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I'm Catholic. This wasn't always the case. I grew up Catholic. Then I became a Unitarian-Universalist back in the 90s. Now I'm Catholic again. In the course of my spiritual journey, I have come to believe that belonging to a religion is nothing like belonging to a political party.

What does it mean "to belong" to something? Does it mean that you agree with everything that is associated with that "something" whatever it is? Let's say you call yourself a Democrat. You always vote Democratic, you go out and campaign for Democrats, and you give your hard-earned vote to Democrats. You go so far as only have sex with other Democrats. When someone asks you what party you belong to, you stand tall and say, "I belong to the Democratic Party!"

So what does that belonging mean? Does it mean that if Tim Kaine, chair of the Democratic National Party, tells you to jump, you'll ask how high? Does it mean that if he tells you to throw yourself off a cliff, you get down on your knees and thank him for this honor, and then with a running start you hurl yourself into the abyss?

If the Democrats nominate Joe Lieberman in 2012, will you still belong to the party?

Ronald Reagan once belong to the Democratic Party. Then he became a Republican. In explaining this, he said, "I didn't leave the party, the Democratic Party left me." In this sense, Reagan didn't belong to the concrete, material Democratic Party, but rather an idealized, one could almost say Platonic ideal of the Democratic Party. Somehow, the actual and the idealized parties separated. Ronnie probably felt that he still belonged to his imaginary Democratic Party, even when he was the Republican Party's standard bearer. But one wonders what kind of idealized Democratic Party felt that it was ok to still adhere to it yet call yourself a Republican. Such an idealized party has no loyalty requirements.

Now, let's say you're a Catholic. You believe in God the father, Jesus Christ his son, born of the Blessed Virgin, yadda, yadda, yadda. You think abortion is a sin, or at very least, very, very bad. But somewhere in your life, you decide that women should have the right to have abortions, sin or no, what with it being their body and all. You still consider yourself Catholic.

Then one day you read about some asshole priest or bishop saying that any politician who votes pro-choice should be denied communion. The asshole priest or bishop isn't in your parish or diocese, so you ignore it.

But then one day, that asshole priest is moved to your parish. Every fourth homily/sermon is about how much abortion sucks. You say, fuck this, I'm not going to church anymore. When someone asks you whether you belong to the Catholic Church, you shrug your shoulders and say, "I dunno."

Then you go to a Unitarian-Universalist church, and you don't hear anything that pisses you off. Some of it is quite inspirational, some of it is hippie-dippie bullshit. You ask to become a member. You sign a book. You belong to the church.

But then one day the minister you like so much up and leaves, and they replace her with some guy who's kind of ok, but also kind of a prick. He pisses off the people who run the church, and they ride him out on a rail. You didn't join this church to get involved in internecine squabbles, so you say, screw it and don't go to that church anymore. When someone asks you whether you belong to the Unitarian-Universalist church, you shrug your shoulders and say, "I dunno."

You have an emptiness that needs filling. Even though you know it's weird, you have an overwhelming need to go to church. You shop around, but discover that you're most comfortable with the Catholic church, the church you grew up in, the one that feels "right."

You discover that the Catholic church you go to hardly ever mentions abortion. Indeed the word "abortion" is never used, but only hinted at in semi-vague exhortations to "respect life from the moment of conception."

You find peace and serenity during mass. You find comfort in prayer. The emptiness is gone.

Then you read about how some asshole pope is rescinding the excommunications of an asshole bishop who thinks the holocaust is a myth. When someone asks you, "This bastard is exonerating a holocaust denier, and you're still a Catholic?" you say, "Can we change the subject?" Then that same person starts going on a rant about pedophile priests. You could talk about the tranquility you find going to mass, but that's weirdo talk, and this is hardly the time or place for it.

So you start talking about the weather.

I need God in my life. For whatever reason, I find that going to mass helps me be closer to God. It works for me. I hate a lot of what the Catholic Church stands for and what it is against. But so much of what I hate has nothing to do with mass.

The Catholic mass has two parts: Liturgy of the Word, where the bible is read, and Liturgy of the Body, which is about Holy Communion. There is no Liturgy of Why Abortion is Evil or Liturgy of Why Gay Sex Is Wrong. And no matter what the conservatives do, there never ever will be. Catholicism's snail-like pace for reform can sometimes work for liberals. Vatican II is a done deal. Conservatives can only nibble around the edges.

I am Catholic. I will always disagree with many, many things that the church does. My idealized, imaginary Catholic Church will always diverge from the real Catholic church on several fundamental issues. So be it. At the end of the day, my relationship with God is stronger when I'm a Catholic than when I'm not. That's why I'm Catholic.

Originally posted to danoland on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:22 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  ps, you can tip if you if you're an atheist. (20+ / 0-)

      You can say your tip is for "stuff."

      See the losers in the best bars, meet the winners in the dives -Neil Young

      by danoland on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:29:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am but you got one anyway. (9+ / 0-)

        But can I ask a serious question? If there is a God, and Catholicism is his real religion, how can you not follow all the tenants of that religion? We are talking about (to you) the Creator of the Universe, so shouldn't you follow everything, not just the stuff that you like?

        Getting Dems together and keeping them that way is like trying to herd cats, hopped up on crank, through LA, during an earthquake, in the rain. -6.25, -6.10

        by Something the Dog Said on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:42:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It "tenets" not "tenants." (9+ / 0-)

          And you might want to look up the phrase "cafeteria Catholic," which is pretty common in the United States.

          And you might also observe that no group in human history is uniformly observant of its tenets.

        •  Yeah, it's a connundrum. (11+ / 0-)

          How can I still be a Catholic and say, "Pope dude, you're just plain wrong."? From a very strict point of view, you can't. But the thing is, the church has never really been that strict. How can they be with a congregation of sinners?

          The dirty little secret of the Catholic church is there is a lot of wiggle room in this absolutist institution. Sure, there will always be bishops who say, "my way or the highway." But there will also be bishops like Archbishop Wuerl, who doesn't seem to have a problem giving communion to the likes of Sen. Dodd and Speaker Pelosi, even with their pro-choice positions. Technically speaking, he should give them the cold shoulder, but he doesn't.

          See the losers in the best bars, meet the winners in the dives -Neil Young

          by danoland on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:53:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah, but... (10+ / 0-)

            As a practicing Catholic (and religious educator, and parochial school mom), I believe that it is not just a matter of conscience, but even an obligation to say "Pope, dude, you're wrong." I certainly did when the Holocaust-denying SSPX bishop was reinstated a couple of weeks ago.

            Failing to do so, IMHO, would be sin.

            I've read the Catechism. Cover to cover. Multiple times. Same with the Bible. My confessor is (by intention) quite conservative - I want to make sure that what I declare as "conscience" isn't just "ego" - my sexual orientation, my opposition to certain public stances taken by the bishops, etc.. I'm at peace with it all.

            And very, very much Catholic.

            "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

            by paxpdx on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:50:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps you are discovering that you are (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sberel, LI Mike, appletree

            catholic, more than Catholic. The supremacy of the pope was a fairly late and somewhat local development, after all. Much of what seems to matter to you, you share with Anglicans and Orthodox.

          •  This the whole point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            appletree

            it isn't even a religion at that point.  No belief matters it is a mutual back scratching society   that considers itself and its attendees as superior to other mutual back scratchers

            There are certain defining things in the Catholic Church.  On is transubstantiation is it not?    So if you don't believe that the bread and wine physically transmutes to the blood and body of christ then you are no Catholic.  Never met a real one, just the faux cafeteria catholics who can't face their own inadequacies and responsibilities.

            Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

            by Demena on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:45:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, the diarist said (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sberel, danoland, allep10, appletree

              s/he believes in the Mass so I'm guessing transubstantiation isn't an issue.  And it isn't for me either.  I think the diarist is making the point that the core of the religion, the Mass, is not problematic but that the current focus on some political issues has more to do with personalities than with the spirituality of the Mass.  

              I take a lot of comfort in knowing that one of the many times when the Church was incredibly corrupt St. Francis was also forming the Franciscan Order.  I personally know many priests who are doing great work right now, and I know of a few I'd avoid if I knew they were saying Mass.  I know there are many good people working hard to improve the Church right now, building up the Body of Christ.  I hope that I am one of them.

              We...remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.--MLK

              by sobermom on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:40:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Do good for its own sake (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sobermom

                not in the name of God.

                Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                by Demena on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:52:03 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It really doesn't make a difference (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sberel

                  why good is being done, just that it is being done.

                  We...remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.--MLK

                  by sobermom on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:55:25 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sobermom

                    and so does the Bible.  You can do much good but not "buy" you way into heaven right?  Did you ever listen to the words of "Stairway to Heaven"?

                    www.lyricsfreak.com/l/led+zeppelin/ stairway+to+heaven_20082076.html www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNc5o9TU0t0

                    Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                    by Demena on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 08:05:27 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Being old (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Demena

                      I am quite familiar with Led Zeppelin and Stairway to Heaven.  It's on my sound track from high school.

                      The Bible has much to say about doing good works and differences in emphasis are part of the reason there is more than one christian religion.

