Opinionated MeReligion

My hate-love relationship with the Catholic Church.

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it is the start of Lent, the holiest period of the Catholic calendar. It is period for repentance, abstinence, prayer and reflection. I was not able to go to Church to get ashes, and honestly, I did not try very hard to figure it out. As you may have read on Mamiverse, I have a conflicted relationship with the Catholic Church at this time.

First, because, as a woman I firmly believe, with all my being, that it is a woman’s choice to choose how she reproduces. These are not decisions that can be made by Congress, or by the Vatican. (Really? Old (primarily) white men think they should have a say on a woman’s bodily functions?) These are decisions that women should be making with their partners and spouses, with help of a physician.

Second, because as a human being, and especially now as a mother, I am pretty abhorred by the sexual abuse scandals. The people who you are supposed to trust to lead you in a life of faith to help you get closer to God, are hurting the most precious beings on earth, children! People who abuse children take their innocence, and use their positions of power and authority to hurt. They betray the trusts parents have put in them. 

Third, because, being taught that God is love, and that God loves everyone, it is hard for me to understand the position that two same-sex individuals are not recognized by the Church as having a real, loving relationship.

From what I’ve read in the Bible, Jesus accepted all people, so the Church should do the same. Who am I to judge? Live and let live is what I say.Gay people have the same color of blood running through their veins, experience emotions in the same way. I am not, and neither is the Church, anyone to condemn them.

 

Fourth, because I believe that priests should be allowed to be married, and experience what family life is all about. (Didn’t God say “Go Forth and Multiply”??) Then maybe I would feel they are in a better position to want to counsel other couples and families. I can’t talk to a priest about the arguments I have with my partner, because he will simply not relate. “Father, I had a fight with my husband, because I got angry that he left his dirty towel on the floor. I work and work, and he doesn’t care about the house, I am not feeling appreciated.”  Can the Priest respond “I know exactly what you’re talking about; I had that problem the other day. We talked it out.” NO—he cannot.*(not to mention the more profound discussions that happen in a marriage, about finances, raising children, in-laws, etc.)

Finally, because I believe that women have every right to be close to God and should be allowed to be priests if they wanted to. Why not? In the New Testament there are female characters who evangelized and spread the Word of Jesus. Why couldn’t there be women priests?

That was the hate, here’s the love.

All this being said, I think I will probably be fasting on Fridays (no meat) and I am pretty certain at this point, that I will be baptizing my son (yes, I know he is almost 2 and not yet baptized!) Also, sending our son to Catholic School is a real possibility.

Why? Well, the fasting on Fridays during Lent, because I probably would feel a bit guilty (ha! There’s that Catholic guilt for ya!) not doing it, but probably also because I did it growing up. Baptizing Enzo because while I do not necessarily agree with everything, I think he needs some foundation. I will give that to him, and when he is older he can decide what he wants to do.

The Catholic School thing for a couple of reasons:

First, I went to Catholic school, and I have fond memories of my time in school. I know my parents sacrificed to send us to a Catholic school because they wanted us to be in a place with discipline and smaller classes, and to learn about God. (Most importantly, because they weren’t confident that we would get a good education in the public school system!) So, if I could have absolute certainty that my son would receive a good education at a public school, then I would send him… but I am not impressed by what I see thus far. We will see what happens.

Catholic school seems like a good and affordable option for us. (At the price that private independent schools in NYC cost, Catholic school is ABSOLUTELY a great option!)  Also, I really love the great diversity in Catholic schools, and I want my son to be exposed to a variety of people (FYI- you don’t have to be Catholic to go to a Catholic school!)

Something else I admire is the good work that the Catholic Church and many nuns in particular do in their communities.  Having attended Fordham University, I value and believe that we should be “men and women for others.”

So, I guess it’s not all bad… like all things in life, you take the good with the bad, and make the best of it, right? I hope that the next Pope will examine and think about the issues that concern me, and many other (Liberal) Catholics.

 *This is a fictitious scenario… my Hubbs does not leave dirty towels on the floor! 🙂

Diana Limongi
welcome! I'm a mom, activist, nonprofit professional and writer from Queens, NY. I blog about motherhood, parenting and raising my multilingual and multicultural kids in NYC. I have two kids, a 7 year old and a toddler.

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