I'm a bit of an anomaly among my friends. I'm the only one in my group who goes to church. I think I'm the only one who believes in something - anything. Which makes me wonder why I do, and which makes me wonder why they don't.
I wonder about a lot of things.
Even though Mum and Dad bought my brother and I up as Catholic, we never really had it forced down our throats. Sure; we had to go to Mass every Saturday night growing up, but we got ice cream with Ice Magic afterwards, so it was all good. We went to Catholic primary and high schools, but they only had Mass once a term and if you got the right teacher, you had naptime during Religious Education - even in year 12. I got an award once for my Liturgical Dancing Prowess. (And if I'm out and drinking, sometimes you can get me to do the dance to AC/DC) I've seen “Inherit The Wind” and “The Cross And The Switchblade” more times than I've thought about Jack and Daniel nekkid.
After school finished I really didn't give Mass and the stuff associated with it a thought for years. I refused to go Mass in fact. There's nothing that has never annoyed me more than twice a year Catholics. So instead of becoming one, I went cold turkey. And that was it. I said the odd prayer to some of the saints and others of their ilk on days that I felt like it. All Soul's and All Saint's, and The Day of the Annunciation. But I didn't feel connected to that part of my make-up.
And then I moved. Let no one tell you otherwise; moving to a new town where you know absolutely no one is lonely, depressing, exciting and a tad frightening. It's good though - so if you're thinking of picking up sticks and going where the wind blows, do it. But I decided to go back to Church for a bit. I figured it was a way to meet people, and honestly, I needed something in my life at that time that I knew. And the routine of Mass never changes.
I think I get more comfort out of the routine than out of the belief in a higher being. I like that I know the responses. I like that I know the gestures. I like that I know the prayers. I like the words “Thoust”, “Art”, “Hail”, and “Thine”. I love the word “Smite”. I especially love when I 'm driving and another car cuts me off or steals my park to mutter under my breath “I shall smote your skinny arse.”
And I like that my Church is “St. Barbara's” She sounds like a cool saint. And I once heard this joke about a saint who's in a hot-pink boob tube smokin' Winnie Blues, which just tickles me every time I hear it.
I believe in Heaven - 'cause I don't know if I could cope without that thought of a better place. I don't believe in Hell - as I think the here and now is as bad as it can get. Life is hard. It must be hard for a reason. I'm not sure I believe in God. I know I don't believe in One Holy Apostolic God. But that's mostly as I don't know what Apostolic means. And it almost hurts when I say that prayer in Mass and I say those words, because I know that I'm not being entirely truthful. I do think there's one god, but he has many faces. Like Mothers. He's got his “I'm proud of you face”, the “What do you think you're doing?” face, the “you're so grounded” face, etc. I think deep down it's the same god, for every religion, but it's just a different aspect.
I don't like the politics of religion. I don't like the administration that goes along with it.
I don't like how people assume all catholic priests are pedophiles. I really don't like it when I'm talking to my friends and they say things like “There must be something wrong with those men in the first place to join the clergy” and “when they find a cure for being gay, they'll be able to fix the problem.” And yes, someone actually did say that. Being gay, and being a monster that preys on children are two separate things. Two completely unrelated things. If you're a priest it doesn't automatically mean you've got sexual problems you were hoping a white collar could hide. Yes, they need to stop hiding the truth and sort out this horrible mess out once and for all. Yes, there are some who did betray the people who looked to them for guidance. And there are more than likely those who still are. But sometimes, people are arse-holes on their own. They're not priests who are child molesters, they're child molesters who are priests. There is a difference.
The priest who's at my church at the moment is great. He's fairly young, or what is classed as young these days for priests. And he knows the names of everyone he has ever met. He will remember you - and that is something special. He makes a great beef curry. He's the kind of person you're glad is a man of the cloth, because he reminds you of what the nitty gritty of religion is. Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done To You. He is peace and goodwill. He has enough faith for the whole congregation.
I almost managed to keep my Lenten committments. Every year I have the same two things. No sex and no meat whatsoever on Fridays. Those two things are not the same. Almost made it too. Last Friday, the Friday before Good Friday, I had that wedding to go to. They had a choice of meals at the reception - about 5 all up - but not one of them was vegetarian. So I went with the chicken, and felt guilty for about 15 seconds. The chicken was good. the other one... I'm not saying. Some things should be private.