                      We...remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.--MLK

                      by sobermom on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 08:21:30 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, I went to 12 years of Catholic school (12+ / 0-)

          I was taught that what was most important was that, through prayer and learning about the religion, I was to develop a "fully-formed conscience". Then, it was my moral duty to follow my conscience, even if it contradicted what a priest or whomever said. The only dogma I am required to believe to remain Catholic is that which the pope has claimed infallible teaching, which most people do not understand happens extremely infrequently. I believe the last infallible teaching occurred in the late 1800's, and not related at all to any of the current controversies (abortion, GLBT issues, etc.).

          Incidentally, that is why it is such ABSOLUTE BS that a bishop can threaten excommunication if they believe you are pro-choice. There is a definite process that must be followed to be excommunicated, unless you denounce the religion.

          •  Unfortunately, the two most recent doctrines to (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ice Blue, The Red Pen, ChocolateChris

            be infallibly proclaimed are the immaculate conception and bodily assumption of Mary.

          •  Um. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Red Pen

            Are you also not required to believe in transubstantiation?

            Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

            by Demena on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:48:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, but... (5+ / 0-)

              There are a range of things that you can see transubstantiation as.  What you must accept is that there is a "presence of Christ" in the sacrament.  Ultimately, this means that what differentiates The Host from a cracker is that you believe it to be sanctified.

              At this point a lot of people say, "That's bullshit! You can't just believe something into existence."

              In fact, most of what we deal with on a day-to-day basis is what John Searle would call a "social fact."  Social facts can be distinguished by the property that they are relative to a teleology and thus relate to the function of an object.

              If you have a $20 bill, it will be made of paper with fancy ink on it.  That's true whether you're here to believe it or not.  However, the fact that it is "money" and that it's worth 20 of some monetary quantity is true only because we all accept that belief as true.  A $20 bill is only "worth money" inasmuch as it has the function of being spent.  If we decided that $20 bills were "supposed" to be used to decorate things, then it would be ugly wrapping paper, not the cost of lunch at a yuppie bar and grill.

              The focus of our country is on a stimulus bill and nothing in that bill — jobs, money, real estate, political power — has any existence independent of human consciousness.  Not only can humans "believe things into existence," it's the bulk of what we do.









              I just blew your mind.

              Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody watch news tonight. — Wang & Connie Chung

              by The Red Pen on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:25:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You blew my mind? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                appletree

                Nope, yours is the one with the blowout.

                There are a range of things that you can see transubstantiation as.  

                Unless they changed the rules (doubtful) it requires the belief that the bread and wine is physically transmuted into the flesh and blood of a christ.

                If you have a $20 bill, it will be made of paper with fancy ink on it.  That's true whether you're here to believe it or not.  

                I have a twenty dollar bill in front of me.  One hundred and forty-five millimeters wide, sixty-five millimeters tall, banknote number EB 06727892.  It is lobster red, plastic with the color moulded in and a transparent section.  It is an Australian twenty dollar bill.

                SO, no, it is false and not true whether I believe it or not....  You predictive theory fails.  You are just...  ...wrong.

                However, the fact that it is "money" and that it's worth 20 of some monetary quantity is true only because we all accept that belief as true.  A $20 bill is only "worth money" inasmuch as it has the function of being spent.  If we decided that $20 bills were "supposed" to be used to decorate things, then it would be ugly wrapping paper, not the cost of lunch at a yuppie bar and grill.

                And precisely who in society does not realise that money has only the worth that is assigned or granted to it?  Who doesn't use electrons as currently in some form of other nowadays?

                This analogy fails as you are comparing God to the illusory value of a banknote.  The only part correct about that is the word 'illusory'.

                I just blew your mind.

                No, I think my "mind" and my understandings appear to be far beyond yours.  What you seem to see as revelations I am taking as given.  Your final conclusions are my premises.

                If you would like an education then send me an email.

                Yes, I wasn't polite, but were you?

                Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                by Demena on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:46:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Um, no (0+ / 0-)

                  Unless they changed the rules (doubtful) it requires the belief that the bread and wine is physically transmuted into the flesh and blood of a christ.

                  The is a reason they call it transubstantiation not transmutation.  I don't know who "they" are, but no one insists that the bread and wine have the physical properties of anything other than bread and wine.  Can you cite a source?

                  I have a twenty dollar bill in front of me.  One hundred and forty-five millimeters wide, sixty-five millimeters tall, banknote number EB 06727892.  It is lobster red, plastic with the color moulded in and a transparent section.  It is an Australian twenty dollar bill.

                  SO, no, it is false and not true whether I believe it or not....  You predictive theory fails.  You are just...  ...wrong.

                  Aren't you special.  You have Australian dollars.  There are also Canadian and Hong Kong dollars.  Your little ploy does not actually apply because I thought it was understood that I was talking about American dollars.  The point stands.

                  And precisely who in society does not realise that money has only the worth that is assigned or granted to it?  Who doesn't use electrons as currently in some form of other nowadays?

                  Bills, coins, electrons.  Those represent exactly what?  And this thing that those tokens represent has an existence independent of human intentionality exactly how?

                  No, I think my "mind" and my understandings appear to be far beyond yours.

                  You'd have a stronger case for that claim if you'd understood anything I'd said.  Do you even know what a teleology is?  Do you understand the concept of "intentionality" as used in Philosophy of Mind?

                  You just told me it's turtles all the way down.  Not impressed.

                  Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody watch news tonight. — Wang & Connie Chung

                  by The Red Pen on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 08:11:53 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I am truly sorry (0+ / 0-)

                    that you cannot see you haven't thought far enough.

                    The is a reason they call it transubstantiation not transmutation.  I don't know who "they" are, but no one insists that the bread and wine have the physical properties of anything other than bread and wine.  Can you cite a source?

                    The Catholic church.

                    Aren't you special.  You have Australian dollars.  There are also Canadian and Hong Kong dollars.  Your little ploy does not actually apply because I thought it was understood that I was talking about American dollars.  The point stands.

                    Keep the ad hominem.  Your point fails because as explained, pretty well everyone is aware of the symbolic nature of money.

                    You'd have a stronger case for that claim if you'd understood anything I'd said.

                    I understood all of it.  The limitations to understanding remain with you.

                    Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                    by Demena on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 09:35:49 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Hierarchy of truths (4+ / 0-)

          Some dogmas are more dogmatic than others.  For example, if you think that Jesus is not the Son of God nor the Messiah, then there are better ways to spend Sunday morning than at Mass.  On the other hand, if you believe that women should have the right to choose an abortion, you can still be a Catholic in good standing.  

          2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

          by Yamaneko2 on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:17:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm Catholic, but... (6+ / 0-)

        I'd like to allocate my tip to "stuff", if that's OK with you. "Catholic", after all, means "universal" - and I think it's time that we pay more attention and respect to "stuff".

        Or something like that. :)

        "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

        by paxpdx on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:46:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Purposely posting this AFTER (0+ / 0-)

        your own submission to your own tip jar in your own diary.  Seems  fair.

        I have a great deal of sympathy for your illness.  You really should try and work it out.  We do have special doctors for this.  There is quite a deal of danger (to others as well as yourself) should you continue to treat the system rather than the disease.

        Believing something because you want to believe it or because it is comfortable is not rational behavior and can get you locked up for many different reasons.

        Please take responsibility for yourself and your life.

        Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

        by Demena on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:38:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How rude. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sberel, danoland

          Wannabe mind-tyrants seem to be crawling out of the woodwork lately.

          •  If you think that (0+ / 0-)

            then you are not looking far enough.  Poking people to far with stupidities will get a reaction.  Notice that (as stated) this was deliberately pushed to the side f the thread.

            After reading what happened to that poor teacher in Texas there is no longer any choice but to defend reason against religion.

            Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

            by Demena on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 09:52:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is always a choice. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sberel

              If you are materially harmed by someone else's religious beliefs you will have recourse to assert your rights just like that teacher does (if the story is accurate). Unless that happens, what other people choose to believe is none of your business.

              There are more productive ways to spend a life than picking fights with your neighbors or trying to force them to believe as you do.

              •  So (0+ / 0-)

                There are more productive ways to spend a life than picking fights with your neighbors or trying to force them to believe as you do.

                Then why don't you stop doing it?  Because your religious corruption is ok but my atheist one is not?

                Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                by Demena on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:24:58 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  What in the world... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...would cause you to assume I subscribe to a religion? Is it my observation that you are an anti-religious bigot? If so, you may wish to consider that when you wear your bigotry on your sleeve, it's not well hidden.

                  The next step is to learn to appreciate the fact that people have certain inalienable rights that are not within your power to abrogate. Because there are actual physical limits to your mind-readind and mind-control desires.

                  •  Trouble is I am not a bigot. (0+ / 0-)

                    Yes people have certain inalienable rights but when thse conflict some must be abandoned.

                    Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                    by Demena on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 03:19:46 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Demena, you are following... (0+ / 0-)
                      ...or you wouldn't have commented to me after this thing has scrolled into oblivion. What I've said here is true, your bluster and threats affect that not a whit. It's easy to be blustery and threaty here in cyberspace, a lot harder to carry it out in person.

                      This, along with many other things about "the way things are" can only be learned by spending time here on planet earth. Experiencing life and death and states in between, then deciding for yourself how you will live, what you will tolerate, and making it so as best you can.

                      In this exchange I get the between-the-lines impression that you're thirty-something (if that old). Well, I'm twice your age, have seen and experienced at least twice as much, even if I were 'normal' in my pursuits, and I have never been that. In my own confrontational way, I have been trying to lead you to a realization. I apologize for the presumption that I could do so against your will.

