The Imposter’s Creed: Confessions of a struggling Catholic

I’m tired of making excuses for the failures of my church.

The original version of this piece poured out of me about a year ago. Every so often, I’d open up the draft, tweak a few words, then put it away again. Is it true? Is it complete? But I think the real reason it has remained unpublished for so long, aside from a severe case of perfectionism, is simply fear. (Hey Brené , I’m about to be vulnerable.)

Mom, you might want to skip this one.

red and orange stained glass windows
Photo by the author, Lori and Erin Photography

The selection of Pope Francis gave me a lot of hope, and the election of 45 annihilated it. As I attempt to live my values, and, pun intended: practice what I preach, I am finding it nearly impossible to call myself Catholic anymore.

I was raised Catholic and attended 9 years of Catholic school.
I was the first female altar server in my parish.
I was baptized, confirmed, and married at the Catholic altar.
But…

I’m tired.

  • I’m tired of making excuses for the failures of my church.
  • I’m tired of having to qualify which teachings I follow, and which I do not.
  • I’m tired of watching my fellow Christians hang on every evangelical minister’s word, while downplaying the Pope.
  • I’m tired of loving my LGBTQ+ friends and family, while belonging to an organization that actively excludes them.
  • I’m tired of straddling these lines and feeling like I don’t belong.

The more I learn, the more hypocrisy I see. While I know several wonderful Catholic families who feel that Black Lives Matter, I unfortunately know just as many that practice “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” The extreme variation of beliefs found in people claiming the same faith is melting my brain.

I am still on the mailing list, but it has been more than a year since I have attended Mass. Is physical absence enough to express my disdain for the way Catholicism in the United States is heading? Or is a more official act required? Can I just live my values and pray for the day the rest of the church catches up?

I don’t know what to do, but I do know what I believe.

weathered wooden cross surrounded by weeds
Photo by the author, Lori and Erin Photography

The Imposter’s Creed

I believe that God is in us.
God is for us.
God is all around us.

I believe God is love, therefore, love is love.
I believe we are called to love our neighbor.
I believe it is not our place or duty to judge others.

I believe in the separation of church and state
and that everything is connected.

I believe in helping others.
I believe in humanity, dignity, and the worthiness of all lives.
If he were American, I believe Jesus would vote democrat.

I believe that God is everywhere.
In the trees, the wind, the waves.
And that when we pollute, burn, and selfishly exploit,
we harm our relationship to God.

I believe that greed and excess make it harder to see God.

I believe the Church has good intentions.
I believe that faith communities offer a positive influence on society.
I believe community is important to life and to being well rounded humans.

I believe killing a child, born or unborn, is awful;
but I do not believe in telling others what to do with their bodies.
I believe that the way to end abortion is with love.
I believe that if people felt loved, and safe, and heard, and helped,
there would be no need to end a pregnancy.

I believe that if you are a one issue voter,
you are taking the easy way out.

I believe a holy structure can help one communicate with God,
but it is not a requirement.
I believe you can also communicate with God on a beach.
Or on a mountain.
Or on a street corner.

I believe there are many paths to finding God,
and that whichever one works for you, is the right one.

I believe in leading by example;
but I do not believe in evangelization.

I believe in honest, open conversations.
In hard conversations.
I believe in listening, and hearing, and in disagreeing.

I believe that as humans,
we will never have all the answers.
Not through science, nor religion.

Mostly,
I am still figuring out what I believe.

Please note:
If you are Catholic, I love you.
If you aren’t, I love you.

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𝘈𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘷𝘶𝘭𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 & 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴.

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