I’ve been reading about catholicism for years along with Orthodoxy and other beliefs.
I regularly attend a catholic church to pray there becuse I like the atmosphere.
I also attend an orthodoxy liturgy as I love the music.
However, there is something stopping me from taking that step over the threshold to more formally explore the catholic faith.
I don’t think I could enter the Orthodox church because of the contraception issue and the politics.
I admire the strength of the catholic church for never bowing to worldly pressure and falling in line with popular social opinion. It appears to have consistently stuck with the truth as it understands it.
However, the people put me off. However superficial that may seem, it’s true and it is a real stumbling block for me.
Today at work I had dealings with an Irish catholic family. Their faith was not the issue but it transpired at interview about something else that their son was causing a huge heartache to them by entering a proestant church. And the reason - he has disabilities and the protestant church has young people, an outreach programme, a music group and a drop in centre, a volunteer program and a summer activities program all run by young people. People he can identify with.
Apart from the Mass, their catholic church has nothing to offer him.
Their son describes the catholic congregation as a ‘‘bunch of decrepid old biddies’’.
It got me thinking of some of the people here, and some of the catholic people I’ve met in real life. They seriously put me off.
Now, I know the church is made up of imperfect people and that is no reason to refuse God’s saving grace in his church, but like it or not it is a factor that has an affect on people like me. And there are many like me out here.
The range of contacts I have had here and in real life are reflected in either an arrogant, ignorant, triumphalist superiority complex, or a quiet, unassuming insular individualist exercise of duty.
I’m not remotely bothered by people not talking to me after mass for example, but the fact is I’ve been attending the same church for several years and not one person has ever asked me about myself - the most I ever get is a smile, nod, and then they shuffle away, their duty done for the week.
The Church of England church I’ve attended a few times, on my very first visit, the vicar introduced himself to me after the service, she chatted for about an hour with me, we had tea and she introduced me to others around me, and then invited me to call in and visit any time I like and call her if there was ever anything I wanted to talk about.
A world of a difference to the catohlic church.
Now I’m sure there are active catholic churchs out there, but is my experiece the norm or the exception.
I can’t help but think that catholics are sometimes their own worst enemy.