived during Catechism. For those of you intelligent enough to not be Catholic, you can’t just confirmed without about 10 years of Church School. You have to prove you know all your standard prayers (Hail Mary, Our Father, Apostles Creed, Act of Contrition, The Beatitudes), the four marks of the church (One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic), the significance of transubstantiation, the holy trinity, but most importantly how the Catholic church is the only right and true way to worship, and everyone but the Catholics are going to hell.
"Wasn’t Jesus a Jew?" I asked.
"Yes." Replied Mrs. Poolan, the holiest Church School teacher who wore Nike Hiking Boots.
"So why would Jesus let his father send his people to hell?" I wondered.
There wasn’t really a response.
One day we were discussing homosexuality, which was an interesting topic since our church had a priest who was considered by everyone to be such a dynamic speaker and caring person, someone who made him or her want to go to church. "Look at all the outreach he did, the time he set aside to work with troubled teenage boys in his congregation." Do I need to tell you where this is going? Everyone was heart broken when Father Gary was suddenly called away to because he had been caught kid touching at our church and there was fresh meat someplace else for him to sample.
With all of that behind us, a different church school teacher (I had many, they could only take so much of me) was telling us how “Homosexuals can still be loved by God and go to heaven, provided they never act on their urges.”
: : scraches head : :
I certainly didn’t ask this at the time (I had some restraint), but I have always wondered: if God sends homos to hell, and a homo priest fellates a hetero teenage boy in his parish, does God just give the kid a mulligan?
Once I asked Mrs. Poolan, “Growing up in a world with teen pregnancy and AIDS, isn't it irresponsible for our church to prohibit the use of condoms?”. "No" she answered "you have abstinence".
Huh. Good one, though I much preferred the part where your daughter made you a grandmother before her 19th birthday, with no baby-daddy in sight. I guess abstinence didn't make her hole grow fonder.
Which brings me to the point of this post.
The Catholic Church is the most backward, regressive, irresponsible institution on Earth. Every time I think I’m overreacting and that I should give them a break, they smack me upside the head and prove me right again. Benedict issued his first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est" (God is Love) yesterday:
MESSAGE FROM THE VATICAN: Pope: Loveless sex deceives
Benedict XVI delves into charity and relationships
January 26, 2006
BY NICOLE WINFIELD
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his first encyclical Wednesday that sex without unconditional love risks turning men and women into merchandise.
I’m sorry, I have to stop for a second. Did a 78-year-old man who has not had sex for at least 54 years (or ever if he’s a "good" Catholic) just speak out against sport fucking? And on my birthday??
I am fully aware that the US is not the center of the known universe, so I’m not going to play the “50% divorce rate” card, but everywhere I’ve been outside the US also thinks that breeding (or the attempt at breeding) is a recreational activity.
Benedict’s 71 page paper explores the relationship between Eros (the love of a man and a woman) and agape (unconditional, self-giving love), which he feels are unified when a man marries a woman.
I’m all for pair bonding, I don’t have any problem with monogamy (it’s one of many lifestyle choices an adult can make), but the Catholics have this fetish for marriage that I just can’t buy into. As an old religion, they maintain their numbers through (1) marriage, (2) prohibition of birth control, and (3) instilling fear on Catholic parents that they are responsible for their child’s soul until the child is confirmed. Catholics make more Catholics through their inability to be abstenate and the guilt of the child not making it to confirmation, and the kid’s immortal soul being let down. Psychologically, it's not only the foundation of a very unhealthy relationship, but it makes for an awkward Thanksgiving dinner.
Remember, these are the find folks who brought you purgatory. Not only is there someplace potentially worse than hell, but if a little baby (who is “born with original sin”) isn’t baptized before (s)he dies, the little soul will float endless in purgatory for all time. That’s the hypocrisy I’ve come to know and love: I can’t have an abortion and end this innocent life that I helped conceive, but if I have the kid and it dies before baptism it’s little soul rots and never gets to know the wonders of Heaven. I’m surprised I’ve never heard that the souls of aborted fetuses float in purgatory, but then again I haven’t been in a church since my grandmother’s funeral six years ago.
Back to the madness:
"Eros, reduced to pure sex, has become a commodity, a mere thing to be bought and sold, or rather, man himself has become a commodity."
Wait…"has become"? What was Mary Magdalen? You’re telling me that sex hasn’t been bought and sold since the beginning of recorded history? (This is where I avoid a segue into discussing [Un]Intelligent Design).
"Those who practice charity in the church's name will never seek to impose the church's faith upon others"
Of course, he’s speaking about 2005, and has completely forgotten about the Catholic Church’s many attempts to take over the world. There is also a whole lot of discussion about charity coming from a man whose toothbrush is made of gold.
We were talking last night at dinner about the current state of America politics, and at what point the right wing is going to wakeup and say "my beliefs are intact, but our President needs to go". There was a comic I read the other day about testing that theory by telling people that Bush needed to kill their kitten, and would they let him.
Practicing Catholics are no better, allowing hypocrites to eschew dogma at them. It has reached a point where they’ve stopped thinking and just swallow the doctrine like a baby bird eating the vomit from momma bird’s mouth (hi Virginia).
The older I get, the more of a secular humanist I become. My crisis of faith sent me in search of another religion, and what I found was that I would never know peace by knowing Jesus. I’m sure that makes many people sad, and they’re going to pray for my soul. I appreciate that, but I hope your faith comforts you while the carbon cycle is making short work of you.