And yet I am not.
If that sounds mildly crazy, well welcome to my world.
Let me back up.
I chose to be Catholic at age 43. I was baptised, confirmed and then received my first communion at the Vigil Mass in 1993.
In doing this, I fulfilled a life-long dream, I had not even been aware was possible in my teens and even into adulthood. I knew so little about religion that I thought one must be “born” into a faith.
They say you are always a Catholic once baptised or confirmed. No matter what you do. And, and I believe them. So I am Roman Catholic. Still. Even though. . . .
I have been going to an Episcopal Church for two years.
It’s a fine church, a busy, socially conscious place filled with liberal minds and open hearts, and justice working individuals. It’s clergy is excellent.
Why did I end up there?
Oh, certainly I am at odds with the Roman Church over doctrine. I find much Catholic dogma simply wrong-headed. I can explain why, and no doubt will in later posts. I am deeply appalled at the behavior of the Church over the pedophilia issue. I am shocked, saddened, and angry.
But that is not why I left.
I was rejected.
Why you ask?
Because at the age of 49, I had the unmitigated gall to marry for the first time to a man who was divorced. A man thrice divorced, actually. He was never a Catholic, and never married to one.
Yet, the Church considers me to be living in sin. Unless, at the age of 60, he is granted an annulment of his first marriage (presuming the latter two are considered invalid already), I am not entitled to receive the sacrament of Eucharist.
Ironically, if I violate my marriage vows and leave him, even if I hurt him deeply, destroying his life, the Church would welcome me back as redeemed. Just one good confession away from being in the good graces of the Church.
How does that grab ya? How blessedly Christian is that? How is this following Christ, and practicing forgiveness, compassion, empathy, or any other fine Christian sentiments?
So I found a place where I was welcomed.
Yet, after two years, I find myself in deep pain. I miss my Church. She is mine, wrong-minded and hurtful as I find her to be. My identity has been trampled and trashed, because of an arguable, but not necessary interpretation of a few pieces of Scripture.
So I do morning and evening prayer, and my rosary, and make an act of contrition, and I pray a lot. And I seek answers.
Do I risk confessing to a priest only to be solemnly turned away? Do I go to a large metropolitan Church and lose myself in the masses? Do I seek out a progressive clergy?
These are the questions I ponder, as I walk this lonely road. I have made no decision yet. I wait, pray, and ask for guidance. Someone, somewhere will come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me.
- Divorced but still married says the Catholic church (sincemydivorce.com)