Me, You And That Other Guy In The Pew.

I’ve been Catholic since the Easter Vigil this year and I already feel embattled. I don’t like to feel embattled, I like to feel peaceful, prayerful and calm. I know this is part of being Catholic, that Jesus was embattled, but I already lack the required amount of sleep needed to function sanely because of a wily two-year old and I honestly don’t think I have the energy. Along with feeling embattled, little flies of doubt keep buzzing around me like I’m the lemonade at a picnic. I feel challenged to explain a faith I just gained. First, I have Grandpa, “The Cheetos Loving Atheist,” sending me emails to make sure I am up to date on any controversy from the Vatican or as he calls it, “the church”. Next, I have the news blasting away about “the church’s” unfair treatment of nuns, gay marriage and holy leaks. When I look at all the comments to these news stories online, I see a long list of anger, disappointment, even hate for “the church”. Then I have my husband challenging me on what he sees are “archaic teachings” of  “the church”. Mix in my own confusion and I feel like a very small pebble on the underside of a very dirty shoe. What a mess.

I didn’t know this when I joined, but I guess when you are Catholic, it is automatically your responsibility to answer for everything “the church” does. I’m kidding of course, but that’s what it feels like. Here’s the thing — I can’t and I seriously shouldn’t be allowed to as I would mix words and concepts into a giant hair-ball and end up crying  “But I really do like being Catholic just ’cause!” with tears of frustration.  Like I said on my bio for this blog, “I am constantly amazed at how much I don’t know.” What I do know is this, I am not in “church” to jump kicking and screaming into the political arena. I don’t think this makes me a hypocrite or a coward or even blind. I think this makes me like many other Catholics who come together to praise God, pray and help others within a beautiful tradition established by Christ. And I knew going in, If I wasn’t willing to accept the Catholic church’s teachings I didn’t have to be Catholic. This doesn’t mean I always agree with everything but I do try to understand.

It seems I am also supposed to defend how I can stay with “the church” after such continued corruption, poor decision making and mismanagement.  To that I ask, if I have to leave every institution that is corrupt or mismanaged then what country should I live in? Where should my kids go to school? Where should I bank? Where should I work?  “The church”, in reality, is not just high powered men in Rome, it is also all of us “laity” who are Catholic. I don’t know about you but I’m not corrupt (not to say that all high powered men in Rome are corrupt either). In fact, our small, seemingly insignificant actions mean just as much to God and the world- if not more. Unfortunately they are hidden under an umbrella of bad press. Where is the PR company for the Vatican anyway? Can’t they take some heat off us little guys?

It is my choice to do my part (as a Catholic) to act as a Christian within the world; to be loving to my neighbors, help those less fortunate and follow the example of Jesus within the structure of the church.  And when all is said and done, if  “The Catholic Church” also consists of me and you and that other guy in the pew… don’t we have a right to be cool with it? I think so.

9 thoughts on “Me, You And That Other Guy In The Pew.

  1. Awesome! Its not up to you or to me to give account for the “corruption” in the church. God will deal with that in due time. Keep living right and loving people. That is what Christ wants for us! Stay strong! Be “cool with it” as you said. Let the negativity fall off of you like water off a ducks back! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Hi Squirrel! I love your blog and I love your quest for spirituality. We need more people like you in the world. Everyone finds there own path, their own “Church,” their own way, whether in this life or the next (at least that’s my view), so I have no problem with Catholicism, per se.
    I do think that when you choose a specific form of Christianity you might want to know why, even if only for yourself. Being kind to your neighbors, helping your fellow “man,” and even following Jesus’ teachings can all be done in the Protestant, Presbyterian, and even Buddhist faith (Buddhism isn’t’ really a faith, but that’s a different story). So, when Catholicism has some of the most controversial “rules” of our current time, why pick that faith?
    Really, I’m not being mean, just curious and thought provoking. Another really good friend of mine recently converted as well, so you are not alone by any means!
    I have my own ideas of why you might have chosen the Catholic Church, but it would be interesting to hear them from you.
    Love, me

    1. I didn’t want to get into “apologist” stuff with this post so I avoided reasons but I totally agree! I plan on having a “why catholic” category on this blog. Believe me though I learned all about it before diving in. In fact the Catholic church puts you through a year long (in my case) course called RCIA which teaches you all about the church before you can even be Catholic. They want to make sure you know why even if you don’t want to. A brief summary for my why: I like having a formal structure to the church that helps consolidate what is taught. I’ve been in Evangelical and Protestant churches where much of what was preached was largely dependent on how the Pastor for that church viewed the teachings of the bible, which wasn’t for me. I also appreciate the beauty and mystery of the church’s traditions, that the bread and wine really are the blood and body of Christ, and that Mary and all the saints (which include many women) actually have a profound roll in the faith. I like how the Catholic church makes context crucial when reading the bible, and the spiritual blessings of The Sacraments are important to me. Also, the Catholic church was started by Jesus. All these factors and more that I haven’t listed make me fit in well with the Catholics. The Catholics also believe there are many ways to God so it isn’t a “my way or the highway” except when they are dealing with poor nuns apparently 🙂

      1. You’re doing well for a “newbie” and I would add, as a former protestant, that if I were to seek out the best teaching of the 30,000+ churches of the protestant denomination (each of whom believes that they have it right) it would take me 1 Sunday each week for 575 years. I can’t wait that long. Besides, the authority was given by Christ to the apostles and none of the reformers to my recollection was visited by Christ and given the same authority nor did Christ ever revoke the authority from the Church He founded. Christ did say that scandal would come but that happened in the Old Testament Church as well and their covenant is still in place. God does not change his mind — but we often do get presumptuous — presuming that God will not bear with those sinners. News flash! We’re all sinners and he is still bearing with us as he did with the Jews. God bless and keep learning and praying.

  3. just read this post i love it !keep up the good work.you put things in perspective for me,and im a cradle Catholic. think im going thru a dry spell please pray for me.God BLess YOu Debbie Ptak

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