Let me start this off by saying I do not hate the Catholic church. I was never mistreated by anyone in the Catholic Church directly.
In fact I have overwhelming amazing memories of growing up in my home parish. I found immense joy in my youth church community. And participating in my church grew not only my faith, but my person as well. I think an incredibly large part of who I am is due to what I learned from the Catholic church as well as from the people I met there - who, while human, were overwhelmingly good, kind, loving people doing nothing more than trying to love one another and make the world a better place. And as I've stated before I think everyone should be part of a community like that - one that is focused on generosity of spirit and faith in things outside themselves.
And while I think I've found a pretty fantastic church home (Where "All really does mean All" are welcome) I specifically miss the Catholic church. I miss the beautiful rituals and the smell of the incense. I miss the rhythm and the cadence of the mass. And the way the congregation becomes one as they say the same prayers and sing the same songs. I love the transformative moment when the priest stands at the altar and communes directly with God, reminding us of the bigger picture and the sacrifices that were made for us. I miss the kneeling and the reverence and being forced outside of yourself for a moment.
On top of that there is a good majority of my family history that is tied into the Catholic Church and my heart aches sometimes when I think that my children will not be baptized into the Catholic church - that they will not be accepted into the gorgeous churches that I grew up revering. That my daughters will not dress in white and make their first communion or stand in front of their congregations and confirm their beliefs. That they will not be held up by the saints and angels that I have prayed to for the past 28 years. Will they know the prayers I whisper when I can't sleep and know the beauty of rosaries beads that are not just a necklaces? Will they sing the familiar hymns and know the beauty of kneeling in silence in a wash of gratitude?
It all makes me desperately sad, beyond measure. Not that I don't feel the spirit move. I do. I know there is a plan for my life. There is a divine twisting road that I do my best to follow. And more importantly, I believe God is in the love. He is in the meal I buy the homeless person on the corner. He is in the hug I give to a troubled friend. He is in my marriage and the sweetness we share. He is in my family, who un-endingly loves me, flaws included. He is in the reassuring words I give to my students. That spirit of love and kindness and true, pure beauty swirls around me.
But it's still really hard, even after all this time. Even after all the conflict I always felt going to church even before being gay became an issue (I was always sort of an independent thinking Catholic)
I still feel a disconnect. I still feel a longing. And I don't know if it is the missing of the familiar or what but I know it's there. A small hole. Right in my heart area.
But today isn't about that hole. It's about being in "the love." It's about recognizing that I am a unique creation in this universe (and you are too!) It's about being empowered in the knowledge, that this perfect love...it's what matters in the end.
I am also Catholic. Not sure if I have ever mentioned that in the blog. It has been a struggle at times with being gay as well. I see new hope in the current church. It is not happening overnight but I think acceptance is on the way. I adore Pope Francis. He makes me smile and I have not felt like that in a long time. I too am saddened about our children not being christened in the church, but I take peace in knowing that maybe one day we can be welcomed as a family in my home parish.ReplyDelete
Me too, I think this new pope is so great! He seems genuine and like he is pulling the church back to its roots in charity and love. I do hope someday our families would be welcomed in our churches!Delete
I am new to your blog but I wanted to jump in....because I am a bit confused and wondering if I missed something? I too was raised Catholic although I am by far not practicing because of the many social issues that plague the church. BUT, my son, born into a same-sex marriage WAS baptized in a Catholic Church. It can happen. I even live in a red state in the midwest, but both me and (my now ex) wife stood up there and a priest blessed us and our beautiful son. (My ex is a convert and Catholicism is important to her.) And in the end, I was so glad he had him baptized. On top of that, he will most likely attend Catholic school. So, I am rambling, but I just wanted to let you know that you can be gay and Catholic. And be out. You just have to find the right parish and lordy, those Jesuits are it. :)ReplyDelete
I agree that you can find the right parish and perhaps I should look into a Jesuit parish. I think the bigger issue is acceptance by the rest of the congregation and the myriad of social issues like you said that I can't stand behind. How can I go to a church that doesn't support my marriage? I don't know, there's a lot of internal conflict. But its nice to know you had Chunk baptized and it was a positive experience...maybe I won't rule it out!Delete
P.S. I wish I lived closer because M's creations look amazing. I'll have to order something soon :)