About

I woke this morning to find a new book on my coffee table — Rediscover Catholicism.

My mom was here last night.  Just briefly.  For a quick dinner before we went out to view Christmas Lights at the Botanic Gardens.  She never mentioned it.

The thing is, I don’t need to rediscover Catholicism.  I know Catholicism not only better than most “Catholics” I know, but better than most “devout”, “practicing” Catholics I know.

I have not only read the Bible regularly and in its entirety, I have studied the Catechism of the Catholic Church repeatedly and in depth.  I have read many of the Encyclicals.  I have read many of the writings of the Doctors of the Church.  I have read much from contemporary Catholic authors.  I became a Lector and Eucharistic Minister following my confirmation at 12.  I taught CCD from that time until I was in my early 30s.  At different points, I have been employed by my diocese as the Catholic student minister on my college campus and as a parish Education Director.

But I have never just agreed blindly with the Church’s teachings.  I am a questioner, I am a researcher, I am a thinker.  Certainly, there have been many points at which I have had to examine incongruities between my heart/mind/soul and the Church’s teachings.  Sometimes I have been able to reconcile those and sometimes I have not.

But those variances cannot change the fact that the Church has been important to me, to my family history, my personal history… my individual identity.

And yet, a few years ago, I gave up Catholicism for Lent.

I gave up the regular practice, at least.  I may or may not have given up Catholicism completely.  I may or may not have given up Christianity completely.  My own experience is that they are still with me and will likely always be.   They have provided much that I appreciate and am grateful for, much that I will continue to hold tenderly within me and which will continue to influence the energy that I exert in the world.

Now what I try to reconcile is the space between being/identifying as Catholic and being/labeling myself as a “Recovering Catholic”.  I don’t want to feel as if I am in recovery, the connotations of which are that I or my history is anguished or broken or unwell.  I don’t want to identify with the anger and blame that so often come with taking that name.

And that is the purpose of this blog.  It is about learning how to move beyond my roots of Catholic (and other) indoctrination and making the transition gracefully.  About recognizing, exploring and expressing both my gratitude for the very real gifts of my past and my enthusiasm for the limitless joy of a chosen future.

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38 thoughts on “About

  1. I’ve read somewhere “Question Everything”. Good for us to question everything. If I agree to a Church that is wrong, then I am also wrong. I would like to learn from your blog and then both of us can grow deeper in our Catholic religion and maybe, just maybe, have a blind faith. Pax Tecum. Seeker.

  2. Thanks for making me a part of your journey. God has used the Catholic Church to bless me in many ways. He has also used many Protestant churches to bless me. His Grace is to big for anything in this world to hold.

    It is my prayer that your cup will be filled to overflowing with the love and the grace of our loving Heavenly Father.

  3. I love our Catholic faith deeply but what I love the most is how it brings me closer to God. And that is truly the purpose right? The rules, traditions, etc. are a beautiful means to a closer relationship with our loving Father so we can be with Him forever. God Bless yuon your journey and I will keep you in my prayers!

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am really enjoying reading yours and I find it very refreshing. Have a great 2013! Cherie’

  5. Unlike you, I returned to the fold of Mother Church late in life – I was confirmed only last year, at the age of 22, and only now have I begun to take a more profound look at how the life I lead measures up to my ideals as a Catholic, a Christian, or even a theist of any stripe.

    Like you, however, I’m not one for blind allegiance, and like you, I think the key is to continue thinking, learning, and questioning. I wish you plenty of luck on this journey.

    • 🙂 I am delighted by the enthusiasm of so many young people and the way in which they are discovering something to fall in love with in the Catholic Church! (I am also a little disconcerted when 22 is referred to as later life! In what stage am I currently entrapped? – and woe to my end years as my relatives routinely live to 100!)

      Gratitude for the good fortune and may many graces befall you!

      • Oh, dear. That was a comparative, not a positive – it should read LATER in life!

        P

  6. Dear “peaceful partings”,
    I am interested in learning about other people’s journey of `recovering´ from church doctrine and of finding ways to experience the divine. I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, but discovered its incongruence with a healthy experience of the divine at an early age. I had the unique opportunity to be an altar boy for Hans Küng, a theologian whose work I still respect. It was an encounter that has encouraged questioning.
    It took me more than 30 years to seek membership in an other religious organization. Here is a post about my journey:
    http://ofradix.net/2012/12/04/becoming-a-quaker-in-a-fragmented-world/
    I wish you well for a graceful transition. There is no need for a mediator or a particular organization to seek the divine and to live out the will of God.
    In peace,

    Othmar

  7. My late husband used to refer to himself as a ‘recovering Catholic’….he was raised pre-Vatican2…..My upbringing was in the Disciples of Christ church. I left the formal church in the 80’s with the advent of all of the fundamentalist thinking that took over during that time. We raised both of our children by exposing them to many religious practices with a primary practice in Buddhist mindfulness. We never were comfortable claiming “we are buddhist, catholic, quaker…etc.”, but we “studied” all of them. Our children are free to explore as adults the spiritual practices that fit their lives. Our oldest is following a more Christian ideology and our son is still exploring his path with most of his influence being in the Buddhist area. I find myself not having such a need for labels and keeping grounded in the experience of grace and divinity every day. Would love to hear more from you!!!

    • Yes, the practice of labeling is one that is hard to avoid or unlearn. This blog is an exercise in articulating my beliefs that I may use them in answer to questions of my faith rather than an ambiguous label. Thank you so much for reading and offering your insights! ~Much light and understanding to you and your family in the new year!

  8. I wish you well on your quest.

    Moving from the sacred to the profane, I nominated you for a shameless (though not shameful) self-promoting “Beautiful Blogger” award. Please accept it as a compliment, as I really do appreciate your blog. As for how you respond, you can keep passing it along (and accomplish world peace, or something like that) or just sleep easier tonight knowing that someone appreciates your work.

    Should you decide to pass it along, find out how here – http://writingforfoodinindy.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/a-beautiful-blogger-award-am-i-blushing-or-is-my-blood-pressure-going-up/

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