Tonight was the first night of B and A’s Religious Ed class. It should be a big year for them. They make their First Communion and First Reconciliation this year. These are both important sacraments and rather difficult to explain to a 7 year old. I know because I tried to earlier this week.
They started attending Religious Education classes when they were in Kindergarten. So, they’re going on their 3rd year. This still seems so odd to me. I attended Catholic school from preschool through eighth grade. The CCD kids, as we referred to them, were the ones who came in and messed with our desks and wrote nasty words on the tops over the weekend. Now, these are my children. Hopefully, not including the nasty word writing.
For a brief second prior to Kindergarten, I looked into enrolling them at the Catholic elementary school in our town. I went in for orientation and it seemed so familiar to me-a comfort even. There were the plaid skirts, the large statue of Mary, the worn out classrooms and building. All that seemed to be missing were the nuns. Where have they all gone anyway? However, the public school curriculum won out over the Catholic school’s curriculum in the end. I felt a little uneasy though at the thought of my children being “publicans” as we used to call them. It just didn’t feel like home to me. It felt like something was missing. But, on we went.
Now, we’re at a turning point in their faith. The first step in accepting Catholicism, as that faith and I feel torn. You see, these days, my faith is at best lacking. Not necessarily my faith in God, but my faith in the Catholic Church as an institution.
Since all of the (how can we completely understate this…) missteps that have been made and have been all over the news the past few years, I feel entirely disgusted and appalled at the church that I’ve grown up in. As a parishioner, I question the very foundation of this church. How can you have leaders, priests, do those types of things to innocent children? How can you cover that up and believe that you are right in doing so? How can you do so little to compensate these people or the millions of other parishioners that you have hurt? Their faith now shaken in you, an institution that is supposed to guide and lead. A faith based on love, trust and understanding. It just feels wrong. And I can’t get over it.
As a mother, I really can’t move beyond it. I can’t do the very thing that I learned to do in church. I can’t forgive them. So, I am torn. These sacraments. These religious milestones. They are important to me. They mean something. They symbolize my childhood in many ways. They are like going home to me. I want B and A to make their First Communion. But, my faith is shaken. I’m not sure I want them to be Catholics. I’m not sure I want to be Catholic. For now, we’ll continue to go forward. We’ll continue to test our faith. And, hopefully, we’ll all come out stronger for it.