Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Feet firmly planted in quicksand

About the Catholic Church:

I HATE IT!

Oh, and also:

I LOVE IT!

Well, whether I love it or hate it, it’s a part of me that just won’t go away.

And believe me, I’ve tried! I’ve stopped going to Mass, stopped receiving the Sacraments, stopped praying, stopped believing in everything it teaches (well, except for stuff like not murdering – I’ve never murdered anyone. That I know of).

But it’s still there!

And now I think maybe I shouldn't try to "make it go away" anymore. Maybe it's such an intrinsic part of me that taking it away completely would take away a part of myself*. And I kinda like myself, so I'd hate to do that.

I’ve been back and forth, from atheism to Catholicism and back to atheism. There’s really no middle ground for me – it’s either one or the other.

Oh, I do have a few “way stations” that I recognize, letting me know I’m on the move again. For example, when I’m in my “atheist phase” and my reading matter turns to the supernatural (ghost stories, time travel, etc.), it’s a sure sign that somewhere deep inside, I’m hungerin’ for that Eucharistic banquet in the sky.

And when I’m in my full-blown no-holds-barred “Say It Out Loud I’m Roman Catholic and Proud!” phase, I know I’m in trouble when I start rereading my Andrew Greeley novels and window shopping at The Pleasure Chest.

But I never linger very long at those way stations. I've never really been seriously into the New Age stuff (though I do think there's something to the more serious paranormal studies). I've tried Wicca, Buddhism, Unity, Unitarianism, and other forms of New Age/Christian syncretism, and they're all interesting in their own unique way - but none of them are "me" in the same way that Catholicism is.

And it has to be traditional Catholicism. I don't mean the SSPX, OK? Not that traditional! But try as I might, I can't stand liberal Catholicism for very long either. I mean, it's OK (and Father Greeley is a helluva writer), but let's face it - their liturgies stink!.

So it's Catholic or nothing for me. There just doesn’t seem to be any middle ground, which kinda worries me sometimes.

One bright spot, though (at least I think it’s a bright spot) – I don’t THINK I’m one of those obnoxious fundamentalists (either atheist or theist) who insists that “my way is the only way”. I try not to be, anyway. Especially since I know how capricious those “winds of change” are in my own life.

How can I possibly stand in judgment of anyone else when I’m not even sure where I’m standing right now?

(*of course, that's the same philosophy that keeps me from losing weight. ;-) )

Next: Flirting with the East, and with Steve P.

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