My faith journey is taking me on a path I never thought I'd ever take. I was (and still am) very Catholic, but for a variety of reasons, I felt like I could no longer be part of the Roman Catholic Church. I will delve more into the reasons as I write, but yes, one of the reasons has to do with the quite baffling outrage on part of the bishops regarding the "contraception mandate." I had been publicly disagreeing with a few things on my Facebook, questioning the soundness of some of the Church's moral theology. I am not the first, nor am I the only one to publicly call out the bishops' idiocy and point out the political maneuverings behind some of these decisions.
I know many Catholics are in a similar situation. Quite frankly, the vast majority of dissenters are silent, or at least shouted down by the vociferous minority. Some people are able to just roll their eyes and continue being Catholic, despite being at odds with some of the theology. I tried to do this, but I couldn't sustain it. I just could not consciously say I'm Catholic and and yet dissent, even if I do believe the Church is wrong. It just seemed...hypocritical, maybe. I don't know what word best describes it. Quite simply, there was no room for me if I wanted to keep on growing spiritually and intellectually.
As a result, I'm joining the Episcopal Church.
Even after I am officially received at the Easter Vigil, I will continually become Episcopalian, in the same way I was continually becoming Christian, or becoming Catholic. I'm saying "becoming" because it's always an ongoing process to grow and maintain one's faith. One has to keep moving forward, or else fall behind. And it is my becoming a better Christian and a better Catholic that led me to the Episcopal Church. I'm not saying the Episcopal Church is the best form of Christianity. I do know it's the best for me. That's the difference. I do disagree with a few things--for example, I'm not too sure about ecclesiastical recognition of gay marriage. Government? Absolutely! Church? I'm not sure.
You know what the best part is, though? I can say that and not feel like I'm a leper in my own faith. It's said that whatever you believe, there's at least two or three other Episcopalians who also believe the same thing. And the Episcopal Church is quite welcoming of dissenting views. It makes the fabric of the faith far more interesting and alive.
How can a church grow if its members don't ask questions? How can the members grow if they don't listen to dissenters, or question certain beliefs?
Or is that a librarian-ish thing to say?
Back to my point. Why am I writing about this? I know that I'm not the only Catholic who has become disaffected with the hierarchy in the Roman Catholic Church. I know I'm not the only one who has become frustrated with the Church's sharp right turn toward becoming even more conservative. I know I'm not the only one frustrated by cardinals who compare the Pride Parade to a KKK rally.
I'm writing this for other people who are also frustrated. For people who wonder why some Catholics leave the Church. For the Catholics who have, are going to, or are thinking about swimming the Thames. (Or joining any other denomination, for that matter.)
I'm also writing for me, to sort out my thoughts and to chronicle my journey.
Filed under: Becoming Episcopalian