Category Archives: Catholic

Anne Rice vs. Christianity

When I first heard the news clip about Anne Rice “quitting Christianity”, I thought what most people probably thought – ah, she’s gone back to atheism. That would have been an interesting story considering her public recommitment to Catholicism and her books on the subject of Christ. Turns out it’s not that interesting, as a matter of fact it smacks of a media ploy.

Her much publicized quote again:

“In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control.

“In the name of… Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”

And now she feels better about herself. Congratulations. Really, what’s so new about this? People get fed up with Christianity and/or Christians every day because of some non-compassionate, backward stance. And it’s no different for Jews or Muslims. I’m willing to bet everyone’s got a beef with some aspect(s) of their religion.

The real problem is that this is just a cowardly response to the hard issues. Is it right to turn your back on something you supposedly care about because of disagreements? What about sticking it out, making it what you want it to be? Be the example you don’t see. I would have been much more impressed with Anne had she said that those positions were not Christian at all. That, indeed, she would continue to embrace Christianity while fighting for the acceptance of all those things.

By quitting, she’s saying: Yes, that [anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti….] IS what Christianity is about.

Thank goodness for the Muslims after the 9/11 bombings that stood up and said: this act does NOT represent my religion, it is NOT what we stand for and I will continue to embrace my God.

So, her statement becomes either a media play with no real substance, or an easy way out of dealing with what makes her uncomfortable with her chosen religion.

Get a backbone Anne.

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a lazy sunday morning

We missed mass this Sunday. Missed meaning I was too tired to get up in time to get everyone ready for church. And I wanted to have pancakes with my kids and generally have a lazy morning – we don’t get nearly enough of those. But I did find myself missing it. I didn’t miss the service per se; I missed the place, the church. Feeling the quiet calmness of sitting in the pew and reflecting. So I decided to take the opportunity to show my kids that you can pray at any time. The religious experience is not limited to Sunday morning.

When I travel I stop in churches at different times in whatever city I’m in and always enjoy the experience. It’s typically dark, cool, quite and serene. I pray and spend about 15 minutes there then move on with a feeling of calm. So this Sunday, the 30th of December at about 1/2 past noon, we piled in the car and started driving toward our regular church. As we saw several other churches on the way I thought, why not stop here and show them a different perspective? Give them some exposure to other religious places.

First we stopped at an Episcopalian church. It was locked up tight, odd, but we moved on. Next we came to a Disciples of Christ church. I was excited about this because I was baptized as a Disciple of Christ and this would be a way to share some of my Protestant history with my kids. We arrived apparently at the very end of the service. As we entered the Church (barely a foot over the threshold) I was approached by an older woman who politely but firmly informed us that the service was over, they were locking up and please come back next week.

More than a little disappointed we continued on to our regular Catholic church that had the doors wide open – people coming and going – almost too busy. But nonetheless, it was nice to go in, sit anywhere and kneel and pray. I talked to the kids about what they were thankful for and who they felt might need a little extra strength that we should pray for. I believe strength is the only thing that’s really worth praying for by the way. After about 10 minutes and my son saying “are you done yet mom”? We left for Target.

on communion and other rituals

When I first started going to the Catholic Church I was very put off by the fact that, although I had been baptized a Christian, I could not partake of communion in the Catholic Church unless I was Catholic. I felt that they were turning people away and being non-inclusive. They were the curmudgeon church. Grouchy, old, not accepting of outsiders, etc. Now that I have attended Catholic Church for about 8 years and have done a little more research on religion I have a new appreciation for the rituals of a faith.

I wondered if I would you feel the same if visiting a Mosque or a Jewish Temple and were not allowed to partake in some ritual? No, of course not, I would agree that these religions have certain rituals that are considered quite sacred and therefore reserved for the truly faithful of that faith. Well, that’s how communion is for the Catholics. This is a BIG deal for them. They believe that when the priest performs the Eucharist the bread actually transforms into the body of Christ. This is not minor. I feel that they have every right to politely request (because I’ve never seen any non-Catholic actually called out for taking communion in a Catholic church) that this ritual be reserved for those who truly believe.

If you think that because you are a Protestant and therefore a Christian you are should be able to take communion in the Catholic Church, you really need to brush up on your history. The Protestant Reformation was a big deal and there are huge differences between Martin Luther’s interpretation of religion and how one should practice it and the Catholic Church’s. I won’t go into the history lesson here but there’s a great course on the subject. [See Luther: Gospel, Law, and Reformation on the Course List page.]

