Home > Religion > Catholicism Isn’t Evil (to Me Anymore)

Catholicism Isn’t Evil (to Me Anymore)

My friend’s father died on Friday, prompting a whirlwind weekend of funeral services and grieving during the Memorial Day weekend. The family is Catholic and my friend’s father partook of his last sacraments before he became too incapacitated.

I sat through two mini-Catholic services, the first a brief eulogy for my friend’s father who we’ll refer to as Mr. W, and the second a shortened version of a Mass with an emphasis on praying for Mr. W’s soul.

Had this happened 10 or even 5 years ago, I would have been indignant at the Catholic church, ranting and raving at all the things they do wrong as indoctrinated by my years of Christian Baptist fundamentalism. I would have rolled my eyes at the pointless sign of the cross and the dumb responses to the priest after a statement. My heart would have been angry at the Whore of Babylon for leading people astray and I would have not been able to grieve the loss of a dear father and husband who was beloved by many.

But no, this weekend, my heart was quiet before the Lord in reverence to my friend, her family, and the passing of her father. I actually rather enjoyed the first Catholic eulogy and Father T who performed it did an excellent job. I thought to myself, Wow. What a difference a decade makes. I don’t hate Catholicism anymore.

I had no opposition to performing the sign of the cross to open and close the service. (Scripture doesn’t expressly forbid such actions so I no longer take issue with it.) I was surprised at how easily the congregational responses came back to me after years of not attending a Mass or Catholic school. Glimmers of lyrics from many of the spiritual songs shimmered in my mind from my childhood as we sang. We recited the “Our Father” without that ending that I’ve become accustomed to since leaving Catholicism (“For Thine is the kingdom…”). The Catholic Church has changed slightly but not too much. (They’ll be changing the congregational response from “also with you” to “with your spirit.” Ghastly! /sarcasm)

At the second service, I realized while I’m no longer angry or opposed to the Catholic Church, it will never be the church for me again. I do not agree with praying for the souls of the dead as I can’t find Biblical justification for it. I can’t in good Biblical conscience recite the “Hail Mary” any longer. However, instead of ranting and raving against the Catholic Church for unbiblical practices (as I would have in the past), I took the time to still my heart before God and prayed for the family grieving the loss of Mr. W. I prayed for the light of the gospel to shine in their lives, hoping that even through the Catholic Church, they could find salvation and trust in Jesus Christ.

The father at the second service encouraged everyone present to pray for Mr. W’s soul every time they thought of him or his family. I will not begrudge my friend and her mother their novena, but I will continue to lift them up in prayer to the glory of God the Father.

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  1. CHRIS
    May 31, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    I’m sure it was a difficult weekend for your friend and her family – what a great friend you are to be there for her. God bless you!

  2. Ren
    May 31, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    Because my dad was/has been very anti-Catholic most of my life, I carried around a lot of the same thoughts and responses you did. My change of perspective began because I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Debra Young as my World Drama instructor. As we studied Everyman, she raised some very thought provoking points about what Catholic doctrine actually taught and what the rite of Extreme Unction entailed. Of course, being at PCC, she could only go so far, but she concluded with the idea that she figured a lot of people were going to be surprised at who was in heaven when they got there. It started me thinking. It took a long time, but last spring break, while I was in Austin, I participated in (excepting the sacrament) a Holy Week service at a historic Catholic church. It was incredible to feel the freedom to do so. Freeing to realize that I didn’t have to agree with everything to participate in this beautiful corporate worship. There is so much actual truth there that fundamentalists refuse to see because they’re so often busy proclaiming the traditions that aren’t found in the Bible. Funny, because fundamentalism is full of extra-biblical traditions, itself–ones that seem a great deal more harmful in daily life, as well.

    It’s nice to read that you were able to grieve corporately with your friends because you’ve left those things behind. It’s a good place to be.

  3. Kassi
    June 14, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    “Freeing to realize that I didn’t have to agree with everything to participate in this beautiful corporate worship. There is so much actual truth there that fundamentalists refuse to see because they’re so often busy proclaiming the traditions that aren’t found in the Bible. Funny, because fundamentalism is full of extra-biblical traditions, itself–ones that seem a great deal more harmful in daily life, as well. ”

    I meant to respond to your comment, Ren, and yes, fundamentalism is just as bad, if not in some ways, worse.

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