Back in March, I was having a thrilling conversation with Culture Monk and making him late for his next café visit. Our conversation touched on Catholicism, which I may have referred to as cult-like. I come from an intense Catholic family. After some thought, I’ve realized that it wasn’t Catholicism that made me feel trapped so much as the pressure my family put on me to be the perfect Catholic girl. While the religion still has it’s faults, it’s actually quite liberal when compared to other Christian religions.
For starters, Catholics believe evolution is compatible with creation. This is a belief I have held for a long time but I never thought of where I got it from. I don’t remember evolution ever being a big controversy when I was in Catholic school. What I do remember, however, is a homily where the priest explained there is no time in heaven. As such, a day to God could be a billion years to us.
What do Catholics believe? I thought I’d give you more than childhood memories and visit catholic.com for this one.
“Concerning biological evolution, the Church does not have an official position on whether various life forms developed over the course of time. However, it says that, if they did develop, then they did so under the impetus and guidance of God, and their ultimate creation must be ascribed to him.
Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul.”
A second interesting fact is something I learned from my uncle, who happens to be a Catholic priest. Somehow, we got on the topic of the Apocalypse and the book of Revelation. He told me Revelation isn’t about the end of our world, it’s about the end of the writer’s world. Specifically, it foretells the end of the Roman Empire. As such, you won’t find a Catholic ranting about how they’ve cracked the code of Revelation and know the date the world will end.
That isn’t to say Catholics don’t believe in the end of the world. They certainly do. Jesus will come again and raise the righteous to heaven. The key, though, is that we don’t know when this will happen. There is no way we can possibly know when the world will end, which is why many Catholic homilies focus on how one should always be ready.
Having dwelled upon these two Catholic beliefs for a few days, I find I have much more respect for the religion. While it’s certainly not perfect, at least it makes a point to try and accept proven scientific theories.
I know, even when it comes to things like homosexuality, they’re not completely crazy. Catholics accept that being gay isn’t a choice but they still believe two people of the same gender engaging in sexual relations is wrong. My Catholic friends have used the phrase ‘hate the sin, not the sinner’ to describe their stance on homosexuality. The belief is that those who are anything but straight have had different temptations placed before them which they are meant to resists and/or overcome.
You won’t catch me saying I agree with that outlook, but I give Catholicism points for accepting that some people aren’t straight.
There are a number of reasons why I am no longer Catholic and, oddly enough, none of them have to do with Catholic school or my family life. No, instead it has to do with my personal relationship with Divinity and my own spiritual growth. That’s a blog for another day, though.
What I really mean to point out here is that the extreme Christian views that often make big news stories are not shared among all of Christianity. All religions deserve a certain amount of respect, in my opinion. I really don’t have a problem so long as people don’t try to force their religion on to me.
What is your opinion of Catholicism? Did any of these beliefs surprise you? Why can religion be so damaging when taken to an extreme?