It seems so easy. You just stop going. Sunday comes around, and you will yourself not to care. Later as you get accustomed to lingering over coffee and longer than normal web-surfing sessions, all the guilt is gone and you savour the morning. Eventually, the fact that any given day of the week is actually Sunday may totally escape your notice. That’s where I am. I have no need for church.
Except when something doesn’t go my way, when unsure, when something big is coming up. And it’s not really church that I need, but that’s when I feel the loss of my faith because… because well, the habit of prayer has been especially annoying. It has indeed become a habit over the years. If I’m feeling down, unconsciously it pours forth… Our Father… Hail Mary… Please help, please hear, be with… me…
I call out inside to that being or person or creator that I once thought was there, I catch myself in the lie… or in the uncertainity — at best.
Do agnostists pray? Do atheists? And if not, what is there to do with those feelings of need and loneliness? Can the logic of my argument for there not being a higher power comfort in the dark of the night?
I don’t know.
I hesitate to say, to explain, to mourn. My mother believed so much. You may not feel the betrayal that cuts my heart in two. You may never have been on the side of faith as I have. I don’t judge you. I have crossed the once unfathomable ocean and live amongst you now. Looking upon the church and her trinkets as foreign, wondering how I ever dwelt there.
Yesterday I found out that the priest who was the cornerstone of the Medjugorje Marian apparitions has been defrocked by the Pope. That means he will no longer be a priest. The reasons seem vast. Amongst them, at some point he got a nun pregnant but worst of all created the whole apparition phenomenon with those six children out of thin air. It’s all a farce. The main stream news is carrying it. The Catholic news is reporting it.
For those of you who don’t know, Medjugorje is THE modern place of pilgrimmage. Because Mary, mother of Jesus, was said to appear there to six children. With prophecies and messages and calls to pray the Rosary beads. Countless people I know have personally traveled there at great expense to be part of the miracle, to receive grace, to be a good Catholic. And it’s all a farce.
You can be a Catholic without believing all the bells and whistles. Few will tell you that. But spend enough time in a pew, with the people, you will quickly discover that it is the people who carry and push and desperately want to believe all the extras so very badly. And herd mentality, peer pressure, whatever you want to call it takes over.
My mother was one of those people. She spent the greater part of her last days believing God was asking her to be the very opposite of the person he had made her. I know what believing in this farce did to her. I know how it made her even sicker than she already was. I know how the church perpetuates it. It is fine to believe as long as it fills the pews. And yet now when the man responsible is found to be a charlatan, he is defrocked IN SECRET.
People, I am so sick, so weary, so disenfranchised, so betrayed. I am one of the faithful. I was one of the faithful. Now lost.
Don’t ask me. I don’t know. I mean I do know, but if I tell, I’ll lose you.
I want to tell, to talk, to chat, to consider – thoughtfully – other ideas. But backed into a corner, I am.
I have not spoken about the election or my opinions regarding in because in the last week, I’ve learned that my friends, my dear friends, believe one thing and I another. And at the moment there is no bridge between us. From their vantage, a thunderstorm pours down over my head and demons come ’round the nearest trees ready to drag me off to hell. From mine, my Father has never seemed closer and freedom is in my hands. No more chains, no more shoulds, no certainties either, but where that seems beautiful to me, I know that others think of me as lost. Never ever – ever! – did I imagine feeling so alike and yet so different. I suppose I should come out and say it… so Catholic and yet so not.
I’m mourning. It would seem that I am undergoing one final metamorphosis.