April 19, 2014

Of Church and Sheep

I'm a Catholic sheep.  There's only one Catholic church in my town, which is surprising given my general proximity to Mexico.  I figured there'd be at least two.

There's a lot of Catholic churches in the state, though.  There's actually one right across the border in the next town, but I talked to them on the phone and I didn't get quite the warm and fuzzy vibe that the church in town gave me.

I wanted to go to Confession today before I started attending services on a regular basis, but my local church cancelled the Confession hours because of the Easter Holiday.  So I have to go next week.

Yes, I know it's now called Reconciliation.  I'm also an old-school Catholic sheep.  I can't bring myself to call it Reconciliation; it will be Confession until the day I die.  One of the reasons I'm going to this specific church is because they still offer the kneel-in-the-dark-cubicle while-behind-the-screen option for confessing.  I tried it the modern way where the priest and I sit in lounge chairs in a well-lit room and talk as though we're chatting about sports, and I wasn't comfortable.

Anyhow, it's not as though I was going to be at Easter Mass anyway as I have to work.  I'm serving God through patient care tomorrow...someone has to do it.  I know it's not going to go over well with the extended family, but they know I'm a nurse and it's part of the job.  They're still going to grouse though.

I'm the only practicing Catholic in the family--and I think the only one in my family as a whole--although I'm not practicing as well as I ought to be.  My sister doesn't practice.  My mother was involved in the parish when I was growing up, but as I got older her participation declined.  Now that there are grandchildren about she has has a sudden fit of piety...at least in that she wants them to be raised Catholic.  But as far as her practicing what she preaches...er, no.  My father isn't Catholic.

The other half is not Catholic either.  They're Protestants.  There are former Catholics in the other half's family, but they all fled the religion.

The other half's family would love for me to convert to their religion and bring the little ones over as well, or at least send the little ones to the fold.  I admit that I gave their religion a good try, but realized it wasn't happening.  I'd go to Mass...er, services, and answer everything with the Catholic responses.  I'm used to services being a specific way.  As informal as I can be, I'm used to a certain level of formality in my religion that their religion seems to lack.  There's no Confession, at least, not the way that I know it.  I'm not used to seeing priests...er, pastors married with children.

Try as I might, I just could not feel comfortable in their flock.  It's no slur upon their religion; I guess I'm just too much of a Catholic at heart.

The topic of religion is at times a point of contention with the families, especially when it comes to the little ones.  But the other half and I have decided that we're going to do what we feel is best for our family, and everyone will have to deal.

The better half supports them being raised Catholic if I want them to be.  My personal belief is they should be baptized as Catholic, but I'll hold off on the rest until when they become teenagers, so they can make up their own minds and choose their own choices in the theology department.  I'd rather they embrace a faith whole-heartedly, even if it differs from mine.

For the record, I do have some issues with the Catholic Church and their stand on a lot of things, though seeing Pope Francis in action has helped me feel better.  I've adopted his POV on a lot of those matters.

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