Alright, so it’s been a while since I blogged. In part this is because I’ve been working on getting the novel together. It rocks, by the way, but more about that later. The other big reason I haven’t been writing is that the title of my blog is Catholic Authenticity…and I’m not currently super sure that I can reconcile those two things.
This is not to say that I’m necessarily about to jump ship. My faith has been through a lot of different crises before and in general I come out the other side still a Catholic, still convinced that God exists, and that Jesus is God, and that the Church is the Body of Christ, and that the Creed is true. So if you’re one of my atheist readers, don’t get your hopes up just yet.
That said, I have serious doubts at this point and I don’t want to go on writing stuff that’s peripheral to the central issues of faith without being open about that. I’m taking some comfort in the fact that Benedict XVI, in his dialogue with atheists, acknowledged that doubt is a common aspect of our search for truth – that it’s something that unites the believer and the unbeliever and gives us common ground. We live with uncertainty, and we thirst for truth even when we’re not sure that it’s actually a real thing that exists. We long for something greater than ourselves even when we fear that we are alone or, worse, fear that if that greater something exists it is indifferent or hostile to us. And we desire to navigate the tortuous path that may or may not lead to truth, beauty, goodness in the company of others because “the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed…Nor does long our small Durance deal with that steep or deep.” In communion, at least, we are able to hold on to other as we inch along the cliff-edge and if we fall then perhaps there will be others to save us from the plunge.
At the moment my basic issues have to do with the reliability of Scripture, the reliability of the Magisterium, and Patriarchy. So, that’s all pretty fundamental stuff. If you can’t relate to why someone would struggle with those things, please for the love of God just do not post in the combox. If you’re a Christian and your immediate impulse to someone saying “I am really struggling” is to crow about how little you struggle, or heap opprobrium on the person’s head, or jump in with various salacious theories about how their sins have brought this upon them, the best you can hope for is that the person who is struggling will simply never read what you wrote. If I never have the time to read or notice your contribution, that’s the best outcome. The worse outcomes all involve scandal, crushing of bruised reeds, and God one day asking you “What on earth were you thinking?”If you’re an atheist, and you see a person’s faltering faith as a great opportunity to jump in and ramp up the attack on religion because, you know, you think the side is winning…well, I can’t fault you for that. I mean, it’s human nature. You believe yourself to be in possession of a liberating kind of truth, and it’s normal to desire that others will be able to share in that. But if you’re not able to understand why doubt is a genuinely painful experience for someone who has had faith for a very long time then maybe it’s a good day to keep quiet. To lose one’s religion, or even to seriously contemplate the loss of it, is kind of about as much fun as going through a divorce proceeding. Even if you sincerely think that leaving will make my life better in a hundred thousand ways, now is kind of not the time to go on about it because what I’m feeling at the moment, basically, is grief.
Like I said, this all might come to nothing. I have a number of people that I’m talking things through with and I do have hope. But in the past I’ve generally been silent, waited until crises pass, and then written about them weeks, or months, or years later when everything is neatly wrapped up and ready to be safely presented as a fait accompli. This time I don’t think I can do it that way. I can’t just go away into my cave and sort this out on my own, and my blog community is an important part of my community so I figure I’d better just say what’s going on.
If you pray, pray for me. If you don’t, send positive vibes or something.
Love you all,
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