Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Catholics - We aren't all bad!

The Church where I got married!
I'm not going to start blogging about religion. It's a subject that makes people uneasy. It makes me uneasy and I'm Catholic. If you're imagining me whispering the rosary with a black lace mantilla on my head you can stop it now. There are Zulu warriors above my bed not a sacred bleeding heart.

To be honest, the only thing that really matters to me is the bit about 'love they neighbour as thyself' - and that's a big enough challenge for a lifetime without needing to complicate things with other rules.  

The resignation of the pope and the discovery of yet more cases of sexual misconduct has made it even more confusing to be a Catholic than usual. The Roman Catholic church works hard to appear a righteous establishment but fails miserably. Often I've sat in church and thought: "I'm a rational human being, what am I doing here?" 

The upsurge of right wing Catholics desperate to maintain the old ways and stop the church becoming more inclusive would depress me if I thought about it too much. Because it's simple, isn't it? The whole message of Jesus is to love people unconditionally, even when people are virtually unlovable. It's an easy concept even if it's very difficult, borderline impossible to do.   

The problem is the church is getting too fussy about this idea of their 'neighbour'. It doesn't think everyone should be loved after all. It doesn't think gays should be loved quite as much, or divorcees, or religious women, or women in general.

On Sunday the priest chose to speak out about everything that had been nagging at his heart. He began by telling us about a woman in the parish who had been married, had had children, and had later divorced. He told us that she  had found happiness late in life, and he really wanted to bless her. "I can bless a dog, I can bless a car, but why can't I bless two people who love each other?" he asked.

He spoke out about discrimination against gender and sexuality. "Why is so much energy wasted on looking at what people are doing in their beds rather than what's in their hearts?" He was visibly moved as was most of the congregation who had been yearning for this truth to be shouted from the rooftops for so long.
 
The priest got a standing ovation for his sermon. And that gives me hope. I'm not going to blog about religion. But I just wanted to share that hope, in case, like me, you needed it.


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10 comments:

Maxi said...

Great post! It's so good to see that there are some who want to bring the faith up to date. Really agree with your sentiments, and enjoyed the post. Thanks :)

Shop Girl said...

Thank you! It took me ages to write, but I felt I had to share it. It was the best mass I'd ever been to.

frenchforestgarden said...

Here, here. As an atheist of the outside looking in, it all looks totally bonkers to me so it's good to know there is a voice of reason in the church, even if it is just your local one.

Shop Girl said...

Thanks for the comment, especially as an atheist, I was worried I might have scared you all off!

It's completely bonkers to me too mostly. I should convert to Buddhism I suppose, as it's the only cool religion...and yet the Catholic church needs as many voices of reason as it can get!

MrJon said...

Wow, perhaps it's the churches I (only periodically) turn up at, but I've never seen a standing ovation after a sermon. A change is gonna come. Hopefully.

Anne Booth said...

Brilliant! I would love to have been at that mass. We don't hear enough about that side of the Catholic church - and it is definitely there.

Anne Booth said...

Brilliant! I would love to have been at that mass. We don't hear enough about that side of the Catholic church - and it is definitely there.

Shop Girl said...

No we don't. It was really inspiring Anne!

@Mr Jon I only turn up periodically too as I get disheartened by what I hear sometimes, but after this one I think I might make more effort! The church isn't local to me though, which is a shame.

Louise said...

Great to share some Good News for a change! I was at the same service( and am only one of many of the Catholic divorcees who found the priest's words so uplifting)As he said to me afterwards- 'it had to be said'......
Thank God for brave men who truly do the work of God!

ShopGirl said...

Thanks for reading Louise! What a relief it must have been to so many people to hear it said IN church! X