Friday, April 5, 2013

So, Something Happened in Class Today

No, not the incident where a girl said that Catholics used to pay for forgiveness in confession. I headdesked. Sometimes, headdesking is the only appropriate method of dealing with a situation. I hope she noticed.

No, I'm referring to the incident in geography (hoo, boy! We're covering the geography of religion at the moment and I have been doing my best to ignore it so I won't react). The dude sitting right next to me called Catholicism a cult.

Excuse me???

I am a Catholic. I bear no ill will against any member of any other religion on account of their religion. I do not consider Judaism, Hinduism (for goodness's sakes, in elementary school one of my best friends was a Hindu!!), any sort of Protestantism, etc. a cult. Why pick on me and my religion?

The dude only offered the fact that we have "ceremonies" as his reasoning. O.o I do not understand. Yes, we have traditions. We have singing and prayers and the Mass. Is it our sacraments you do not like? Our priests? Our Pope? What is it? The Orthodox churches and the Anglicans and Episcopalians also have ceremonies. Does that make them cults, too?

I simply do not understand this. It makes me sad. You cannot offer up your own subjective opinion as an objective fact. "The Catholic Church is considered a cult," is not a fact- it's in the passive voice, and he never even stated by whom it was considered as such, even when I asked.

Why pick on us?

We don't pick on you. I have never been to a Mass where the faiths of any other people were bashed. We're more focused on how to improve ourselves to bother insulting other faiths and their believers. As a matter of fact, we pray for everyone. The only times I have ever heard Protestantism or Judaism brought up in my church in almost twenty years now is when we do the prayers for everyone on Good Friday and on Holy Thursday where our priest was simply outlining a few of the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism (namely, we believe in the Real Presence, in the priesthood, and so forth, while they do not).

I have never heard a hellfire-and-brimstone sermon. I never see Catholics standing in the middle of campus, yelling at the students that they are all going to Hell and distributing literature with a similar message. I do not really see Catholic stating that the Earth is 6,000 years old and other odd things.

Do they just not like us for what happened in the past, hundreds of years ago? Is it simply on principle, because they believe we worship statues, Mary, the Pope, etc.? (Because we certainly do not!)

I just don't get it. You can say we're all going to hell in a handbasket, but don't say that we're a cult. We're not secret. We're a large, open group. You can walk into any church and attend a Mass whenever you like.

Come to a Mass sometime. We don't bite. You can sit in a back pew with everyone else and you don't have to put any money in the collection plate. You don't have to kneel. You don't have to say the responses. Just look around you with an open heart and a calm mind and see if you can find any hatred there.

I find no hatred in my faith or in my Church. I also find no despair. One of my teachers today said that Catholicism in the first few centuries was a religion of doom and gloom, preaching that the end is near.

I would like to disagree. I think my religion is very joyful and hopeful. I was almost in tears with joy on Easter Vigil Mass as the organ was in its most beautiful setting and we sang, "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today". It is very beautiful to look back and see everyone holding their candles in the dark, as if each flame represented a single, precious soul.

It is very beautiful to look up and see the Crucifix, because it proves how much God loves us- how much He suffered for us, just so that we might be with Him.

I do not understand why we are called a cult. It makes me sad. Will someone please explain this to me?

In Pace Christi,


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