Cultural Catholicism v. a Church of faith

Cultural Catholicism v. a Church of faith

Both Rocco and “Uncle Andrew” (as Rocco calls him) praise this letter to the Washington Post from a lapsed Catholic. Its a woman who starts out by saying she was “born Catholic”—yes, when someone starts off by saying “I was born Catholic,” you know where it ends up. She left the Church and was married in a Unitarian service because she dissents from Church teaching on homosexuality, the ordination of women, and “a handful of other social issues.” Gee, I wonder which ones. At least she didn’t insist on a Catholic wedding.

However, she now says that she will raise her kids Catholic, not because she believes what the Church teaches.

I may not believe everything the Church believes and may even actively oppose some of its positions. But as time has passed, I’ve come to see that, for me, Catholic isn’t so much my faith but my culture. It’s who I am.

It’s 13 years of Catholic schooling. It’s praying the rosary while crouched down in the hallway, hands over head, tornado sirens blaring. It’s the Ursuline Sisters, with their quick laughs, steady guidance and humble intelligence, who acted as teachers, mentors and friends. It’s ashes on my forehead on the first day of Lent, midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, Stations of the Cross, summer church picnics, “The Lives of the Saints,” fish on Fridays and “Ave Maria.” It’s so many pieces of me that I would not be who I am if I took any of them away.

Unlike Rocco and his “Uncle Andy”, I’m taking a different tack. I don’t think is a wonderful expression of “love for the Church.” This is like telling your mother that you can’t stand any of her values or beliefs, but since you like her cooking and the way she makes your bed and the way she cleans her house, you’re moving back in. Every day, you’ll tell her how wrong she is about everything over the waffles and eggs she makes for your breakfast and just before she starts your laundry.

“Accidents” v. “substance”

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