icewolf: snowy wolf (strangling a swan)
Believe it, or not!

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icewolf: snowy wolf (Love is a Family Value)
So, the bishops of the Roman Catholic church are hanging out in Baltimore for a few days. Normally, I'm all for this, being Catholic. Nice to see you guys, make sure you see the Harbor, have some blue crab before the season's over, and so on. Kind of like when the relatives come to visit.

Now, their agenda, at least according to WYPR this morning, is primarily two-fold. The first fold is a "marriage education" campaign. *roll eyes* Whatever. I shall continue to pray that these nincompoops cultural dinosaurs misguided souls will one day open their eyes to the true nature of love. *point to icon*

However, this is at least sort of in their area of expertise. They're laying down dogma for the church. I don't agree with it, but it is technically part of the job description of bishop. (Right along with wearing a funny hat and carrying around a big stick.)

The other fold of the meeting is what's making me nuts. They're figuring out what criteria to give Catholics for political candidates. They're trying to tell people who to vote for.*slap forehead* Forget current trends, forget that this is part of the reason the US didn't elect a Catholic president until 1960. Here's my beef:

Never, ever in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, has dabbling in politics worked out in the long run. Have these guys not read their history? Seriously, worry about things spiritual. Have faith in your guidance and in your congregation. And, for crying out loud, please stop trying to micromanage everyone's conscience!
icewolf: snowy wolf (Giles's cure tomorrow)
Hey everybody--

Sorry about the out-of-nowhere rant yesterday. Just so you know, I wouldn't have sat on the information like the proverbial dog in the manger, but it wouldn't have been up on my LJ anymore. I'd have sent it to the 3-4 people to whom I recommended Catholic Charities' services.

Aside from the cross I generally wear, I know I don't look--or necessarily act--like a "church person." No, I don't always make it to mass on Sunday morning (although that shall be changing as I just got drafted into my new church's choir). But Roman Catholicism is and always has been the center of my spiritual life. My mother willingly converted at the age of 10. In that same year, 1944, my father went off to the seminary at the age of 13. When he left the active priesthood at the age of 40, it wasn't because he had problems with the church. He had problems with his order's political connections to the increasingly corrupt regime in the Philippines and with how the leaders of the Columbans seemed to have wandered away from their mission. Meeting my mother was incidental to his leaving--it was not the cause of it.

As for myself, I have investigated other religions. I've attended several different kinds of church and read several books on Wicca, including the seminal Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practicioner. But they just didn't take. They didn't fit. The church is my home. It's not always a happy home, or a quiet home, but it's mine.
icewolf: snowy wolf (funny JP)
The only way on the face of the earth I'm anywhere near orthodox. )
icewolf: snowy wolf (Easter)
Randy Milholland, writer, artist, and overall brilliant creative mind behind Something*Positive, posted a challenge to Christians here.

It's interesting. And it's a fair question. And I'm going to do my best to explain my stance on obnoxious Christian fundamentalists as a left-leaning Roman Catholic Christian.

The first thing that non-Christians need to understand, though, is that we don't all hang out. I don't see Pat Robertson at Sunday dinner and have just taken a pass on telling him what an embarrassing bigot he is. I haven't refrained from smacking Billy Graham upside the head just to keep peace in the family. There is no Christian clubhouse, there is no secret handshake. Really. Think back to Western Civ. I and a little to-do historians like to call the Reformation. We spent several hundred years trying to kill each other over various dogmatic, theological, and political issues, and there are Christians out there who still would consider me a godless pagan because I am an idolatrous Catholic who worships the pope and Mary. Hell, Protestants and Catholics only just stopped trying to kill each other in Northern Ireland. So telling me to stand up and speak to Christians because they'll listen to me because I'm also Christian is not nearly as constructive as it sounds.

Another problem arises when you consider rifts within individual denominations. I'm Roman Catholic, and for many people, that statement raises images of people who don't like sex, who walk in lockstep with an old, out-of-touch Italian (or Polish, or German) man, and who are virulently insular. If you know me, you know that's not me. That's not a lot of Catholics. But there are Catholics who are like that. Many of the more politically-talented of us are entrenched in trying to reform our religions, like in the crisis facing the Episcopal Church over homosexuality. My father is nominally a Republican, but he's been so caught up in working for reform in his order that he doesn't have time to work for reform in his political party. My point is that the best people to speak up often have other priorities that take precedence.

So, I hear you saying to yourself, "Self, Icewolf is doing a bang up job of making excuses for Christians." I'd call it background information, but I see your point. To that end, I will make some suggestions.

Churches who oppose the "vocal minority" need to cross denominational--and even religious--lines to work together in the community. The "good" Christians have always been bigger fans of action example over rhetoric, so let's put that belief to work, so to speak. Those pesky corporal works of mercy, you know. We're never going to out-scream the other side: it's neither possible nor becoming. It's certainly un-Christian.

But, even more importantly, we must be proud of who we are on an individual level. We need to work for peace and understanding in our communities, in our country, in the political arena, and in the world, and we need to be perfectly transparent about our motives: "I'm doing this good/understanding/peaceful/constructive thing because my faith tells me it's the right thing to do." Many of us avoid saying so because we're afraid to be lumped in with the crazies. We're frightened and embarrassed by our faith in front of our political allies, so we keep it under a bushel-basket. Then we go to church, and sometimes are told we're not good Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, what have you, so we stash our political principles under the basket, too.

Maybe it's because I come from a family of religious dissenters. I'm the latest in a long line of rabble-rousers in the Catholic Church. But I remember my confirmation. I was sprinkled, anointed, and given a new name, Brigid. I was also given a light, symbolic slap across the face by the bishop. The gesture stood for the possible persecution I must be willing to face as an adult in the Church. Jesus never promised us a rose garden--He got Gethsemane himself. But He absolutely does require us to have the courage of our convictions. All of them.
icewolf: snowy wolf (cherry blossoms)
I call this part one because I'm sure I'll be posting on Friday, if not before.

Actually, [livejournal.com profile] tazira got me started on my annual spiritual navel-gaze a bit early.

I'm an okay Catholic. I don't make it to church nearly as often as I should. But I try to be a good person and live in accordance with God's and Jesus's teachings on a day-to-day basis. But there's just something about Holy Week. I feel a connection to God, and Jesus in particular, that just isn't there the rest of the year. Maybe it's the coincidence with Passover, which many of my friends--one of my best friends in particular--are preparing for tonight. Sort of priming the pump, as it were.

I don't known what it is, but that feeling in the air makes me even more aware than usual of how I treat others and how--or if--I'm living out the principals I profess.

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Icewolf

August 2011

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