“If you don't behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave.”
Fulton J. Sheen
If this is the truth... then I am in trouble.
You see, I love my religious denomination. I love the fact that the Catholic Church is the very church that Jesus built his idea of Christianity upon. He looked to his best friend, Peter, and said, "Hey man.. I want you to build my church." Peter was like, "Cool, dude. Consider it done."
And so it began.
But here's the problem - real life makes it NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE to live up to the Church's idea of what it means to be in good standing with the "Church."
For one, I believe in birth control. I do. Even within a marriage, if you do not want children, I do not believe you should risk it and not use birth control. Add to that, I can't have kids.
Secondly, things happen. According to the Catholic Church, I am not in good standing for many reasons: I'm divorced. I do not go to mass each week. I don't go to confession (maybe 4 times in my WHOLE life.)
Which leads to my issues: I want to go and participate fully in mass, but technically, I can't. I would be denied the Eucharist (what many of you might call "communion"), all because I am divorced. That's right. I know I can go through an annulment, but do you know how difficult that would be? Not to mention, my husband was Muslim - he could care less about my religious beliefs. It also takes a really, really long time.
I am missing something so incredibly important to me - and that's a religious social life. As a kid, I participated in Sunday School, Christmas plays, and Youth Group. As an adult, I was in the Ladies Axillary (of the Knights of Columbus,) member of a prayer group, and even a youth group leader. NOW... well.. now... I am lacking and the problem is - I can't get involved. Not at my home church.
St. Joseph's is led by a very conservative Catholic priest by the name of Father MacDonald. He is by-the-book. Literally. In Birmingham, the two older Irish Catholic priests would serve communion to everyone, they did not care. Here, no way Jose. He will deny you. He will stop you from serving in any capacity. I'm stuck.
But I love the mass. I love the ceremony. I love the worshipping factor. When I rejoined the church, I had to send a picture. He knows who's who. (Even though there are over 5,000 people.) When you get involved, you have to say whether or not you are in good standing with the church- and know this the Church (Vatican) keeps amazing records. Everything from my Baptism to my confirmation to name changes... everything.
Where does that leave me? Do I go to mass, to get my ceremony and fulfill my needs? Do I then get involved with another congregation and another (dare I say it - Protestant) church and participate in bible study and other activities I enjoy - but always remain a Catholic?