I’ve also come to believe that it’s okay, even preferable to be selective. Going to church and participating in the traditions of that church is not something to be taken lightly. There should be activities reserved for those who have gone through a process that has brought them closer to their faith. This isn’t just a place to hang out on Sunday morning (or whenever you might go) and get a free drink. Someone told me once that although, he wasn’t personally devote he gave $20 to the church every week when he went with this family because he felt he should pay for the seat. My response, Stay Home! I would hate the idea of sitting in church with a group of people who just had nothing better to do. If you don’t want to get anything out of it then do the rest of us a favor and don’t come in the first place. God doesn’t need people to pay for their seats. He doesn’t need pity.

Then there’s the contrast the non-Catholic churches I’ve attended that latch on to any breathing thing. I feel suffocated at times with so many people pressuring me to attend a certain church because I went once. Religion, as I’ve said before, isn’t easy and if you think it is you’re doing something wrong. It’s okay to be confused and unsure and to struggle with the concepts – it’s deep stuff! I like that the Catholics require courses and have age specific rights of passage (so to speak) to help people along the path. This won’t ensure that they are Catholic forever, but they will most likely give religion a lot more thought than people who just join a church because everyone else is doing it.

So, every week at church when it’s time for communion I politely sit in my seat or go to the back of the church to wait for my kids. I don’t feel self conscious about it, I don’t feel embarrassed about it. I’m more than happy to acknowledge how important it is for them. And I’m secure enough in my own faith to feel no doubts about not converting to Catholicism.

why i go to a catholic church

I go to mass at a local Catholic church almost every week. I’m not Catholic. I probably never will be Catholic. I was raised as, well nothing really. I can say I was baptized as a member of the Disciples of Christ Church where my father was the minister. But I can’t say that I was raised in any particular way as that would imply I had been taught something and reared with a particular notion of what it meant to be a Disciple of Christ, which I wasn’t. I was and am still not close to my father or step-mother, who is also a minister and was given no “inside scoop” on what this religion stuff meant.

I went to church maybe once or twice throughout my undergraduate and graduate years. I never quite understood what I was supposed to be getting out it; it was a hollow experience for me so I quit going. At age twenty-five I married a Catholic man; a man for whom faith was more important than it was for me. But even then we went to church only occasionally. I did not convert to Catholicism when we married mainly because I just didn’t feel it would be right given I had no strong feelings of faith.

When we had children, he wanted them raised in the Catholic Church. I was hesitant; but I couldn’t really offer a good alternative and I did want them to have a religious base. But was Catholicism the best base for them? I had a LOT of concerns about the Catholic teachings, their position on gays, women in the faith, abortion, etc. I was also more than a little resentful that they wouldn’t let me take communion unless I converted! I had grand notions of taking the kids too many different churches so they could sample each one, like picking their favorite flavor of ice cream. But that was easier said than done and we continued to dribble into mass and finally christened my son at age 3!

Nine years after we were married, my husband told me that he was gay. I can’t even imagine the internal religious conflict he experienced, I felt it and I’m not even Catholic. The main goal for us was to keep the inevitable divorce as friendly and smooth as possible for the children. And to that end one of the things we decided to do was to continue going to mass every week as a family unit. I wasn’t sure at the time how this would work out but I felt strongly that it was something we had to try and do.

For the first year after our separation and divorce it was difficult. It was hard to sit next to a person with whom you are experiencing an emotional roller coaster. There were days when I would decide not to go or he would decide not to and one of use would take the kids alone. We were getting better, but the consistency lagged. As I started dating it again felt awkward at times to sit in church with someone else. There were times I felt like I should take the kids to another church and introduce them to my protestant upbringing. After all, I wasn’t Catholic, why should I have to come here every week? But despite all that, I kept going – and I kept finding new things to be thankful for.

So today I sit in church with my son, daughter, ex-husband, his husband and a multitude of other people who no doubt wonder who belongs to whom. I’ve become comfortable with the fact that they won’t let me take communion – after all they have a right to determine what the truly Catholic can do. [Besides, I still can’t grasp the whole bread actually becoming the body of Christ.] I still don’t agree with all of the Catholic beliefs and rules, but there’s a lot of good too and every religion is going to have something I disagree with.

For my kids, church has become a very positive experience – it’s a time where they get to be with us – together. They get to see that divorce did not tear their family apart. We are certainly much more consistent about going to church than we ever were before. For this, I will continue to go to a Catholic church – it gives 2 parents and 2 children an opportunity to be thankful for each other in a situation that is typical fraught with pain and resentment.