In a morning revelation I had upon waking, it occurred to me that Catholicism was given to me like a suit of armor. It was to protect me as a young soldier of Christ in my fight against worldly evils. I was to wear it proudly, as it would proclaim my faith in God and the Church.
Eventually, though, the armor began to tarnish and show its chinks. We were told that it would protect us from all evil, but everyday evils, such as bullying, still pierced the armor to hurt us. And the solid beliefs around which the armor was forged began to crumble. Ask specific questions and the only answers were, “It’s not in the Bible, it’s part of Church tradition” (which means men made it up) and the all-encompassing, “You just have to have faith.” And I no longer did.
At some point I removed the armor. And while it has often been said that, “Once a Catholic, always a Catholic,” I found that concept not necessarily true. The lessons and the prayers and the words were planted deep and are still there, but (to mix my metaphors) they are roots that lie beneath the surface unconnected to any plant that grows above the ground, deriving no sustenance either from soil or sun.
Or perhaps, to continue my first metaphor, the armor lies under the ground and continues to rust and weaken, and even if excavated, would offer no protection.
Someone recently exhorted me to listen to some audio files of a Catholic priest’s sermons. As a loyal friend, I tried. But minutes in, I found donning the old Catholic armor would not work. It did not fit. It was not exactly uncomfortable, but rather it felt alien. It didn’t belong on my frame. It was no longer part of my being.
On very rare occasions, I feel a tug to visit a church, maybe for a random Midnight Christmas Mass, maybe to find a larger community. But the rust of that lost armor immediately rasps against my skin and, wondering what prompted that tug, I shake my head and shrug it away.
2 thoughts on “The Armor of Catholicism”
I’ve been needing to confess going on 23 years. Raised Catholic, then went to christian church in my teens which wasn’t a great mix. Kind of like oil and water. Being a catholic tejano was somehow more comforting that the “whitewashed” and sterile form of Texan Christianity. These days I listen to Christian church live via youtube. Call me cliche but I’m more of a buddhist or PolyTheist.
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If someone loves a lot of gods, would that make them a polyamorous polytheist?