                      When you say you are willing to violate the basic rights of others because by doing so you believe your own rights will gain preference, you're being terminally foolish. 'They' (whoever 'they' are in your lifetime) can always do the same to you - and will - and you'll have no valid complaint when that happens. BECAUSE you were willing to sacrifice the most basic rights of others in order to gain some feigned 'power' that meant nothing, for a little while. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

                      The moment religious believers in this country have been stripped of their rights of conscience and belief, your rights to conscience and belief are forfeit. You can never claim them again, as long as you live. For yourself or anyone you love more than you love your own life. If you ever love another that much.

                      No. Our lives are not perfect. We are not immortal, we are not all exquisitely beautiful, we do not all have leisure and privilege, we do not all get a lot of time, we don't all live pain-free. You can blame a god you don't believe exists for that and complain loudly till your dying breath, or you can pretend you're a man and do what you can for yourself, your loved ones, and your community. To make things just a bit better.

                      THAT would make you better than God in your own estimation. Something you earned honestly by making good on your complaints and doing something about it (that didn't involve gas chambers for religios). Then, when it's all over and you happen to meet this god-thing, you can legitimately ask why you had to do it all for yourself and why he never helped you out. Maybe he'll answer, who knows? Maybe you'll never meet him, and you'll have wasted your life battling a ghost.

                      Either way, I am not your problem. You are. Deal with it.

                      •  Your nature shows by this. (0+ / 0-)

                        What I've said here is true, your bluster and threats affect that not a whit. It's easy to be blustery and threaty here in cyberspace, a lot harder to carry it out in person.

                        I have never made any.  You want to review the thread?  

                        In this exchange I get the between-the-lines impression that you're thirty-something (if that old). Well, I'm twice your age, have seen and experienced at least twice as much, even if I were 'normal' in my pursuits, and I have never been that. In my own confrontational way, I have been trying to lead you to a realization. I apologize for the presumption that I could do so against your will.

                        i think you need to realise a few things first.  When you reach my age you may have seen enough to learn a little more.

                        The moment religious believers in this country have been stripped of their rights of conscience and belief, your rights to conscience and belief are forfeit. You can never claim them again, as long as you live. For yourself or anyone you love more than you love your own life. If you ever love another that much.

                        No ones ludicrous beliefs should limit the freedoms, rights and responsibilities that are mine.  People have a right to believe stupid things just so long as those beliefs do not affect me.  Anything that does must be warranted or justified.

                        You are wrong in all your estimates.  Don't expect your message to have any value to me when it is based on so many of your premises.

                        Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                        by Demena on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 11:56:12 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Wow. You've already passed... (0+ / 0-)

                          ...your allotted three score and ten? Then you should be putting your affairs in order, old man. You've no time to spend trying to persecute and punish people whose religious beliefs you don't subscribe to.

                          There's some good software out on the web for will-writing. Or maybe you're rich enough to have a lawyer who has already done that for you. Bon Voyage!

                        •  Oh... (0+ / 0-)

                          ...and "affect" doesn't include you getting mad about what other people believe. You will have to demonstrate material harm in a court of law, either to your health or your income. Stress is a deal, but non-actionable in courts generally. I once had to argue in court that death amounted to physical harm, because the law doesn't consider death to be physical harm. Go figure...

    •  A Buddhist Prayer For Peace (13+ / 0-)

      This always makes me feel good ....

      May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind quickly be freed from their illnesses.

      May those frightened cease to be afraid, and may those bound be free.

      May the powerless find power, and may people think of befriending one another.

      May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful wilderness—the children, the aged, the unprotected—be guarded by beneficent celestial, and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.

      "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

      by webranding on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:52:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dano, (13+ / 0-)

      my 18-year old son just converted to Catholicism.

      I'm atheist, Mrs. Dragon is Methodist, and he was brought up as a very active member of the Methodist Church.

      All of a sudden, around his 17th birthday, he announced that he wanted to convert. He's a progressive politically and has been involved for years with the Young Democrats. Despite my occasional snide remarks about the way the Catholic Church treats women and pursues other conservative political agendas, he stuck with a year of classes and converted.

      If he's happy, I'm happy.

      "Obama is just too smart to be stupid." --NYmind

      by Dragon5616 on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:21:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm one of those class teachers (7+ / 0-)

        Not this year - too damn busy - but I've done it a number of years. Oh, and I'm queer, female, and out. Also a product of Catholic schools who spent years away from any Church because of some anti-gay filth spewed my way from a (Baptist) preacher when I was 15.

        The Church is big and vast. If you think there's a variety of opinions and experience in the USA, that's nothing compared to the Catholic Church.

        Oh - I also have a friend who identifies as an "atheist Catholic". Believe it or not, I get that. There's a lot of ways to be Catholic in this world. Sometimes it seems like all we have in common is irritation with the hierarchy - 'cause everyone from the Knights of Columbus to PaxChristi find something to fault them on. :) Yet we stumble along, big old family that we are.

        Sounds like your son found one of the good, affirming corners. Hope it works out for him, and no matter what, that he's at peace.

        "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

        by paxpdx on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:53:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So then (0+ / 0-)

          you agree it is not a religion (no common beliefs) just a mutual "we are holier than thou" back scratching society?

          Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

          by Demena on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:51:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I believe it is many things to many people (7+ / 0-)

            I also take a rather expansive definition of "God". This person derives comfort and peace and sustenance from being in the Catholic Church, follows many of the Church's precepts, but does not believe in a God as might be read from a literal interpretation of the bible. (Catholicism, btw, is not a religion that practices biblical literalism.) Many generations of his family are Catholic, he is a product of Catholic schools, and is culturally very much Catholic.

            What he sees as a powerful universal/life force that he attributes to shared human passions and desires, I see as "God". Maybe I'm just using shorthand. It doesn't keep us from being able to work on shared goals.

            Oh, and I'm certainly not holier than you. I'm far from holy - whatever "holy" means. I'm just out here doing my part to try to make this earth place less hellish for others who inhabit it. I figure that's enough of a full time job, that "love your neighbors as yourself" bit. I don't have time to worry about an afterlife, or about any sort of concept of "holiness". Not my job.

            "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

            by paxpdx on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:59:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yay! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              paxpdx

              Oh, and I'm certainly not holier than you. I'm far from holy - whatever "holy" means. I'm just out here doing my part to try to make this earth place less hellish for others who inhabit it. I figure that's enough of a full time job, that "love your neighbors as yourself" bit. I don't have time to worry about an afterlife, or about any sort of concept of "holiness". Not my job.

              Sound like we have much in common.  One f the things is probably that when push comes to shove religion is irrelevant.  Do good for goodness sake, no other reason is needed or adequate.

              There are no Gods but there is 'good'.  There are no devils but there are 'evils'.

              Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

              by Demena on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:50:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Semantics (0+ / 0-)

                I'm Catholic. I believe in God. I go to Mass 2-3 times/week most weeks - not because I believe I'll go to hell if I don't, but because it helps me focus on what I believe that God (as I understand "God") calls me to do... the whole "make this earth place less hellish" bit.

                My faith is very important to me, as is my religious tradition. Perhaps the critical distinction is that your faith, your religious tradition (or lack thereof, on either count) is not important to me - at least not beyond my belief that it - and you - are absolutely no less worthy of respect than me.

                And to me, that's the heart of Catholicism. That's what my nuns drilled into me. (Along with holding doors open for people, of course. :) )

                "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

                by paxpdx on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 08:14:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I feel well inclined towards you, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  paxpdx

                  My faith is very important to me, as is my religious tradition. Perhaps the critical distinction is that your faith, your religious tradition (or lack thereof, on either count) is not important to me - at least not beyond my belief that it - and you - are absolutely no less worthy of respect than me.

                  but I still feel you are a threat to me.  Not personally but because of all the liars, bludgers and bigots cloak themselves in the mask of religion.

                  There is a 'suspected' atheist in Texas who is losing his job as a teacher to be replaced with a priest despite 100 students out of 103 objecting.

                  Theists don't seem to clean house enough.  I feel that the houses of theists have become so full of iniquity that they stand condemned.

                  You take care of the nutcases in your organizations and then I won't have to consider the whole of the organizations, dangerous, untrustworthy and corrupt.

                  Considering the way the Catholic church has treated pedophiliac priests over the last few generations (who knows about before) is enough to get the organization banned as a criminal one.  Just one example.

                  Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                  by Demena on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 09:42:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If it's any consolation... (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm probably considered more of a threat to them than to you, because I remain Catholic, but speak and write with the authority of one who is immersed in and deeply loves the Church, and who practices my faith based on my conscience, just as the Catechism requires. Just as with any organization, particularly one with hegemonic power, if only one side of it presents its face, that's all that others will see and believe.

                    Case in point - the United States of America. I've spent a significant amount of time in the past 2-3 years traveling outside of the US. The first time I met with some work colleagues at a site outside of the country, we were able to get work done, but it was stilted, very formal. A couple of days into my work, one of the less reticent ones asked a slightly less-guarded question about my trip, one that could be interpreted innocently, or that could be seen as an attempt to probe my opinions about aspects of the then-Administration's policies.

                    I answered assuming the latter, and the relief of tension among all of them was palpable. From that moment on, our interactions changed, and we're now friends as well as people who just happen to have the same employer.

                    I could replace "Theist" in what you've written above with "American", and have friends and colleagues all over the world nodding in vigorous agreement. (Myself included.)

