Wednesday, March 28, 2012

But I actually AM holier than thou

Nobody gets my goat like those Catholics.


You know I am a Catholic, right?

I suppose I take some liberties with the word.  I have said before I consider myself a Catholic, but I am certain there are Catholics out there who would beg to differ - they would say I have no right to call myself a Catholic.

One of the suburbs outside Chicago has a local Catholic church threatening to picket and protest if a new IVF clinic is approved for construction.  No need to link to the story - same old bullshit we have heard before: commoditized children.  A product, not a life.

Clearly these Catholic fools have spent no time actually talking to an infertile family.  The word Product implies it is easy to obtain.  'Yes, please sign me up for one baby.  To go.'

I am here to speak for the Catholic Church.  The one that I belong to; where I consider myself a part of a larger group, reporting up to God who is bigger than the triviality of this post, but here it is anyhow.

I spent many years outside the Catholic Church.  Later as an adult I fell in with a non denominational Christian church.  I got rather geeked up on God.  I attended group bible studies where God was actually something I wanted to learn.  I grew.  I voiced my challenges and settled them with the support of some profoundly brilliant women.  It was a cool time.

No excuses, but then my baby died.  My life was a giant mess.  I would have told God to stick it, but I just didn't care enough to make the effort.  Plus, didn't he know that was what I thought anyhow?

Time passed and I wanted to rebuild the relationship.  I church shopped.  For years.  I did the whole range.  Unitarian to Methodist to Presbyterian to Episcopalian.  More non denominational Christian.  United Church of Christ.  More Episcopalian.  I never once considered returning to the Catholic Church.  A story for another time.

Then God got involved.  Made me share an office with a Catholic at work.

The horror.

I was in the trenches trying to have Baby Jay.  I sure didn't need some snot Catholic coming down on me about my marginalization of life.  Damn if she wasn't my boss too.  More horror.  I had to come clean on the IVF since I was going to miss a lot of work.

Next thing I know, I am learning about God again.  And I am interested.  Huh.  This Catholic is an ally.  She helps me renew my relationship with God.  Pretty heavy.

I talk with Rocco and we decide to open the evaluation up to the Catholics again.  One small issue - they "hate" IVF.  This late entry dark horse of the Catholic Church happened right about the time that the Church came out and said the Nobel Prize awarded to Dr. Edwards, pioneer in IVF, was "misguided".

I call the priest.  Make the appointment.  I am prepared to duke it out with him - what exactly is wrong with my family.  Please help me understand what misguided means cause it is making my blood boil.

You know what he said?

Nothing is wrong.

He asked what is there not to like about a mother willing to pursue her family with such devotion?  He asked me to tell him what part of my story Jesus wouldn't like.

It isn't often I get to speak for Jesus.  Especially to a priest.

I think Catholic is a label only if you make it one.  So yes, Catholics make me really mad, but I am one.


  1. I have a lot to say on this. But it's late and honestly my heart is this side of broken right now. So I'll just say I love you. You rock

  2. Theres so much in here to love about you Roccie. I especially love that you had the balls to face up to Catholicism (not sure I spelt that even remotely correct) and see the priest cause I imagine that took incredible strength and to have him suprise you by embracing your path is just the icing on the cake.
    Peace be with you my friend.

    You're certainly close to godliness in our circles anyway.

    PS still can't get Emmie out of my head, that cute little face. Pats to her. x

  3. i can relate to so much of what you wrote. i am cradle catholic - went to catholic school all my life and everything. but i was actually shocked when you said that catholics don't like IVF. i've never heard anyone in the churches that i've been part of mention anything against IVF or birth control (though i know catholics in general are supposed to be against that). i guess i have gotten lucky since if i had heard that it would have definitely turned me off and upset me.

    i church shopped for a while in college and shortly after. but i've come to realize that being catholic is just a part of who i am and that no "perfect" church exists. actually i have an issue with organized religion (i find there are too many hypocrites but that's a whole separate post). so i continue to go to a catholic church because that is where i feel the most comfortable.

