.It’s been about two and a half to three years since I stopped going to church. Many of you remember because I wrote a relatively explosive blog post about it and some of you tried to convert me. But I said then and I still say that if I’m going to be any religion I’m going to be Catholic.
The reasons I stopped going to church are the reasons I’m hesitant to start going back. I didn’t stop going easily and it took a lot of consideration and I’ve applied the same thinking to my potential return. There are just so many things I know to be true that conflict with what the church teaches and I don’t know that they’ll ever be reconciled. As a refresher, this is a brief list of my intransigent beliefs:
Women are sovereigns of their bodies and can do whatever they want with them.
God doesn’t care about my voluntary sterility or sexual life or anyone else’s unless it harms another person.*
Gay people should be able to get married and have kids and experience all the same joys and woes of life that straight couples do.
Transpeople are whatever gender they are and if they want to go to church they should be unquestioningly accepted and welcomed and Catholics should make an effort to understand what it means to be transgender instead of choosing ignorance.
Women should be priests and be involved in all levels of decision making throughout the entire church hierarchy. The church needs women at the top to advocate for women and women have been silenced in the church for far too long.
Of course I’m expecting backlash from this list. Inevitably, someone will slide into my DMs to let me know that this is heretical, that I can’t be a Catholic if I don’t subscribe 100% to Church doctrine, etc etc. I will preempt you by flipping you a giant bird and asking who elected you to Catholicism gatekeeper. You can’t tell me what to do. I haven’t been excommunicated. The church has historically not been opposed to change and people who ask questions, get loud, and who get passionate also are the ones that make change happen. And I will drop a truly careless amount of expletives. So just don’t do it. Let me work on my own journey and then we’ll both die and it won’t matter. Also, faith isn’t a zero-sum game. One person being right doesn’t mean the other is wrong. Also right and wrong don’t actually exist. How ridiculous is it to assume that all religion relies on this binary system wherein there is an ultimate right and ultimate wrong and our whole existence depends on circumstances beyond our control?
My other reason for posting this is to explain why I did go back to church today.
It’s very cliche to say that there has been something missing in my life and I don’t know that I actually do feel that way, but I missed the sense of community that I had when I went to church. It’s something that connected me to a community outside of school and work. As much as I like SPEA, it’s been socially stifling to me. I’m happy with my group of friends but there isn’t anyone else left to meet there. Also I spend 75% of my time in that goddamn building anyway and I want to be somewhere else sometimes.
Also growing up Catholic was a significant part (if not the most significant part) of my upbringing and I kind of miss it.
So I’m just going to see how it goes for me for the next few weeks and see if I keep wanting to go and if I don’t then I don’t and if I do I’ll go. I’m not going to make it a big deal right now.
*Harm here can mean many things to many people. People may argue that sex outside of marriage is spiritually harmful, harmful to one’s self image or self value, or harmful for physical reasons, or emotionally harmful. I think of harm as in harm that people control.