Ask the Anarchist Reverend is a weekly feature here on the site. If you have a question you’d like to ask, you can send me an email (anarchistreverend at gmail), find me on twitter, or submit your question using formspring.
Today’s question: Why be Catholic?
This is an interesting question for me to answer. I have been struck recently by how much separation there seems to be between people who say they are Christian and people who say they are Catholic. I don’t feel this separation in myself. For me, Catholicism is the outward tradition that most resonates with my faith.
I have long been drawn to Catholic tradition: the mystery of it, the ritual, the solemnity. I have been drawn to Catholic thinkers: Daniel and Philip Berrigan, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton. It’s the first tradition I have found that both honors and encourages both contemplation and activism.
For years, though, I thought Catholicism wasn’t for me. I was born and raised an adamant Protestant. People in my community taught that Catholics weren’t Christians. When I realized that the information I had been given was false, there were still other barriers. I felt called to the ministry, but there was no way I could be ordained in the Catholic church. I didn’t agree with church hierarchy, the Roman church’s views on women, queer people, etc. etc. etc.
Then I was introduced to the Old Catholics. Catholic in tradition but progressive in thinking. Here is a church that fuses together all of the things I find meaningful. Here is a church that wants to ordain me, as I am. Here is a church that I feel is doing exciting things in the world, things I want to be a part of. This is a church I feel I can be useful in. I feel my gifts will be used even as I am challenged to learn and grow.
Catholicism is the form of Christianity that works for me. But above anything else, I am a Christian first. My allegiance is to God and Christ above all. I find that I feel Catholic expression of my faith makes the most sense to me.
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