I’ve been feeling very depressed and confused lately and I don’t know what to do. It started on election day. On that particular day, Barack Obama, our first black president was elected. Everyone else around me was really excited about it and I just felt out of place (I’m black). In the black community, the Obama candidacy was treated like the natural teleological outcome of more then 400 years of struggle, some thing that I was clearly on the outside of (I did a write-in candidate, because I didn’t want to vote for either). Much of the enthusiasm comes from the feeling that the Obama presidency means an end of the feeling of being a metic. The term metic comes from Ancient Athens. Metics were people who were residents of Athens, but not citizens. Many of them had lived in the city-state for many generations, but were still considered foreigners. This has been the traditional situation of blacks in this country; always residents, never citizens. When Obama won the election I thought, “Wow, we’ve finally made it” and then I felt guilty because of his pro-abortion record and that feeling hasn’t left me since. The whole election filled me with a great deal of anxiety, since I was told by my mother that if I didn’t vote for Obama then there would be race riots and blacks would be even worse off than they were in the post-Reconstruction era. Then all of these Catholic blogs and writers were saying that if Obama was elected, then it would usher in a Nazi-type government (which was also what my mom said. Strange how Hitler always wins no matter who wins). he crux is the problem is the phenomenon known as “double consciousness” as described by WEB Du Bois in his book The Souls of Black Folk. It refers to an inability to reconcile the twin identities of being black and American. In my case, it is the difficulties of reconcile black and Catholic identities. Most American black culture stems in some form or another from the black (Protestant) Church. I wonder if this means then that the entire cultural output of blacks is totally worthless then?
My second problem deals with a general depression about the state of the Church. The unity of Catholicism seems superficial given the vast number of Catholics who don’t even believe in “mere Christianity.” Catholic institutions seem to flagrantly do things that are against Church teachings. What’s the point of having all of these rules if no one is going to enforce them? At least the Protestants are honest about where they stand, whereas it seems like we make a big show about non-existent orthodoxy and orthopraxis. The new revelations about the abuse of children in Irish Catholic institutions has really depressed me, especially given how the same thing happened in the US, Canadian residential schools, and in Australian schools. How could such deep-rooted corruption be so widespread throughout the English speaking Catholic world? It boggles the mind. Since most of these incidents happened 50+ years ago, they can’t be attributed to Vatican II. I find myself wondering if there isn’t something with the structures of the Church that enables abuse to keep occuring again and again.
So when I say that I’m doubting, its not that I secretly want to go to the local AME church or that I woke up one day and decided that the Marian doctrines are false or that purgatory is non-existent or that birth control is licit. I flirt with becoming evangelical, but I couldn’t image dumping the Marian dogmas and such and I fear being separated from the Church. But I’m so confused and depressed that it’s interfering with my daily life, both religious and secular. Any help that anyone could give would be greatly appreciated.