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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Catholic no more

An article at America magazine notes that Francis has been pope for five years now. Perhaps this is a good time for me to state what has been true for me for some time now ... I don't identify as Catholic anymore.

I became a Catholic about 20 years ago. Why I joined and how I felt about the church changed a lot over the years. At first I just wanted a friendly place where I could belong. My sister was living in Japan and I was lonely, I wasn't even really sure I believed in God, but a Catholic church was withing walking distance and Catholicism seemed so exotic and mysterious. That phase lasted for a few years, and I eventually stopped going to church, no closer to knowing anything about God or myself.

Some years after that, the internet happened, and I came upon Ignatian spirituality and took an online retreat. This made a big difference to my ideas about God. But at the same time, I was also learning a lot more about Catholicism too and it wasn't pretty: the sex abuse of children and its continuing cover-up, the treatment of women and LGBT people, doctrines on contraception, divorce, transubstantiation, Mariology, purgatory and indulgences, celibacy, and the incredible wealth disparity between the church and its "preferential option for the poor", to mention a few things.

When Francis became pope I was hopeful that things would change for the better, but he has only doubled down on stuff like the mismanagement of sex abuse and the way women are seen in the church. I think the truth is that the church will never willingly change .... it has painted itself into a corner with its scholastic theory that what's perfect (like God, like the Catholic church) can never be improved upon. Because of this, the church is dying.

There are good things about the Catholic church, yes, but those things can be learned and practiced at pretty much any Christian church or often on one's own, including Ignatian spirituality. I don't want anymore to belong to a church that has become the last redoubt of misogynists, homophobes, child molesters, and worse, people who just don't care about that stuff as long as they are getting what they themselves need out of the institution.


Anonymous Dyan said...

It can be very difficult to verbalize a change that so affects your life. The courage you show in everything from your adventures with your stray kitties to your thoughts about theology is inspiring to me. I appreciate your candidness and am truly thankful for you and the time you take sharing yourself on your blog. Thank you Crystal!

8:41 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thanks, Dyan, very kind. I mostly feel incompetent as I shamble through life leaving a trail of mistakes ;)

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Dyan said...

LOL - so do I :)

9:36 AM  
Blogger Steve Hampton said...

Dear Friend With a Beautiful Soul

The more tags we can divest now; the lighter the baggage when we Arrive. Only by stumbling do we learn to walk.

9:42 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Steve :) Thanks for the encouragement.

10:42 PM  

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