I’m Catholic. I think. Sort of.
I wrote about this five years ago, and I said:
Some people might call me a good Catholic. I go to church most Sundays. I attended mostly Catholic schools. I pray the Rosary. I know the songs and the prayers.
On the other hand, some people might call me an absolutely crap Catholic. I believe in contraception, euthanasia, and abortion. I believe the Pope is fallible and the Eucharist is only a symbol. I believe in premarital sex, homosexual marriage, and profanity. I believe the Bible is inspired by God but made of human language that’s often mistranslated, misinterpreted, and just plain wrong. I believe that when we die and face God, your thoughts and actions – not what name you called Him or what building you talked to Him in – determine whether closeness to Him is salvation or damnation.
I think religion – organized faith – has a purpose. I’ll be the first to admit that, for me, it’s largely a sense of home and belonging. Obviously, I don’t check off every box on the Good Catholic list.
I also think religion – more precisely, what some people do under cover of religion – has done terrible things. It’s the Crusades, ISIL, the IRA, al-Queda, the Westboro Baptist Church.
At the time, my believer-with-an-asterisk status bothered me, but I resolved it with what a priest had told my father when we joined a church after my areligious childhood. He said that if you felt like they belonged, you did.
It’s a kind sentiment, but I’m not sure I believe it anymore.
In the last few months, people I respected espoused beliefs that I couldn’t respect. They voted for an administration that I simply can’t believe Jesus would have been cool with. Yet we all call ourselves Christian.
I’d once have said that politics – and religion, truth be told – didn’t matter very much. But I’ve seen how much they do.
And so, I am at a loss. I don’t feel at home in my country or in my religion. I am shaken and stumbling.
I can’t handle what’s going on in my country without my faith, but I am having trouble reconciling either of those with what I believe.