  4. I'm glad you shared your story. I was raised Catholic and my family (all of them) are devout Catholics. They all, every single one of them, supported me 100% through IVF. Even my dear old grandmother attended mass every day and prayed for my embryos.

  5. I am very moved by your post. Religion and faith are not easy topics to talk/write about. There could always be toes one could step on, feathers that could be ruffled. I am really glad you did write about it though.

    I welled up when you wrote about being asked what part of your story Jesus wouldn't like. I can't see any either. This is a good church you have come to, and your God is kindness, not judgement.

  6. Oh Roccie, as a former Catholic, this post made my heart soar and my eyes well up with tears. My *very* catholic parents are 100% on board with where their grandbabies come from.

  7. This is a great post and I have a few points: 1) the suburb you are talking about is the one I grew up in and went to catholic school. my family knows of my journey with donor eggs and i hope to god that they understand that IVF is not "fabricating" babies... 2) i do not call myself catholic now and 3) i love what the priest said!! absolutely love it. I may link to this post if I get the time up to write about it... thanks!

  8. Thank you for this. It is lovely. I am yet another ex-Catholic, and one of the reasons why is that divide between the Official Church (with its misguided politics and other things I've talked about on my blog) and the Actual Church (with its compassionate parishioners and parish priests, which I haven't written about nearly enough). I'm glad you are still part of it. The Church needs people like you.

  9. That's lovely. Kudos to you for standing up and saying it. I wish more people thought the way your priest does!

  10. I am very happy with my atheism, but it never hurts to be reminded that not every Catholic is The Pope. I don't know why I forget, given that my godfather, you know, the guy my mother chose to stand up there in church and swear to protect me from THE DEVIL, is quite gay. And what your priest said totally brought tears to my eyes. I'm so happy you found the supportive community and relationship with God that you were looking for.

  11. Faith is a tough topic and I've been thinking of your post all week wanting something sage to say. One of my close friends has taken to calling herself "culturally Catholic" which is how she deals with the judgmental BS that her family can spew in venom and still see the good parts of the community.

    Finding the right place, right community in religion is incredibly hard. Lots of the struggle to get along with in-laws has to do with them accepting cultural Christian dogma, without any idea that Jesus would be caught dead marching pro Prop 8, or picketing a planned parenthood. For a religion with a whole lot to love, the public face has a whole lot to hate.

    That all said, I just came home from a church in our new neighborhood that's LGBT friendly, said in the bulletin "we believe in taking the Bible seriously, not literally," and has a vigil planned at an illegal gun store in the very bad part of town planned for Good Friday. Which, gives me hope there are other people out there like your priest who also see that "what's not to like about your story?"

    Thanks for sharing this. It helped kick me out of procrastinating on that church visit.

  12. Ugh...not going there Roccie!! But so glad your priest is so supportive and really that's what really matters...not what the Pope says. Take care.

  13. I grew up Catholic and have struggled long and hard with many of the Church's official stands. Most of them, actually. Except for capital punishment. But they're far less vocal on that one. Anyhoo. I've also found that there is the Catholic Church which exists as directed by the Holy See Across the Sea, and then there is the Catholic Church as embodied by individuals. I've also been lucky to - occasionally - come across some wonderful ones, who don't make me flinch. I like the sound of that priest.

  14. I just spent Easter with my son and his new Catholic wife. She's extremely religious following all the rules she seems fit to follow. Ignoring those that she doesn't. Judging everyone else for not following all of them. It's a fun new addition to an already judgmental family affair.

    Except none of the rest of us are religious. In fact, we are very NOT religious. And we are very left. I'll skip to the highlight which was her walking in on a conversation between two people about how religions have taken over pagan holidays and twisted them to their own use.

    Queue Facebook drama between people who are still at the same family event.

    Classic Smart Phone Humor.

    So glad you found a good one. Catholic that is. I know they are out there.

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