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 But I think the real reason it has remained unpublished for so long, aside from a severe case of perfectionism, is simply fear.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.
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.
- 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.
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.
I am still figuring out what I believe.
If you are Catholic, I love you.
If you aren’t, I love you.