Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Loaded Catholic Questions


By M. J. Joachim

I ran into an old (catholic) acquaintance the other day. We were catching up, sharing our summer experiences and enjoying an unexpected chance to visit. Times like this are heartfelt treasures that make us smile.

Catholics know Catholics. We hang in the same crowd and do what Catholics do. Certain “expected” behaviors are often asked about in the course of “Catholic conversation.” The more I thought about it, the more I realized, some of these questions pose the opportunity for one ups and judgmental catholic dialog.

Our visit was no exception, as our conversation took one of those winding, twisted turns and my friend casually asked, “Are you still going to church these days?” It’s a long story about why I no longer attend Mass at the parish we both spent so many hours at together. Back in those days, I was attending daily Mass, not because I was holy, mind you, but because I was so darned guilty and the weight of my sins made me miserable.

As a revert to the Catholic faith, I truly believe in my heart that God is good, and the Catholic faith is a reinforcement of His omnipotent greatness. Carrying the weight of my sins, as well as all those impacted by my own sinfulness, did not sit well with me. It tarnished God and His love, something I promised myself never to do again when I came back to the Catholic Church, accepting full responsibility for my pride and departure the first time.

“Are you still going to Church?” is a loaded Catholic question. It is a question filled with implications and judgments. The conversation quickly went from pleasant to awkward, as I stumbled over the words I needed to respond to such inappropriate directness. Yet Catholics, good, law abiding Catholics, ask questions like this one all the time.

Ah yes, the letter of the law – and then there is belief in the Catholic faith with everything it stands for, belief in the love of God, a love so great He sent His only Son to live and die for us, not out of cynical judgment or to cast us into hell for our sins, but to save us from ourselves. I’m Catholic and loaded questions just don’t work for me at all. When was the last time you cleaned your bathroom, btw?

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

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