                    I am an American by accident of birth. My Catholicism is as intrinsic to who I am as is my sexual orientation. I can't explain either, but they're both integral parts of who I am, way more so than anything about the country whose passport I carry when I travel.

                    What the Catholic hierarchy did with pedophile priests is nothing short of criminal, yes. You will find much agreement with that, at perhaps even more visceral levels, than from many of us in the Church. Those of us who have priests in our families and as close friends are perhaps the most furious of all. The horrible actions of a few (in some cases, perhaps due to mental illness brought on by the demands of lying and deceit that were placed on them by their superiors), and then the criminal negligence of those in power - it's vile. Those who were not involved, but who are still perceived as evil - it's terrible.

                    In 1986, I was spat on and shoved out of a moving taxi in Glasgow because I was American, and because Reagan was the president. I hadn't even been old enough to vote when he was elected. In fact, I was in Glasgow doing undergrad studies on Scottish labor history and anarchosyndicalism, but never mind - I was still the enemy.

                    I understood then, just as I understand your comments above (none of which I take as being spat upon or shoved out of a car, btw :) ). I just ask you to consider some of the nuance, and also to consider other parallel circumstances in which all of us are tarred by the actions of a few. The world hated us when Bush was in office. They love us now with Obama. We're still the same individuals, all in all.

                    "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

                    by paxpdx on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 10:11:50 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Sorry. (0+ / 0-)

                      I have spent too many decades doing exactly what you ask.  Nothing has improved.  Well, you are asking me to be insane - repeat the same action the same circumstance and expect a different result.

                      If you call yourself a Catholic then clean up your mess.   Do it now, don't brush it under the carpet, get those people out of authority and into jail.  Proper compensation for lives destroyed.

                      Saying "we are not all like that" is no longer adequate.  If you tolerate it then you are "just like that".  You claim it is your house.  Clean it up.  Now.  Until then you can't have any moral ground.  None at all.

                      What does your conscience tell you?  Do you detect a whiff of hypocrisy there?  No, then I tell you you need to find a new one.

                      Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                      by Demena on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:22:37 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Peace (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        sberel

                        You don't know me, nor do you know what I do, nor do you know how I spend my time. Where in the hell do you get the idea that I "tolerate" the injustices - and yes, real crimes - that have been perpetrated and that continue to be so in many cases? You haven't a shred of a clue about who I am or what I do. You're just angry.

                        If you can't pause your anger and consider that perhaps there are people in the Church doing work to clean up the disasters wrought, just as there are people in the US doing work to "clean up the mess" of the past eight years of Bush (and then some) - then your interest is in maintaining your anger at the Church. Perhaps you don't really want the Church to change.

                        Those of us who are in the Church and do speak out about what we see certainly aren't brushing a damn thing under the carpet. I don't have the power to put anyone in jail; I do what's within my ability, which is definitely to speak out, and to be very, very careful about where any of my money goes. (Which I also do with regard to taxes & the US government, btw. To not do so would be, as you put it, hypocritical.)

                        Thanks for the discussion; I'm bowing out of it now.

                        "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

                        by paxpdx on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 07:51:16 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                          You don't know me, nor do you know what I do, nor do you know how I spend my time. Where in the hell do you get the idea that I "tolerate" the injustices - and yes, real crimes - that have been perpetrated and that continue to be so in many cases? You haven't a shred of a clue about who I am or what I do. You're just angry.

                          Not angry in the slightest.  But if you still belong and support and organisation that has committed, still is committing and covering up those crimes, then you share responsibility for them.  

                          So, don't paint me as the villain.  All it takes for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.  

                          If you can't pause your anger and consider that perhaps there are people in the Church doing work to clean up the disasters wrought, just as there are people in the US doing work to "clean up the mess" of the past eight years of Bush (and then some) - then your interest is in maintaining your anger at the Church. Perhaps you don't really want the Church to change.

                          Again, I am not angry in the slightest.  But what last eight years?  Don't you mean the last 1800 years?

                          Has there been any time in its existence when the Paulist church has not been substantially corrupt?

                          I'm not angry at the church at all but is it not about time we saw such perfidious evil and nonsense ended?

                          Those of us who are in the Church and do speak out about what we see certainly aren't brushing a damn thing under the carpet. I don't have the power to put anyone in jail; I do what's within my ability, which is definitely to speak out, and to be very, very careful about where any of my money goes. (Which I also do with regard to taxes & the US government, btw. To not do so would be, as you put it, hypocritical.)

                          Cop out.  You support the church.  With attendance and funds.  So however much you speak out you still support it.  Hypocritical is the right word.

                          Thanks for the discussion; I'm bowing out of it now.

                          But for what reason, that is the issue.  Okay, walk past on the other side of the road.   No worries, I'll do your job for you.

                          Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                          by Demena on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 03:31:03 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  LOL! (0+ / 0-)

                    I still feel you are a threat to me.  Not personally but because of all the liars, bludgers and bigots cloak themselves in the mask of religion.

                    How old are you? I ask because if you really believe all the liars, bludgers and bigots are in churches, you might want to take a deep breath and look around at the world you're living in. Hell, looking in the mirror wouldn't hurt...

                    I can certainly see how you got that 'Authoritarian' score. What are you doing hanging out with progressives?

                    •  Authoritarian? (0+ / 0-)

                      I think you messed up your numbers.  

                      You are exactly the problem.  You wouldn't recognise a real progressive if one bit you.

                      Nothing in your reply has accuracy or value.   Bottom line in I am fed up with the authoritarians churches shelter.  No more.  Clean up your cess pit - then come after me.

                      Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                      by Demena on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:15:08 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Um... no. (0+ / 0-)

                        I am a problem to no one outside my own household, thanks. Were you to bring your foaming-at-the-mouth rabid meth-twisted hatred here, you'd meet the business end of grandpa's shotgun. AFTER the dogs got through with you.

                        I'd like to think that the 'Progressive' label applies to those Americans who understand and value the rights and privileges of our citizenship and who are willing to work in their communities as well as network on broader levels to promote the best and fairest public policies and political representation to accomplish those things.

                        I do not see that it's very 'Progressive' to spew hatred, make grandeous claims to mental mind-reading or mind-control powers, or threaten people you don't know for no reason. That sort of thing is a sign of a small mind, a fearful disposition, and a violent tendency.

                        Perhaps you'll grow out of it someday.

                        •  Oh right? (0+ / 0-)

                          I do not see that it's very 'Progressive' to spew hatred, make grandeous claims to mental mind-reading or mind-control powers, or threaten people you don't know for no reason. That sort of thing is a sign of a small mind, a fearful disposition, and a violent tendency.

                          You have the call to say this after saying this;

                          I am a problem to no one outside my own household, thanks. Were you to bring your foaming-at-the-mouth rabid meth-twisted hatred here, you'd meet the business end of grandpa's shotgun. AFTER the dogs got through with you.

                          Well, we know who the violent raving intolerant lunatic is don't we (and a clue, it isn't me, go look in a mirror)?

                          Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                          by Demena on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 03:33:20 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  LOL!!! (0+ / 0-)
                            Oh, honey. You'd have to be trying really hard to knock on my door. I have lived here on these 13 + 13 + 12 acres (I ownly have title to 13) for 17 years. My driveway's a half a mile long, straight uphill. Once you cross the tracks in this Omega-loop, you'd encounter a corridor that's straight up on one side, straight down - 250 feet - on the other. We have bears, bobcats, foxes, coons and occasional rabid skunks, so grandpa's shotgun is a necessity as are the dogs to alert us to when strangers approach. I've never had to shoot a critter (though I've beheaded quite a few copperheads). I have had to pull the gun on human hunters drunk and disorderly and armed to the teeth in the middle of the night telling me I have no right to post my property. The local constabulary knows me well, has no problem cleaning up the mess if mess ever need be made.

                            I've never entertained a single JW or Mormon or even a single trick-or-treater in all the years I've lived here. Nor am I the least bit surprised by that, I chose this place on purpose after my son was killed.

                            If you were to show up spewing hate, you'd get the very same treatment the redneck hunters get (I'm a lot nicer to their dogs). And the local constabulary would consider it just the same as if you actually were an armed, drunken hunter tresspassing to no good end when they came to clean up the mess. Really.

                            This is America. You'll probably just have to learn how to deal with that.

                          •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                            You are the one spewing threats, you are the one spewing hate.

                            The threats you made (in response to none from me) are illegal in most civilised places.  You do not have the moral high ground.  Not even the legal one.

                            Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                            by Demena on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 11:59:20 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

          •  I would say it's a cultural thing (0+ / 0-)

            but there is no shortage of idiots who think it's a holier than thou thing.  

            But most of the people I know are cultural catholics.  Many of us think the church is run by idiots.

            I had a law professor who was athiest but also a member of a religious community, presbyterian I think, because he said he always wanted to be a member of a religious community.

            The element of community and culture is the driving force, I think.  

            •  Yeah, as if that excuses you. (0+ / 0-)

              The Catholic CHurch is a corrupt organisation that has exploited children. native americans - almost any class you can name and has tried to ignore to sanctify the perpetrators of great evils just so long as they come from their ranks.

              If you want to belong to a social club, then that is fins do so.  But don't claim (steal) tax breaks based on it.

              Look, drop it, move out, form a social club.  If you stay in it you support the evils condoned, welcomed and hidden with in the greater community of 'Catholics'.

              Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

              by Demena on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 03:16:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Does God get 10% of your tips? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sberel, danoland

      Just asking. :)

      Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody watch news tonight. — Wang & Connie Chung

      by The Red Pen on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:44:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm a UU and our minister just left... (15+ / 0-)

    I don't care about it, but some people need to "heal" and I am just about fed up with it.  I still love the community and the wonderful wonderful folks I have met there.

    It's going to be an interesting couple of years until we find our next leader.

    My very dear friend is a minister of music in a catholic church - she is very devout AND very liberal.  The priest there is quite progressive as well...she couldn't be happier.

    "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

    by Pandoras Box on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:26:14 PM PST

    •  I Don't Mean To Be Dense (9+ / 0-)

      but is it that hard to find a person? I grew up a Methodist. I personally don't practice that faith now, but I wouldn't think it would take years to find a replacement.

      "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

      by webranding on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:37:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, it is a mess sometimes. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sobermom, Pandoras Box

        It can be a real problem.

        Her congregation should end up getting an interim and then do a search for their replacement minister.

        The thing of it is, the UUA doesn't place the ministers, the congregation chooses the minister.

        So honestly, if there is some issue / dysfunction with the congregation (I am not saying there is) they can keep selecting leadership that is not a good match.

        But anyway, that is one reason why I attend a lay-led UU.  Although we're looking at letting a community minister intern with us and this may be a good thing.

        The wide universe is the ocean I travel And the earth is my Blue Boat Home

        by sberel on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:52:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's exactly what we're going to do (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sberel

          select an interim (which of course means a search committee) and this is at least a months long process.  The interim stays at the church for a year (or two) depending on the scope of the contract and then the interim helps us in the selection of a settled minister - which, of course, means ANOTHER search committee.

          Our church is lay led right now and it's wonderful...we have a fantastic Sunday Services Committee altho they are saying that they are getting close to burn out.  

          I never heard of a communnity minister intern - interesting!

          "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

          by Pandoras Box on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 06:17:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They are voting on it today (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pandoras Box

            I just emailed my proxy to my mom, since my kids are sick and I can't make the meeting.

            It should be interesting, because the congregation is very anti-clerical.  But they know him, & I think they will be inclined to vote yes.  He's going to be working, I think, under the direction of a retired minister in town.

            There are a lot of different models out there, depending on what district you are in.  Mine, the SWUUC, doesn't avail itself of but two really: minister-led and lay-led.  But there are consulting ministers (I have met several on the west coast) and in the Prairie Star District they had a circuit riding minister.

            But anyway, it can be really hard.   Good luck with your congregations journey.

            The wide universe is the ocean I travel And the earth is my Blue Boat Home

            by sberel on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 06:39:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  There aren't a lot of UUs to pick from - a much (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sberel, Pandoras Box

        smaller group than Methodists for example.

  •  I Can't Believe I Am Going To Get Into (22+ / 0-)

    this conversation here. I might not believe in the "god" you do. But I'd never put down our faith, never for a single second.

    I am not sure what I believe. I think the world is such a wonderful place that it is staggering. I don't think for a second a power much greater than myself isn't at work. I just don't know what that power is.

    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

    by webranding on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:28:19 PM PST

  •  I have a similar relationship with my Mormon (14+ / 0-)

    membership.

    To me, no other way to believe in God is worth it. I am disgusted with some of the things the old white male leadership comes up with, yet I am still a mormon---probably with a small 'm' as opposed to a capital 'M.'

    Only power used to empower is everlasting. Prof. Scott Bartchy www.nurseconscience.blogspot.com

    by ludlow on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:32:51 PM PST

  •  My position is (24+ / 0-)

    the POPE can't tell me I am not Catholic. I am what I am, period. Most of the bologna put out I can never agree with, I despise how the Church treats women, priests should be able to marry, women should be able to choose, leave the children alone, and yet. I still smell the incense. I still see the candles at High Mass. I still hear the old Gregorian Chant, come down through the ages. It is all part of me. Benedict has no power over me.

    Lady Beekman: "You'll find I mean business, young lady" Dorothy Shaw: "Really? Then why are you wearing that hat?"

    by Anitaminkcote on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:34:37 PM PST

    •  Ahhhh the Pope! (8+ / 0-)

      Last year, He came out with an 'Encyclical'(I'm sure I spelled that wrong, and somewhere, a nun is polishing a ruler with which to smack my hand). In his missive, he warned us all against the "dangers of excess". That's right, the man who sips his wine from a cup of gold, who wears robes of the finest material & has people kiss his ring, has warned ME about excess. Gotta love it.

      well, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time...

      by Thinking Fella on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:41:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No... (8+ / 0-)

        The nun isn't polishing a ruler. She's protesting at the School of the Americas. Religious sisters are a quiet, unheralded force in the peace movement here in the USA.

        I received my first civil disobedience training from a nun, Sr. Marguerite. I was in second grade - maybe third.

        To me, the nuns are the conscience of the Church. They formed me, not some Pope.

        "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

        by paxpdx on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:56:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You spelled "encyclical" right. (0+ / 0-)

        And the Pope is absolutely correct when warning us about the dangers of excess.  It's a shame that he offers up the clearest material proof of said dangers:  that people like "Thinking Fella" ignore God's words as spoken by the Pope.  

        2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

        by Yamaneko2 on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:32:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What kind of God (0+ / 0-)

          only speaks to the Pope and not to me, who I might add, is also one of God's own children?

          Does God love the Pope more than me? Is the Pope's heart more pure than mine? What is it? Why does the pope have a direct line to God, but I am a lowly sinner, who must be warned of excess? If God loves the Pope so much, why does he need a bullet-proof car? Can't God protect him?

          Put down the Kool-aid. Step back. Take a look around. Tell us, why has the Catholic God forsaken all the Jews, Protestants, Baptists, Lutherens, Buddists, Hindu's...not to mention Atheists, and all other non-Catholics?. None, repeat, none of those religions are practicing worship of the Catholic God in the manner in which they must if they are to enter Heaven. Why does God hate all those people-a supermajority of all the souls on Earth? Unless, of course, all the rest of us are soul-less...

          well, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time...

          by Thinking Fella on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 12:10:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You misunderstood. (0+ / 0-)

            Reprise:  "that people like "Thinking Fella" ignore God's words when spoken by the Pope."

            Deprecating the mindless accumulation of wealth is common to numerous traditions of faith and that do not hinge on faith.  It's like having Dick Cheney lecture us on loving thy neighborhood, David Vitter talking about family values and Bill Bennett talking about virtue in between trips to Las Vegas.  

            2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

            by Yamaneko2 on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 05:32:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I didn't leave Catholicism, It left me... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, sberel, Empower Ink, LI Mike, allep10

      I grew up in a liberal Catholic church.  Separation of Church and State was a bed rock of my belief. If I had thought the church didn't believe in that, it wouldn't have ever given it any creadence at all.

      The Bishop in my old Archdiocese said, in 2000 and then again in 2001 that a vote for Kerry was a grave a mortal sin. He single handedly through the state to Bush - so he was pivotal.

      That did it for me.

      I'm forming my own "Western Orthodox, American Rite, New Catholic Church".  Until there's a clergy in my new Church, member are free to congregate with "old Catholics".  We wait in abstentia for the old catholic church to catch up with us: separation of church and state, no-infallibility, priest can marry, women can be priests, parishes choose their priests, and gay people are just ordinary humans.

      When the Roman Church catches up with the Western Orthodox church, we will be glad to be in communion with them.  That will take about another 3 or 400 years.  

  •  Have you heard (14+ / 0-)

    of Future Church?

    FutureChurch was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1990. The Church of the Resurrection in Solon, Ohio passed a resolution calling on U.S. Bishops to reconsider opening ordination to women and the married, both men, and women, so that the Eucharist would continue to be the center of the spiritual lives of all Catholics. Subsequently, 28 parishes in Northeast Ohio supported this initiative and the local FutureChurch network was born. In response to a national call to recognize that he Eucharist is more important to Catholic identity than celibacy or the gender of the presider, FutureChurch incorporated in 1993 and grew into a national network of parish based activists.

    FutureChurch is concerned about the related issues of women in ministry, optional celibacy, inclusive language, and Church decision-making that involves all the faithful, as called for by Vatican II.

    I believe they also support equality and ordination for sexually active homosexuals (as opposed to that bullshit "you can be gay, you just can't have sex" thing that some Catholics preach).

    Any force that tries to make you feel shame for being who you are...is a form of tyranny... And it must be rejected, resisted, and defeated. ~Al Gore

    by Sinister Rae on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:35:16 PM PST

  •  I've never understood Catholicism. (6+ / 0-)

    As a belief structure, I suppose it makes sense, but the institution itself gives far too much power to Man.  If one can separate the catechism from the institution, it's alright, but I find most of the Catholics I meet can't do that at all.

    An agnostic not because I don't know if there's a God, but because I don't care.

    by filmgeek83 on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:37:14 PM PST

    •  Really? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, sberel, appletree

      I've not met many who have much trouble with that separation. I certainly don't have that trouble, and I'm surrounded by Catholics, between my parish, the priest whose writing I edit (& the publications for which he writes), the school my son attends...

      "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

      by paxpdx on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:58:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My late father was a Catholic until (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, Jane Lew

      Vatican II.  It wasn't that he minded the more liberal shift--he agreed with that--it was that one man had that much power over what he was or was not to believe.    

