I’ve never written or spoken about this before.
My credentials as a Catholic are pretty well-established. Baptized, Eucharized, confirmed. Fruits and gifts memorized. Bible read. Parables understood and applied. Nineteen years of Catholic education. Campus ministry volunteer.
During college, things began to change.
I saw the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church: The selective infallibility of the Pope. The Biblical cherry-picking during election season. The systemic subjugation of women. And most importantly to me, the willing scientific ignorance required to continue the demonization and marginalization of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters throughout the United States.
So after graduating, I left. And I’ve never gone back.
However, my quest for spirituality never ended. I embraced logic and science to better understand my existence and the existence of the world around me, all while secretly feeling ashamed for having abandoned God.
With all this on my mind, I ventured into St. Paul’s Cathedral during my recent trip to London. Years of Catholic guilt swelled within as I fouled and besmirched a place as beautiful and as holy as St. Paul’s with my heathen presence.
What can I say? The Church trained me well.
In the end, my tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral only confirmed my agnosticism. If a building as gorgeous, ornate, ancient, and awe-inspiring as St. Paul’s couldn’t rekindle my affection for a god that may or may not exist, I don’t know what will.
Heck, if St. Paul’s and its incredible architecture inspired anything, it was my faith in science and humanity.
I’m not Catholic anymore.
And I’m finally okay with it.
Catholicism inflicts its own special brand of hell on us, even when we try to leave. I think that’s why so many of us refer to ourselves as Recovering Catholics.
You should read Carl Sagan’s The Varieties of Scientific Experience. I read it last spring and felt like Sagan was standing behind my shoulder, shoring up my spirits.
That sounds utterly fascinating. I thought Sagan was just a space guy. You wouldn’t happen to own a copy, would you?
Sagan identified himself as agnostic, probably due to all the controversy attached to the term “atheist”. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is his successor in many ways and chooses to identify as agnostic for that very reason, too.
Anyway, I bring that up because Sagan is known for his views on religion, with his book “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” is highly regarded among skeptics. Make of that what you will.
That sounds like a pretty good read too. I still haven’t gotten to Tyson’s Cosmos yet, but once I do, these seem like some pretty good places to go afterwards.
You’re assuming it’s important to me for you to be Catholic.
What’s really important to me is for you to know the One Who never sees you as “fouled and besmirched.” Or even “guilty” and “heathen.”
Your journey is your own.
Yes! Matriarchal approval!