I made the mistake the other day of commenting on how a person's religion should not be questioned based on their political views through a Facebook post. Their faithfulness and devotion should not be questioned because to me, that is a personal attack. I was given several lectures from people commenting, to basically sum it up, that I was not a real Catholic, I am surrounded by wolves in sheep's clothing, I obviously have something to atone for, and I, among others that I am close to are making a mockery of the Catholic religion due to my political views - a priest even chimed in with some comments. I stopped reading the comments because I could see where this was leading. I am still getting notifications that people are commenting, yet I am not checking them because they are only making me not want to claim myself as being a Catholic. If that is what being a true Catholic is about, I don't know if I want any part of it. I was raised by a Catholic school teacher who has dedicated more than 38 years to her students. I spent WAY more time than the average child and teenager surrounded by those who were positive role models and had hearts full of love and respect from others. If someone were to ask me what the best thing I got out of my Catholic school education, it would be that I was taught to love, care, support, and accept those around me. I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the true, actual meaning of being a Catholic was. Boy, was I wrong!
One of the topics that was brought up was the fact that the use of any contraceptives are a form of intrinsic evil. I wanted to learn more so I did my research. I found an article that laid out what is considered to be acceptable in the Catholic church and what isn't. Here is what I found. No form of contraception is acceptable because sex is supposed to be procreative. A husband and wife are still, however, able to have sex if there are infertility issues or lack of fertility due to old age. The pill can, however, be used if it is for health reasons, but the husband and wife are not to have any sort of physical relationship because this would be preventing the possibility of a woman becoming pregnant due to the use of the pill. This is the part that I read that really made me wonder about the religion I belong to. Because I am a widow, I am "allowed" to get married again (please keep in mind that this is not something that is happening). When I had Owie, I suffered from post partum heart failure. My cardiologist has told me that getting pregnant again is not an option because there is a rather significant possibility that it could kill me. Point taken. However, even if I got remarried and getting pregnant could kill me, no form of contraception is allowable - not even barrier methods - because that is an intrinsic evil. Natural Family Planning would be my only option and is not always completely reliable, especially for someone who has never had regular cycles. Therefore, I would have to risk getting pregnant in order to remain within the church's guidelines and follow through with the pregnancy because the life of the infant I am carrying is more important than mine. The conclusion would be for Owie to be left without a mother AND a father. Something that could be completely preventable, but yet the Catholic church doesn't see it that way. I have already started to see the effects on Owie due to Sam's passing. They are getting more and more prevalent as the days go by with him asking almost daily where his daddy is, when can he see him, when can he call him, etc. It is heart wrenching. Beyond heart wrenching. Imagine your worst pain and multiply that.
Where does this leave me? Doubting my religion and doubting the love that Jesus has for me and for others. Why would the Catholic church want to see children left motherless? What kind of God would want a child to be left an orphan because the use of an intrinsic evil is not allowed? How would I ever be able to have that conversation with a possible spouse - Sorry, we cannot have a physical relationship because I might die if I get pregnant and the Catholic church says that I cannot use condoms. Why do I want to be a part of a religion that seems to be so judgmental? Is it that those who are making me feel badly have never been in this predicament? Surely not or they would have some compassion.
I always thought I was a good Catholic until now. I never realized how in the eyes of the church, I am simply a wolf. When I see homeless people, I go to the drive thru and buy them a meal. I give them restaurant leftovers provided that I have not already started to eat them. When I have leftover fruit and granola bars or other snacks in my lunch bag, I give them to those who need it. Sam had a love for animals and St. Francis so donating money and collecting items for animal shelters brings me great joy knowing that I am carrying out the wishes of Sam and the teachings of St. Francis. Am I a sinner, though? Absolutely. We all are. But I did not realize that my sins were enough to put me in a category of making a mockery out of the Catholic church.
I am not going to say that my faith was not shaken when my love gained his angel wings, however, I never once doubted the love that God has for me......until now. My life is not as important in the eyes of the Catholic church and this makes me sad and want to pull away from my beliefs. I have love and respect for my fellow creatures of the earth: no matter your race, religion, sexuality, financial status, education.....whatever! We all share this earth and deserve respect. I don't care what goes on in other people's bedrooms as long as they are in a loving, consensual relationship. Why should they care so much about what is going on in mine? Apparently, because I don't speak out against what the Catholic church considers to be "intrinsic evils", I am just as guilty in their eyes as performing these "intrinsic evils".
There is too much love in my heart for judgment. If pointing out the flaws and sins of others is what being a Catholic is all about, then I can't justify being a sheep. In an attempt to shame me and lecture me, my eyes have been opened. My heart is hurting.