      A jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn (D-TX)

      by Ice Blue on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:36:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think many do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      danoland

      What is unfortunate is that when Catholics are in the press it is the crazies like Donohue or the KofC.  They don't represent most Catholics despite their claims that they do.

      We...remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.--MLK

      by sobermom on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:54:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Catholic Church (9+ / 0-)

     Not a Catholic, but I have a great deal of respect for the insitution and some of it's leaders. What other institution could have turned out such great thinkers as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinnis.

     I also respect them sticking to their guns on Ideology. They obey the words of the bible, even when it hurts them and drives people from the church. The church doesn't change for people, because God doesn't change for  people, people must change for God.

      Folks have to remember, the "Rightous" HATE sin, but LOVE the sinner, in that context, they don't seem so bad.

  •  danoland, I'm catholic too (10+ / 0-)

    And I hate a lot of the decisions the pope made. I hate how the church actively tries to deny gay people the right to marry, and how they often think that being pro-life is the only way to evaluate whether a political candidate is good or not.

    But I was born into the church, and I still go to church weekly.

    The leadership is mostly bad, but the people are mostly good. I see them lead food drives for the poor, support charities, collect blankets for the homeless, support people who are grieving over the loss of a loved one. I see them giving money to support local charities even during this bad economy.

    That's why I keep going. Most people do take Jesus' main message (love one another). Even if the leadership does a lot of stupid things.

    I also believe Jesus' main teachings are great ones, and lean liberal, if you had to classify them on a liberal-conservative scale. I 'm a catholic, even though I often disagree with the pope and church leadership.

  •  I was a Catholic before I became an Athiest... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784, dotalbon

    Come let us REASON together. PLEASE!

    Reason me this: your Flying Spaghetti Monster - by his own book a self confessed mass murderer - was SO inept that he didn't have the BRAINS to find a way to REASON with the Pharaoh to let his homeboys go. So - in another example of his penchant for cold-blooded murder - he killed the first born of the Royals, the Citizens, the Slaves and just to show he had a kinky sense of humor - the first born of "cattle."

    Religion be gone and soon please!

    •  You can make anything faith-based ridiculous (10+ / 0-)

      And if it makes you feel better, ridicule away.

      But it just might be the case that some religious people aren't being ridiculous, that some have subtlety of thought and feelings. That they feel the sublime. And some of these people will never get in your face about it, even if some people get in their face criticizing their belief, which they keep to themselves.

      See the losers in the best bars, meet the winners in the dives -Neil Young

      by danoland on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:03:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Warm and fuzzy feelings... (1+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        grada3784
        Hidden by:
        The Red Pen

        Just like Christians thinking ...warm and FUZZY.

        If you want morals and ethics FINE - just get rid of the mass murdering Flying Spaghetti Monster - then THINK.

      •  There's always a wound (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joy Busey, danoland

        Every angry atheist ex-_______ has a wound.  Even, Mylegacy although he/she will almost certainly deny it.

        The two most common (possibly the only two) types are this:

        1. They think God let them down.  They prayed and confessed and took communion (or whatever) and still mom died of cancer, or their sister was killed by a drunk driver, or they never got the high score at Frogger™.  Religion neither fixed nor prevented this wound and eventually, it became evil.  Surprise, surprise.
        1. They outgrew the infantile version of God they were taught. They grew up taught that God was a guy who lived in Heaven and punished "evildoers" and "saved" the good people and that everything hinged on the precise and supernatural details of Jesus' birth and death.  They never really learned about the importance of His life.  When they combined their intelligence with education, they looked at this cartoon religion and found it silly, not realizing that there was a great deal more to it than they knew.

        The story of the Exodus is filled with metaphors and yet, Mylegacy insists on taking it literally.  There are probably 100 books written by Rabbis that answer Mylegacy's issues with Exodus and yet he/she hasn't bothered to read a single one.  So here we have someone who is expressing an uninformed opinion in the process of championing "REASON."  Is that rational?

        Of course, they say, "I know!  I was a _____!" But their mistake was trusting that the people who taught them this dysfunctional religion knew what they were talking about.  This appeal to authority is not going to trigger us to make the same mistake.

        There's always a wound.

        Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody watch news tonight. — Wang & Connie Chung

        by The Red Pen on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:03:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You are too ignorant of differences between (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, Rick in Oz

      different christian groups to criticize them intelligently.  You think all Christians are fundamentalists.

    •  It's a lot worse than that. (0+ / 0-)

      God hardened Pharaoh's heart against Moses.  It was a total set-up.

      It will always be as easy to cure a person of their religion than of their sexual orientation. Probably easier.

      by grada3784 on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:51:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Funny how so many atheists... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sberel, danoland

      ...are more literalist than most religious people.

  •  I am a Catholic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paxpdx, grada3784, dotalbon

    You can only make a post with that subject if you have read Father Andrew Greeley's "The Catholic Myth".

    •  I've read it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom

      Greeley's amazing. He has to be pushing 80, and is still writing and speaking prolifically. He, IMHO, is a key voice in the conscience of the Church, in his "Blackie Ryan" novels just as much as in his sociological works.

      "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

      by paxpdx on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:00:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My Dad and I have exchanged many e-mails (8+ / 0-)

    on the concept of God.  And it comes down to this:
    Either you believe, or you don't.  If you do believe, the world without God makes no sense.  If you don't believe, God is a convenient construct that humans invented to avoid fear of death.  Different religions arose at different times for political reasons mostly, and their tenets vary, but that's whate it really comes down to.

    There is no way to bridge this gap.  I am of the latter school of thought, and always have been.   My dad is the former, and always has been.  Who can say why?  

    Electing a Republican is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

    by dotalbon on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:01:19 PM PST

    •  Well, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grada3784, ryan81

      plenty of folks have tried to explain why.

      This article, by Yale psychology and linguistics professor Paul Bloom, describes research indicating that belief in gods comes from inborn tendencies that human beings have to ascribe agency to things that actually have no agency. (And there's plenty of research with results like these in this general area.)

      Then, this article by two sociologists examines demographic data showing that as a given society's levels of (1) education and (2) social security (with small "s"es) rise, its level of religiosity declines sharply. Without ignorance and fear, it appears, religion dies generation by generation.

      So I suspect there are some things we can say about these phenomena.

  •  I would continue going to the UU church (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grannyhelen, grada3784, Jane Lew

    I just can't indulge sexism anymore.  It is birth control not abortion that upsets me.  That and not women priests. Also my church had to share a priest with several others, so the Sunday experience is pretty degraded.

  •  My view: (8+ / 0-)

    Whatever gets you through the night.

    "Obama is just too smart to be stupid." --NYmind

    by Dragon5616 on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:11:19 PM PST

  •  raised Catholic in the 60's, 70's (5+ / 0-)

    and first "left" when I was 12, although I went to Catholic schools all the way to 12th grade.  As I recall, I objected to the whole thing when we were all lined up to do Confirmation. I rebelled. 1968. go figure.

    Let me say this: Limbo. LIMBO? they did away with LIMBO??? oh brother. I was kinda planning to go there myself. heh.

    I tend to look at things in historical, cultural context, to some extent. I had a Massachusetts Irish Catholic mom whose sole purpose in life was to ensure that her four daughters got a good education (and college degrees). She didnt really go too crazy on the religion aspect of it, compared to some of my classmates' parents. Education, quality education. Bless her heart. Aside... One of her brothers was a Franciscan priest who lived most of his adult life in Japan.  

    Between her and a few others, we seemed to really GET the core value of service, and "brother's keeper" concepts. We meaning my three sisters and I. We're all poor as shit. Teachers, librarians, etc. Not a Catholic in the bunch, but service oriented, spiritual, and... happy. Basically.

    If they still did Mass in Latin, I might go. For the incense and meditation.  :-)

    Id maybe go if I thought Id feel a fellowship, but Im pretty sure that its not for me,there.

    If it works for you, splendid.

    "We are standing on the precipice of a new day." kossack kwickkick

    by Lady Libertine on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:12:24 PM PST

    •  It was too late for you and Limbo. (3+ / 0-)

      Once you got baptized, Limbo was no longer on your menu.  It was washed off.

      It will always be as easy to cure a person of their religion than of their sexual orientation. Probably easier.

      by grada3784 on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:54:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Latin and incense are still around (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, appletree, Lady Libertine

      The National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in DC has incense every Sunday at noon. If you look closely, you'll see Newt Gringrich's third wife in the choir.

      There are a few church's in DC that do Latin. St. Matthew's Cathedral does Novo Ordo (I think that's how it's spelled) - new (Vatican II) mass. Saint Mary Mother of God, where supposedly Pat Buchanan and Antonin Scalia attend, has a tridentine (pre-Vatican II old school) latin mass every Sunday.

      The pope recently changed the rules so that any church that wants to do the old tridentine latin mass can. Conservatives rejoiced, thinking that it was a big victory. But very few churches are offering the masses because, well, who wants to go to a service in a language they don't understand?

      See the losers in the best bars, meet the winners in the dives -Neil Young

      by danoland on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:50:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Episcopalian (8+ / 0-)

    You're talking about the things that made me become an Episcopalian.  There's the peace I found at Mass, but none of the anger I felt at the anti-woman ranting I heard in the Catholic Church.  I couldn't continue being a "cafeteria" Catholic.  It's all or nothing.  Episcopals are what I like to call "Catholic Lite" or "American" Catholic.  

