Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Thoughts on Catholicism... (a lengthy post)

(Sorry for the length, this is something important to me.)

With the recent passing of the pope I have been thinking much of my relations with the Catholic Church. My devotion to the church has been almost virtually nonexistent since the time I left high school. At that point I had heard much of the disappointment of my community in the decisions of our new bishop. This new bishop had stopped a project to start a new Catholic school, which many had been invested in for years. People tried to convince the bishop of continuing the project, but there was no convincing him. So it was officially killed under his authority.

This is one aspect of the Catholic Church that appears to upset people the most, the hierarchical system of government. Being Catholic gives you no influence over the decisions of the church, and American citizens have little experience with having any system that they don't have a say in. This had confused me as a child because the Catholic Church is differentiated from other denominations mostly because of having this hierarchy, but at the same point this is what I saw giving the most frustration to its members. My mother and all my relatives on her side are the Catholics of my family, and all of them are "liberal Catholics". These are the same that argue over the status of women in the church, the abortion issue, and homosexuality. Regardless of their views none of them have ever had any wish of leaving the church, the church is part of their identity and what they grew up with. Most Catholics I know find the church as a source of comfort and have great respect for the rich history and tradition it offers. They still want the church to be more progressive and at the same time still love Catholicism for its stability. I always thought that to be amusing.

I have not been to mass since I went with one of my friends in College Station almost a year ago. No, I haven't even been for Christmas or Easter celebration. I haven't had confession since 1999, the year I graduated high school. At the same time I still refer to myself as Catholic and keep up with what is going on in the church. My faith has remained constant, but the influence of the "liberal" trend in Catholicism and that of my atheist father made me question the credibility of the church. That was all I saw, that the church kept up with outdated beliefs and that many of the community remained out of comfort and not true belief.

One trait I really dislike the most in people is shallowness. I never want to be seen that way. When I go into something, I go into it with passion. If I loose that passion, I question why I do it in the first place. So of coarse this inner conflict has led me through years of searching, both through other religions and for faith in the one that I was raised in.

What did I end up with? In the end nothing can replace my love of the Catholicism. It is part of my identity. I have made this conclusion a while ago, but I haven't felt ready to go back till now. It may seem silly that the death of the pope has given the idea that I'm ready to go back. Reading about him brought me back to my original ideas that I had conflicted with years ago, that there is a need for this ancient system and these old ideas. Well, my old conflicts all seem silly to me now. I can't believe in any other church because they lack the same stability of ideas. I truly love the church's consistency through our fast passed world and I hope it never changes. Am I actually more of a traditionalist? Maybe it has to do with my development through my education....

I realize that this post is really long and I am hungry. I'll finish this later tonight.


Jessica said...

That's weird cause all the time I've known you, you seem to just go along with whatever religion fits at the moment. You always seem to change it. You've believed in some crazy stuff throughout the years but I could honestly care less what the hell you think or believe.

That's your own personal decision and personal life. I could care less what my friends current views are cause they change constantly. I've never believed in any actual denomination except the plain idea of God and Jesus. The very basics of christianity. The little traditions of each denomintation have done nothing for me in my life but confuse me. And because I'm not as smart as God I know he will forgive me if I choose the wrong one. My basic beliefs in christianity despite my upbringing have brought me contentment and happiness in life which is something I can't say for all people.

All the times in the hospital when I was about to die all I felt was comfort and a sense of protection. Thus I believe I am on the right path when it comes to religion.

el said...

That makes me think of the South Park movie. Not a direct quote: "So who got it right?", " It was the mormons."

They portrayed religion as a big guessing game. Which I believe many do, and I have done in the past. I know now that is not the point.

I have been quite unstable through my deciosions in religion, which has taken me in some wierd and different areas. I have never lost my faith in God though. I have always been searching.

You know I have no quarel with your religious veiws. I am not one to try and convert others to any different denomination. People giving the idea of superiority over others because of their particular way of worshipping God has made me angry with many when I was younger. I will always have my liberal backings no matter what faith I am.

I realize that others will not agree with my views in this area. I have spent way too much damned time worrying about what others think. So I think right now I am going to go for what I love. Why continue to associate myself as Catholic if I do not go back to the church?

Basically, just as you believe that you are on the right path, I want to feel the same way. I think that is why I have reaccuring dreams of death... they always end with me thinking that I haven't made peace in this area of my life. I know you don't particularly care what I believe in because it has changed in the past, but I had to write about it anyway. I love the tradition of the church. I know your beliefs. I need the consistancy of tradition and the inner peace that faith brings.

I will write more on it later, though not tonight.

Yakiniku said...

Nice post Kabu! You got it exactly right on Pope John Paul II. He was a symbol of consistancy in a time of great changes. Religious truths do not change to suit the politics of today. Most other denominations of the Christian faith are almost identical because they change so often. Catholicism is different because, for the most part, it has been consistent and stable.

el said...

Thanks, I'll post on that again when I don't feel as rushed.