Politics and religion, right? Two definite hot buttons that should never, ever ever ever be discussed. With politics, I don't have enough of an informed opinion (in my opinion) to form a valid argument either way. And you know what? I am okay with that. But religion? That's a different story.
16 and I were at a class this weekend at our church, because she and 14 are preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation. Yep, we are Catholic. Well, they are Catholic. I'm sorta neutral. Disenfranchised, if you will. I'm all sorts of messed up from 12 years of Catholic school. I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. It's the Catholic church and it's ever-changing policies, rules, edicts, etc. that I have issues with. Growing up Catholic, the nuns truly did a number on me.
Let's start with my sophomore year of high school. Our theology teacher, Sister Mary Hitler, came into class one day and taught us that if you HAVE an abortion, HELP in an abortion or have anything to do with ANYONE getting an abortion, you were considered excommunicated from the Catholic church. She didn't pull the 'you're gonna go to hell' card but she did make things pretty clear. I always had that in the back of my mind. Fast forward to the beginning of my time working in Atlantic City. Someone I knew when I was growing up contacted me because a. I knew Atlantic City because I worked there, and b. Atlantic City was where most of the abortion clinics were back then. Anyway, this person was in a bad way and in no position to have a baby. It's not my place to judge anyone. That's God's job. And Judge Judy's. But I also know that there are way too many babies brought into this world who don't get adopted and spend their lives in the system. So I helped out a friend and drove her to the clinic, waited until she was finished and drove her home. BOOM: Excommunicated. Sr. Mary Hitler said it, and she's got that direct line to God, being a nun and all, so it must be true.
After that, I really didn't think that the Catholic church wanted me, so I really never went back. Sure I went for the big 2, Christmas and Easter but that was pretty much for my mom, whose a completely devoted Catholic. We all want to please our parents, don't we? Mom was divorced and wanted to remarry some years later. The hoops the Catholic church made my mother jump through in order to remarry within the Catholic church rivaled that of a circus monkey. She had to have her first marriage (also performed in the Catholic church) annulled before the Catholics would allow her to remarry in their church. Now, let me say this: her first marriage was to an amazing and incredible man. I loved him like he was my own father. He and my mom differed on how much control members of the extended family should have, but they never for a moment didn't actually love one another. So custody of my brother was never an issue and when mom's ex would come to visit with my brother, he always included me, which was a wonderful thing. I loved him so much. So when the Catholic church told my mother that she would have to have that first marriage annulled, I have no doubt it hurt her but it also bothered me tremendously.
Dictionary.com defines the word annul this way: to make void or null; abolish; cancel; invalidate; to reduce to nothing; obliterate.
That's what the church wanted my mother to do. Obliterate all ties to a man she once loved, a man with whom she shared a son. That's pretty damned harsh.
Don't even get me started on all of the sexual misconduct that has been revealed to have happened over the course of the last hundred years by Catholic priests. And don't come back at me arguing that NOT ALL priests did that. I'm not stupid, I know that not all priests are perverts. But the Catholic church hid these findings for so many years, that to me, again IN MY OPINION, the church itself is perverse for allowing it to continue.
Ok so all that being said, 16 and I were working on this questionnaire on Sunday. One of the questions was: Describe your faith. My answer was this: LACKING Her answer was: strong but it could be stronger. Then came the doozy. The question was: what I could do to help my children in dealing with obstacles in their faith. I left it blank. I explained to 16 that I want both of them to be informed enough to make their own decisions about their faith. But I was overlooking something. How would they be informed if I don't actually give them the tools to make those decisions. I take them to mass when they have a mandatory Youth Mass in preparation for Confirmation, and then we do a church pot luck afterwards. But if we have something else going on, I really don't mind skipping church to do that something else. But that's not really helping THEM make informed decisions.
I've told them before that I don't want to make their choices FOR them, but in reality, isn't that exactly what I'm doing? They're not going to walk to church by themselves. So I thought about it for a minute and told her that I guess I really do need to make more of an effort to get them to church so that they CAN make those choices for themselves. At that point, she took my questionnaire and filled in the answer to the question I left blank: Do it for the children
She and I looked at each other and just cracked up because it really was funny. I said it sounded like a telethon or something. But the reality of it is, I DO need to do it for my children. How can they make informed decisions if I don't open the door for them to explore? So I'm going to swallow my pride and make the effort to get them to church as often as their schedules will allow. I feel like a hypocrite when I attend mass and go through the motions, reciting the prayers like singing my A-B-C's. But they need to decide for themselves what they want to do with faith in their lives.
Welcome to Snarkfest
Welcome to my snarky corner of the web. Join me as I discuss everything from wine to chocolate. There may be a few other topics mixed in there too. I talk a bunch about my amazing offspring, 19 and 17. I sometimes go on and on about my secret crush on the amazing Mike Rowe. I talk about things that irritate me or things that make me happy. Sometimes I just talk to hear myself talk. Feedback is always appreciated but please make sure it's respectable. No nudity or profanity. I'm the only one allowed to be profane. But any and all snark is welcome and appreciated!