  •  Raised Lutheran, married a Catholic (8+ / 0-)

    we attend a Maronite-rite church, which is actually a pretty good compromise right there.

    I hear ya with a lot of these issues - specifically what I feel is gay-bashing in the Catholic Church really bothers me. I don't mind so much the church taking a stance against abortion, what I mind is expecting civil law to follow religious belief (cuz at this point that is what the abortion debate is focused on).

    That being said, at least the Catholic Church is consistently pro-life, as opposed to pro-fetus and pro-death penalty.

    I find that a lot with the Catholic Church literally boils down the the priest level, so a lot of what you're writing about makes a lot of sense.

    "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

    by grannyhelen on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:20:48 PM PST

    •  I'm not familiar with Maronite-rite (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, grannyhelen, OJD

      How is it different/similar to Roman Catholic rite?

      See the losers in the best bars, meet the winners in the dives -Neil Young

      by danoland on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:53:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, excellent Q... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sobermom, OJD, danoland

        some links to get you started:

        wikipedia (pretty OK): http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        The patriarche: http://www.bkerkelb.org/ (yes, it is in English: http://www.bkerkelb.org/... )

        Basically, for us and our local priest, some of the more important differences are that because they are a separate rite they have a different way of looking at inclusion in the communion rite (something very importan to us in a Protestant-Catholic marriage), they have a more progressive way of looking works and at conflict resolution - as Lebanese Christians they've sort of had a pretty rich history of being not only a minority, but a negotiator of peace between different Islamic factions.

        What's nice about the service itself is it is ancient - I mean, it feels really, really ancient, even in English. Some services are in Arabic, but ours is mostly English with some sung Arabic.

        It's cool to check out of there's a Maronite church to you.

        "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

        by grannyhelen on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:12:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good for you. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, grada3784, OJD, Dar Nirron, danoland

    You found a belief system that gives you comfort and peace, and can then encourage you to extend those qualities to others. If there is a God, I don't see how He, She, or It could fault anyone for doing that.

    I'm a bear of very little brain. (With apologies to A. A. Milne)

    by Arnie on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:24:03 PM PST

    •  No? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Arnie, grada3784

      If there is a God, I don't see how He, She, or It could fault anyone for doing that.

      Well, of course, if the gods that fundamentalists (Christian, Muslim--doesn't matter for this purpose) believe in actually exist, those gods will of course "fault" all of us here for failing to run our lives according to the freakish notions that make up the conservative wings of those religions.

      We can't actually know for certain that Pat Robertson's god (or for that matter Ayatollah Khomeini's) doesn't exist. So it seems to me worth asking: presuming one of those gods does exist, what should our reaction be--here, now, as well as capital-L Later?

      But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

      - someone famous

      •  No. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sberel, danoland

        We can't actually know for certain that Pat Robertson's god (or for that matter Ayatollah Khomeini's) doesn't exist. So it seems to me worth asking: presuming one of those gods does exist, what should our reaction be--here, now, as well as capital-L Later?

        Since the burden or proof rests on Robertson and/or Khomeini, I've decided I'll start asking once they've provided said proof. I'm not holding my breath.

        Reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from the TV sitcom Barney Miller, in which Miller is speaking with fellow officer Arthur Dietrich about his atheism.

        Miller : What if you died suddenly and found yourself facing God in Heaven? What would you say?

        Dietrich: Oops!

        I'm a bear of very little brain. (With apologies to A. A. Milne)

        by Arnie on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:59:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But... (0+ / 0-)

          Since the burden or proof rests on Robertson and/or Khomeini, I've decided I'll start asking once they've provided said proof.

          Under normal circumstances, sure--but have you forgotten the comment of yours I was responding to?

          If there is a God, I don't see how He, She, or It could fault anyone for doing that.

          So now you, not Pat and Ruhollah, are the one making the positive claim--that there's some insoluble incompatibility between (1) being a god that exists and (2) punishing people for choosing worldviews that "give[ them] comfort and peace, and ... then encourage [them] to extend those qualities to others."

          Having declared that, the burden of proof is now on you to demonstrate that asshole gods can't exist. My point is that I can't see how you can possibly meet that burden. If I'm right, your "I don't see how" statement is just as unsupported as their fundamentalist faiths are.

          •  I don't have to prove anything. (0+ / 0-)

            I never claimed gods exist, nor did I claim to know how or why said gods would decide to punish anyone. I was simply offering my opinion. Key words in the comment under question are "If" and "I don't see", which are different from "There are" and "There are not."

            For the record, I don't believe in gods at all. I'm just happy that someone out there has found something that gives him peace. That's all. If you want to antagonize a theist, go somewhere else. I'm not your guy.

            I'm a bear of very little brain. (With apologies to A. A. Milne)

            by Arnie on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 07:18:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  danoland (8+ / 0-)

    You speak for me.  And from the heat I take whenever I post about religion, you speak much BETTER for me.  So, I'm probably going to stay out of the religion diaries for awhile, but you should know I'm with ya!

  •  It's Complicated (7+ / 0-)

    There is a relationship between Catholicism and ethnicity that is not always present among other Christian sects.  I am a Catholic partly because it is my family and ethnic history going back some 1600 years.

    But I'm also a Catholic by choice.  Not because I have a belief in a particularly Catholic supernatural diety.  But because I find it to be a handy metaphor for helping me find a feeling of oneness with the Universe/Nature/Everything.

    Beyond that, the narratives, rituals, etc. are appealing to me aesthetically.

    You can call me "Lord Bink Forester de Rothschild."

    by bink on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 05:49:16 PM PST

    •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bink, sberel

      I never say that I'm Roman Catholic, I say that I'm Irish Catholic.  The two are intertwined in the Boston area, in me, and in my ancestors.  The ancestors that immigrated here were all Catholic.  One of the most profound things for me on our trip to Ireland was visiting all of the churches in the small towns that were populated by soberdad's and my ancestors.  There was a special feeling walking through the doors of the church knowing that over the centuries our relatives were baptized, married, and buried in these churches.

      I too am a Catholic by choice.  The ritual and beauty of the Mass nourishes me spiritually.  One of my favorite lines from Anne Lamott was when she talked about the Mass as a bus station for the senses, something for every sense all going on at the same time.

      We...remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.--MLK

      by sobermom on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 08:13:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You have a strong faith! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, sberel, OJD, danoland, appletree

    It is always difficult (for you, for me, for many) to separate the essence of faith from the many, many foibles of human institutions. The Catholic Church is a very old institution, and has accumulated a commensurate number of foibles!

    But at its core (as best represented by the spirit of Vatican II) it is an institution that seeks to return to the charity and optimism of its beginnings. Mass reaches beyond the human relationships to try to get us to think about what's beyond these limits.

    Glad you wrote!

  •  How about Christian? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, Rogneid

    Is it possible at all that a person can simply be a Christian?

    To follow the actual words of Christ - who told us to "call no man 'father'", and who said, when a woman called out to him "Blest be the breasts that suckled you!" said "Blessed rather you be who knows the word of God and follows it" - thereby bypassing the strange fixation with the Virgin Mary we find in Catholicism.

    I dunno.  Following the words of Christ would make you a Christian.  What is the significance of being a Catholic in relation to that?

    •  I think the issue is organized religion (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, sberel, Rogneid, OJD, appletree

      It's possible to be a Christian without going to any particular church. Personally, I find that I need the structure of a religion to help me spiritually.

      Consider blogs. You could just write stuff on your PC and not share it with anyone, or you can be part of an online community like DKos. Belonging to DKos might not be logical, but it might make you feel better than you would if you didn't belong.

      See the losers in the best bars, meet the winners in the dives -Neil Young

      by danoland on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 06:58:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Or disorganized religion (7+ / 0-)

        My parish exists with a primary mission of serving our poor and marginalized frieds. Not just the ones who are Catholic, straight, male, "holy" - 'cause not all of us there are all of those things - or even any of them!

        I've had friends say they wish they could have some sort of community, but they can't stand organized religion. I've told them that the doors of our parish are open to them; nobody'd ever err and call us overly organized. :)  We do what we can to be a voice of peace and justice in the world, and leave the rest to people for whom it's a big deal. That would not be us.

        "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

        by paxpdx on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:10:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm wary of any belief system that thinks ... (0+ / 0-)

    one guy (prophet)has all the answers.

    •  Jesus never claimed to have all the answers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      appletree

      In fact, He makes a couple of statements of not knowing certain things.

      For example, which he preached helping the poor, he admitted that the problem of poverty would never been solved.

      Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody watch news tonight. — Wang & Connie Chung

      by The Red Pen on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:06:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not the about the answers you know, (0+ / 0-)

        it's about the questions you ask.

        The only thing that helps me maintain my slender grip on reality is the friendship I share with my collection of singing potatoes. -5.75, -7.18

        by Rogneid on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 08:24:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  MN courts will have to decide the winner (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, OJD

    Do you believe in God?

    43%, 62 votes Yes
    43%, 62 votes No
    12%, 17 votes Not sure

    Agnostics once again played the spoiler, much to the chagrin of believers and non-believes alike.

    See the losers in the best bars, meet the winners in the dives -Neil Young

    by danoland on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:01:13 PM PST

  •  Some thoughts (I'm Catholic too) (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, sberel, OJD, LI Mike, danoland, appletree

    Those Catholic leaders who make news are often the ones that wade into these issues like abortion and marriage. But to me, the Catholic Church is about far more than those people or issues.

