i was born and raised catholic. this means i was baptized, memorized all the essential prayers, attended catechism class, confessed my sins, made my first holy communion, and was forced to go to church every sunday of my childhood. i attended catholic school from grades 5-12 and made my confirmation sacrament, thereby deepening my commitment to the church. the seven sacraments of the catholic church are: baptism, eucharist (communion), reconciliation (confession), confirmation, marriage, holy orders, and anointing of the sick.
if you can’t see how my completion of this path is going to be problematic, please read on.
there are many reasons i stopped going to church. there is the whole guilt and shame thing. then there’s the anti-choice and anti-gay/gay marriage thing. oh, and the hypocrisy thing. but all that is somewhat arbitrary if you ask me because there are parishes out there that are at least somewhat more tolerant and joyful. once i let my mom drag me to her parish in boyle heights and i saw a bunch of teenagers there, one of which was a cute little baby dyke with a rainbow patch on her backpack, and my years in all-girls catholic high school were almost too liberal. it was amazing.
the main reason i can’t go to church is that it bores the everliving fuck out of me. as soon as i step into a church, any church, i break into a fit of uncontrollable yawning. i am not trying to be funny, i am dead serious. it is extremely embarrassing.
it’s not the praying or the singing i mind. in fact, i like those parts. i like automatically knowing what to say in unison with everyone else. it’s sort of creepy, but sort of cool too. your whole life, you have been memorizing the exact same words as the girl sitting next to you in church, and here you are, both wearing your nicest clothes that aren’t too slutty, speaking the same words, knowing when to kneel, how many times to cross your heart.
the ceremony is just really long, i guess. and it’s hard when you just don’t know… if you really believe. i just don’t know. i do the sign of the cross each night, if i remember, or when i go on an airplane, or pass by a car accident, but why? i thank god at times and curse him at others, but is he listening?
was it god who gave me my family, words i love, and kitty cats? was it the hand of god that struck down my christian dior sunglasses, because i swear, they were nowhere anyone could even touch them, and i certainly didn’t do it! i suppose i may never know. i can say, “yeah, i don’t believe that crap!” all i want, but right afterwards you’ll catch me looking skyward, giving the good lord the old “j/k!” face. plus, i don’t happen to think that hardcore religious people and hardcore atheists are all that different.
whatever it all means, growing up catholic has definitely enriched my life. i learned a lot about love, forgiveness, and tolerance from the teachings of jesus, am really good at memorizing words, and know some interesting bible trivia, which is great at parties.
also, i get to know about stuff like the seven sacraments. the sacraments are neccessary for salvation. marriage and holy orders are the sacraments of vocation, marriage being obvious and holy orders being a man becoming a priest or deacon, and a woman becoming a nun. it’s kind of an either/or thing, except with deacons, i think they can marry. recently, i heard that one of my best friends from jr. high is becoming a nun. this is such a huge trip. she is the person i spent hours talking about what our “first time” with a boy would be like and how the idea of not having pre-marital sex was waaay out of date when we were thirteen. now she is gonna be a cloister nun, and as it turns out, my first time involved zero boys, four breasts, two fingers, and three spankings.
life is weird.