Tonight I decided that my mission would be to make new friends and delve better into my faith. I'm not sure I was successful at either one.
At the church near my house they have a Tuesday night book study. Because I was new, I just went to listen and see what it was like. Because I am me, I couldn't restrain myself from comment when I thought there was a discrepancy.
This is how we got into a discussion about whether or not the bread at communion is actually the Eucharist if it isn't blessed by a Catholic priest. I personally think that "wherever two or more are gathered in my name, I am there" (paraphrase, I know) and the whole John 6:46-59 (Bread of Life discourse) means that it doesn't matter who blesses the bread - Jesus is present and in that bread regardless. This of course has nothing to do with Catholic doctrine. So, my disagreement not only helped me not delve into my faith (just Catholic history and a little catechism - which is religion, not faith) but it helped me alienate myself from the other people at the book study who very obviously believed that the words "valid", "illicit", and apostolic something-like-tradition or hierarchy made the difference between Eucharist and not.
All of this leads me to believe that although I accept the blood of Christ at communion, I have not drunk the kool-aid of catholicism. I am, perhaps an un-catholic Catholic.
I don't believe in abortion, but don't think the government should decide what women do with their bodies. I think contraception is a good way to avoid en masse abortions. I do NOT believe I am going to hell for committing the so-called mortal sin of taking communion at a non-catholic church.
I love God. I believe in Jesus. I think that the "incorruptible remains" of deceased saints probably had some great preservation (think Egyptian mummies you can still look at today - I think polytheism pretty much rules out their incorruptible nature according to doctrine).
I think saints are blessed people. I believe in the power of sacraments. I do not think any person, even the pope, is infallible; because if they were they would be perfect and perfection exists only in God.
And I've taught CCD. (Though after reading this, many CCD directors might not let me any more.) I go to church 99% of Sundays. I give of my time and talent to the church for now, but hope one day to be able to donate some treasure too. I want to be married in the Catholic church, raise my children in the catholic faith, and do everything I can to prepare myself for heaven.
But I think that Noah lived for so many years because the lunar calendar (approximately13 cycles/year) was the dominant calendar at one time and his real age was a much more reasonable number. I believe in the Genesis story, but I'm fairly certain that since the sun wasn't created on the first day, that it would have been hard for the first day to be 24 hours (lacking the regular things we use to track a day). So it can't all be taken exactly as written.
All of this, I fear, makes me rather un-catholic.
I'm not giving up on divinity or Jesus making Peter the head of the church. I think the pope has a great relationship with God, scripture, and doctrine and is a moral and spiritual leader. I think priests bring a dynamic to religious celebrations that don't exist in their absence. But if ever I am far from a holy man, I think I can talk directly to God and get his forgiveness.
How much of catholicism do you think you have to believe in before you start seeking out another religion? I love catholic church - the consistency and the prayers; I love the music, the history, the way no matter where I go I can find a family. I've tried other religions and do not feel at home. So, though I am rather un-catholic I am still a Catholic. I'm not sure I believe in every aspect of the religion, but there is no other religion that brings out my faith like catholicism. Being catholic feels like home. I hope that my faith in this world will bring me to my spiritual home in the next.
Love always and God bless, ~Heather