Thursday, October 3, 2013

Actively Recovering Catholic

My life progression thusfar: Catholic, anti-Catholic, angry ex-Catholic, apathetic ex-Catholic, recovering Catholic, actively recovering Catholic.  My active recovery began as genuine interest in how most parishes differ from the abusive parish of my childhood (St. Monica's in Chicago), then how they differ from each other; eventually each Mass I attended became more personal as it was one not influenced by St. Monica's.  My Catholic identity never really went away, despite how rightfully opposed I was to it for a long time, and I want a more active healing than apathetic distance can offer.

And now I have no idea what I've gotten myself into or what I'm doing or where I'm going.  My stance on dogma hasn't changed: I just don't believe it.  I'm not Christian in any sense: Jesus was a cool guy according to the Gospels but the Messiah, salvation, sin, etc. aren't a part of my spirituality at all.  The theology absolutely fascinates me and I love learning it.  I do believe that something is going on, and attending a nonjudgmental Mass makes me feel just as connected to that something as hiking through the mountains does - just in very different ways.

Aside from my apathy regarding dogma, I do believe in the Catholic Church: when open-hearted people gather together in a sacred (sacred in the sense that it isn't mundane) setting to share a ritual passed on by generations, something is attained.  Yes, the Church hierarchy has done many terrible, awful things and I face those head-on and call people out on their bullshit.  And few people know better than I just how cruel  laypersons, even those who win community service awards in their parishes, can be to each other.  It is because I know the horrors in the Catholic Church that I value the goodness in it and seek it out and want to be a part of it.  Other religions have similar disparities and rituals of togetherness, Catholicism is just the religious language to which I'm attuned.

Of course I'm ready to become more involved in my local Catholic community AFTER moving to an area where there's almost none.
I really have no idea what I'm doing.

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