    "We Are God's People, the flock of the Lord," the Psalm says. My parish in Grand Rapids is the oldest parish in the Grand Rapids area, and it is very diverse. It has about 700 families, 300 of whom speak Spanish as their primary language. My parish up in Mount Pleasant, where I go to school, is a wonderful community of young people. The parish we used to attend here in Kentwood is a very diverse and dynamic community of Caucasians, blacks, Asian-Americans, and so many other ethnicities who, if I recall correctly, speak approximately 40 languages!

    Yet one thing they all have in common is a steadfast belief that, above all, God is Love. We all believe that we are called to love one another and to care for each other, for - again - "We Are God's People."

    This may be why I strongly believe that my Catholic faith - instilled in me by my parents, not by insistence but by example - has made me such a strong Democrat. When people wonder how I could be a Catholic and a Democrat at the same time, to me it's obvious. I'm a Democrat because I'm a Catholic.

    I am disturbed when people use their Catholic faith to justify hatred and intolerance of those who are not like them. "What happened to feeding the poor and healing the sick?" I have often found myself wondering recently.

    http://www.usaservice.org/

    by ScottyUrb on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:04:00 PM PST

  •  How about Episcopal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel

    Next time, try the Episcopal Church.  It's a lot like Catholicism, but with a somewhat more progressive outlook.

    I have nothing against the UUs, but if the RCC speaks to you then maybe you should look for something similar if you get tired of it again.

    Good luck in your new parish.

    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody watch news tonight. — Wang & Connie Chung

    by The Red Pen on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:08:42 PM PST

    •  Or Lutherans (ELCA) (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, sberel, OJD, The Red Pen, danoland

      When I'm visiting family, I often go with them to the Lutheran church they attend. I was amazed to learn one Sunday that a huge number - almost certainly a statistical majority - of the people there still consider themselves to be Catholic. They're part of a diaspora, finding community and following their faith to a place that they find welcoming.

      It's hard for me to be there; I'm too tied to the Catholic liturgy, and very much Catholic. I still go (and sometimes go to Mass alone the night before or later on Sundays) - but go to the Lutheran church with family because that's as much a part of why it matters to me to be there.

      "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

      by paxpdx on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:12:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't belong to any organized religion = (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sberel, danoland

      I'm Episcopalian!

      I've seen that bumpersticker  more than once in my diocese.

      The only thing that helps me maintain my slender grip on reality is the friendship I share with my collection of singing potatoes. -5.75, -7.18

      by Rogneid on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 08:26:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Danoland (6+ / 0-)

    My experience and views are very compatible with yours. Thanks for writing the diary and thanks to everyone else for sharing their views.

    I spend a lot of time wondering why I'm Catholic and have read several books to find an answer. Lacking any good answers, and finding that most anti-god anti-Catholic writings usually have in each chapter. "It's possible to infer that...," "It may be that if you accept that..." Imperfect record keeping has its drawbacks.

    But I love reading about the Gnostics; I say, bring back the debate. Who was Jesus and what did he say exactly. And what do all those sayings mean in the Gospel of Thomas? And how come Matthew, Mark, Luke and John know so much since Jesus died at least 30 years before you began writing?

    Well, Thanks to Contantine and the Nicea Council of 325, all these questions were answered. "God from God, True Light from True light, begotten not made..." The vote was quite lopsided, too. Poor Arius didn't stand a chance.  

  •  You're not a Catholic, friend. Neither am I. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angrybird

    Here's the thing: you can't claim to be an observant Catholic while rejecting large portions of standard Church teaching. And while your current priest may be soft-peddling the abortion thing, don't be fooled. The Pope has a plan. He is carefully organizing a purge of the Catholic Church. He has made no secret of his disdain for "cafeteria Catholics", those who pick and choose from Catholic teachings, following some and rejecting others. Ratzinger/Benedict plans on a purer, but smaller Church.

    Don't get me wrong; I know exactly what you mean about that spiritual empty space, and how the Church once filled it. But this is emotion and sentimentalism, not spirituality. What you're looking for in today's Church is simply not there. The Catholic Church of our youth, in the Vatican-II era, was a warm, comforting, nurturing community. The combination of comforting ritual and a sense of new possibilities for the Church was intoxicating.

    That's largely gone from today's Church. John Paul II was a catastrophe for the Church, an incompetent administrator so smitten with his own rock-star charisma that he let the Church's fundamental institutions disintegrate while he traveled the globe. He also appointed an entire generation of reactionary, dogmatic Bishops and Cardinals; strict adherence to John Paul II's 19th century vision of the Church trumped competence and integrity. This led directly to the disastrous pedophile priest scandal, and the Church's obscenely corrupt response to it.

    Benedict, and the entire generation of reactionary Cardinals he heads, will have none of your mushy Catholicism. Anyone unwilling to bow to a strict anti-abortion, anti-birth control line will eventually be forced out of the Church.

    I left the Church in disgust when my local Diocese very aggressively tried to squeeze my wife and me for a "suggested donation" in the four figures because of our previous generosity. The 'hard sell' was repellant, and was obviously linked to the Diocese's multimillion dollar pedophile settlements and plumeting collections. Combined with the relentless drumbeat of "all abortion all the time" and a spectacular de-emphasis of other social ministries, I no longer recognize the Church of my youth.

    •  Is it spirituality? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sberel

      But this is emotion and sentimentalism, not spirituality

      ...only his hairdresser knows for sure.

      See the losers in the best bars, meet the winners in the dives -Neil Young

      by danoland on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:48:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That seems to vary from diocese to diecese (0+ / 0-)

      from what I can see. My father is Catholic, and his diocese (and his parish in particular) is a hotbed of liberal Catholocism. Anti-war marches, pro-female priests, accepting fully gays as full members of the body of Christ (most of which I think are from my family), immigrant rights activists, and really good Mardi Gras nights.

      I'm Episkie and my parish is not quite as liberal. They're still working on the gay thingie. But we still worship together and don't call others names.  We want people to be comfortable worshiping together, not whether we agree on every little thing exactly. We refuse to get tied up in the politics of the Church once we step into the Nave and genuflect before our pews.

      Any controversioal descussion talkes place in the third half of the sacrament, the coffee hour where we have coffee and tea, lemon aide, pound cake and sometimes sausage buskits.   The we have discussions and snackies and discuss the readings of the day, or some such thing.

      The only thing that helps me maintain my slender grip on reality is the friendship I share with my collection of singing potatoes. -5.75, -7.18

      by Rogneid on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 09:00:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That won't last long. (0+ / 0-)

        Pope Benedict is slowly but surely enforcing a relentlessly conservative dogma across the Church. He's apparently feeling his way toward some of the warm/fuzzy persona that somehow got attached to John Paul II, after seeing what it could accomplish, but don't be fooled. Priests at the parish level are being pushed hard to keep pitching the anti-abortion line. That liberal social ministry is an artifact of your local activist parishoners; the Vatican is slowly but surely cracking down on such "amateur theology", ensuring that the few remaining Vatican II liberal priests toe the line. Our overworked pastor is a charming, compassionate, highly educated 70 year old fellow with a liberal bent. He gives a great sermon on his own, but it's sad watching him when he's forced to grind out another anti-abortion diatribe.

        (As an aside, I have always found Americans' fondness for John Paul II absolutely incomprehensible. John Paul II never deviated from an intensely, almost heartlessly conservative view of the Church and social ministry. He brutally repressed the entire liberation theology movement across Latin America to the great detriment of the entire Church. He clearly supported what might be called the 'Mother Teresa' view of religion: life sucks, people die horribly painful deaths in grinding poverty; but it's all good, 'cuz that suffering is some kind of 'prayer' to God. And yet he was treated like a rock star by a fawning press corps and millions of fans. I just don't get that.)

  •  Vatican II (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, sberel, appletree

    may be a done deal to you but I wouldn't bet anything I cherish on it not being substantially undone.  There are too many reactionary old farts in the hierarchy for a liberal Catholic to feel very safe.  When Benny is gone, there will be another, maybe worse, one in his place.  

    I've been around for a long time.  I was on the committee (in the 60s) that planned how our parish council would be formed.  I have seen priests and bishops - and popes - come and go.   In the tumult of the 60s and 70s, we not only did not get as many vocations to the priesthood; we lost some of the best, most progressive ones because the change was just too slow for them.  Now we will pay for that loss.  The only guys who stuck it out are the ones who are so enamored of power that they will never give up a drop of it.  Not only that, they will do whatever it takes to grab back as much of it as they can.  

    It pains me to write that and to feel so negatively about the Church.  I make 100% of my living working for the Church, teaching and making music.  I love my parish and the wonderful people there.  As much as possible, I try not to think about the nasty people who run things beyond that.

    -7.62, -7.28 "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

    by luckylizard on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:27:54 PM PST

  •  I grew up Catholic and grew up catholic. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel

    Reagan left the Democratic party. I wish I could find the audio on the tubes with Ronny espousing for the working man. I know Thom Hartmann has it. The tubes not so much.

    Reagan married Nancy. He got schooled. He changed his beliefs.

    The Democratic Party stayed the same.

    Ronny? Not so much.

    "They pour syrup on shit and tell us it's hotcakes." Meteor Blades

    by JugOPunch on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 08:57:08 PM PST

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