I am a liberal Catholic.
Quite opposite, as many know.
I am a liberal Catholic.
I am someone who has also been struggling with my faith.
I have gone through many trials in my past. As someone who has been so close to suicide, it’s hard for me to accept some of the basic principles I was taught as a child. I should love myself for I was created in God’s image. I should love all of those around me and treat them how I would want to be treated.
Today is a very important day in the United States and has prompted me to write on it.
Today, men and women’s voices will be heard to promote gay rights and gay marriage. Equal rights for all.
Today makes me question my faith even more.
What do I believe in?
The Bible is riddled with contradicting statements everywhere. It’s incredibly inconsistent. This lenten season, I’ve taken to reading the Bible every day. I read the Old Testament in my free time and the New Testament for homework.
I was reading an article about a guy and his experience with Spiritual Abuse. It was extremely moving, especially to me, but there was something very profound he said towards the end.
He talked about how someone he knew told him that God hates all of us. I think he said it was in the book of Revelations. The writer argued with this person, believing them to mean that God hates the sin and not the sinner. The other person corrected him. God hates the sinner and calls upon all of his other believers to hate the sinner as well.
This is very interesting. I find this very interesting. How many times is it preached in mass, private schools, and the New Testament that God loves each and every one of us? Then this one sentence in one book comes out and people cling to it.
This is what really gets me.
I went to a Catholic school (actually 2 different ones) for 13 years. I have been taking a class called Introduction to the New Testament at college for about half a semester. I think I have learned more in these past few months about Christ and Christianity than I had in those 13 years.
The first “New Testament” wasn’t fully assembled until 367 C.E., more than 300 years after the death of Jesus. Out of this New Testament, no two writings are exactly the same- whether it be one word or the majority of book.
I remember my 7th grade religion teacher telling us that historians do know and believe that Jesus was a human and was on this earth. I remember thinking, ‘How is that supposed to make me believe that he was, though?’ I mean, it did reassure me for a while, but then I became like most of the other people in my school. We went to church because our parents made us or it was going on in school. We were told that we were required to go each week or we sinned by not observing the Sabbath.
My family stopped.
The only reason we did when I was younger was because of my mom. My dad went along with it because he loved her. We were baptized and received our first communions because it was what she wanted for us to do. But even my mom struggled with her faith, apparently. I just found that out this weekend through my sister.
And to think that our extended relatives on my mother’s side use her as blackmail for us to be good Catholics.
My mom didn’t fully believe until she had to. She believed when she was diagnosed with cancer because that was the only option of survival. She acknowledged that she wasn’t strong enough to fight the battle on her own. She died believing she would see us all again some day in heaven. That’s what would get her through the day when she knew she wasn’t going to live much longer. Believing that she wouldn’t be leaving us and she would still get to see us, know us, and love us in a better place helped her mind. At least, that’s how my sister put it.
I want to believe that she is and that she was right to believe. I want to believe it so much that it makes me tear up. It makes me hurt.
I don’t know though. I don’t doubt it all that much. But when my sister said that she believed because she had to, that made me question her a little.
I love my sister and she is one of the smartest people I know. She knew our mom better than I did. I was ignorant and don’t remember much of what happened when she was alive. But I also wonder if my sister added the last part to support her own beliefs. My sister identifies herself as more agnostic or even atheist now. I couldn’t handle the disappointment of our dad, not ever. He is my solid, highest being. I get mad at him for things, yes, but I know that if he wasn’t here today, I wouldn’t be either. Our mom was more of that to her than our dad. While her way of thinking isn’t as drastic as mine, I know the fear of not believing and thus disappointing our mom ways more heavily on her heart than it does mine. Of course, she’s independent to still think how she wants to, but it does create another burden.
It’s just, her knowing that our mom struggled with her faith and as she said “only believing when she had to” helps her cope with the fact that she doesn’t now and probably won’t ever again.
I have to admit it helps me too. Maybe not as much, but it does. I mean, if I do believe, then I believe that some day I will be reunited with her. But if not, then what do I have to fear? Her memory? Why would I need to cope with something that ceases to exist thus eliminating the source of the fear?
What am I supposed to do on this earth to live a fulfilled life? How am I supposed to honor the memory of my mother if I believe that she is forever gone?
By loving those around me and actively showing it.
This brings me to the internal affair in my mind right now.
I follow this group on Facebook– Catholic Memes. My friends at the center rave about how funny it is. I started following it shortly before the beginning of conclave. I really enjoyed the memes about the pope; it was all very exciting and a joyous occasion. A little after the election, I started seeing some of the real memes. I honestly didn’t understand some of them so I didn’t really care too much. I then saw one about a scientist that said something along the lines of a baby pig being more human than a fetus… I forgot how to science.
I laughed a little bit– I’m a big fan of putting nouns in place of verbs. I then went through the comments.
I read so much hate. So much anger. So much frustration. Hate, anger, and frustration from both sides.
I can agree from both sides.
While this scientist is probably correct- the baby pig is more developed and contains more similar DNA to humans than a fetus at a certain time- he is also incorrect. It doesn’t justify the taking of a human life.
While the scientist is incorrect on trying to justify abortions in this way, the people against him are incorrect in saying he’s incorrect about his results.
Guys. He’s a scientist. If this article was posted in some scientific journal, then his results have gone through some extremely rigorous examination, critique, and editing by other scientists in the community. If it wasn’t posted in something scholarly, then have at him because who knows where he got his data from. But if it was, then be aware that this is a result based off of experimentation that has been looked over by many eyes. You’re not just attacking the individual, but the science community. Remember- science is what you turn to usually when you’re sick. Scientists know what they’re doing (most of the time.)
But all this hate. All of these Catholics, people of my faith community, attacking one another viciously.
Today, I have seen several equal signs on Facebook.
Today, I have seen several other signs from Catholic Memes.
Today, I have seen a lot of love for the men and women fighting for marriage equality and people themselves fighting for it.
Today, I have seen a lot of hate for those people fighting for their equality and for homosexuals in general.
The bible contradicts itself. How is that a reliable source? Somebody answer me. They aren’t the direct words of God, but rather of his followers from thousands of years ago, interpreted in different ways every time by billions of people from every corner of the globe from every age.
But then again, I’m a contradiction as well. A liberal Catholic?
Where is love here? What is love? People say love is God. Love is Jesus. Love is that special someone. Love is family.
Love is kindness. Love is fairness. Love is justice. Love is equality. Love is friendship. Love is romantic. Love is patient.
It does not seek to hurt, but to mend.
Jesus sought not create peace, but division.
Is there a single right answer?