This afternoon, I received an email from a dear friend and former colleague challenging me on some of my recent blog and Facebook posts. After prayerfully reading and re-reading her email and looking closely into the mirror, I feel it may be helpful to my readers if I set the record straight!
It was pointed out by my friend that some might construe some of my blog and FB posts as being anti-Catholic. To set the record straight…..if I appear frustrated, impatient, even a little angry at the Institution of the Catholic Church….it is only because I love it so dang much. And sometimes, I wish I didn’t, but I find I can’t help it. I LOVE my Catholic faith. I LOVE the Catholic Church. Yes, there are certain teaching I cannot personally embrace, and there are certain practices that cause me great internal tension but this is small potatoes compared to what I LOVE about my Catholic faith. To just capture a glimpse: saints, Mary, novenas, rosaries, votive candles, incense, art and architecture, music, church pews, kneelers, The Sacraments, Stations of the Cross, ritual, ritual and more ritual, mystery and magic, gothic cathedrals, reverence for God, the mass, the rich spiritual traditions and practices of the pre-reformation Christian church. LOVE LOVE LOVE all of it. Then throw in a few Friday fish fries and Irish toasts and Lauri is a happy girl. I know it sounds childish and romantic, but I LOVE my Catholic faith and no matter how many have advised me, “Why don’t you just find another church to worship in?” or “You know you could be ordained in another denomination.” I find I cannot leave the Catholic Church behind no matter how hard I try or how much that might make logical sense. Sorry….it is in my bones and in my blood and I guess I’m here to stay (no matter how much they try to force me out.)
Admitting Personal Anger
Now, here is where my friend absolutely got my number! Yes. I am angry at the Catholic Church…..and for some very personal, and in my opinion, good reasons. Without going into the gory details….suffice it to say it has to do with the ministry of Hands on Healing, Contemplative Prayer and Inter-faith exploration and dialogue. I have worked very hard to forgive the individuals and the Institional representatives (yes….including the USCCB) who caused my heart to break when it was made clear that the path God had called me to would not be supported or allowed within the Institution in which I had hoped to live out my ministerial call. Admittedly, the unhealed portions of those wounds might come out sideways from time to time. If it were my choice, I would still be working in the Institution, sharing Reiki, Contemplative Prayer and Inter-faith exploration, practices and dialogue. But alas, that is no longer possible, so I share it outside the Institution as a complement to what the Institution currently has to offer. While I could have set those practices aside in obedience to the Institution, it is ultimately to God that I owe my obedience, and I’m sure not going to say “no” to God!
Mirror, mirror on the wall….who’s the most judgmental of them all? YEP….ME! I own it. God gave me the gift/curse of “the reformer/perfectionist” and it shows itself most blatantly in my relationship to the Catholic Church. I can see all the ways that the Institution could be a better place – more welcoming, more nurturing, more nourishing. I see all the places where people are not being fed or worse, are being rejected, disenfranchised, told they are evil or damned and IT BREAKS MY HEART. People just want to know they are loved…..and isn’t that what Jesus taught us – that we are loved….without condition? When I hear all the stories of people being told or taught otherwise (whether by the Catholic Church or by any other denomination), yes, I might get a little angry, self-righteous, defiant and critical. Not sure what I can do about that. I know I’m not Jesus or anything….but he got angry too sometimes….didn’t he (I seem to remember a story about moneychangers and tables)? I’m tempted to apologize for getting angry in the face of injustice….but that wouldn’t be very honest. So, I guess I just have to be content in knowing that the Catholic Church…as much as I love it might really tick me off sometimes…..and that is ok. The good thing is that I can feel anger (and I might even be so bold as to point it out!) toward something I love and still love it.
And for the record…….anything that I am currently called to do or might be called to do in the future would only be a complement to what Insitutional religion (including the Catholic Church) is already doing….. (and I’ll save the rest of that discussion for another day.)
Authentic Freedom Ministries