08 July 2005

Hypocrite in a red plaid skirt (& combat boots)

Those out there who know me know that I am obsessed with Belief-o-Matic. I mean, really, I'm the quintessential Catholic schoolgirl...right? Okay, I guess I did graduate from a public school. But I'm from Chicago. I'm Irish. My name is Mary Catherine. But then how come I have so many disagreements with the Catholic church? Why are my social and political views the polar opposite from Catholicism on so many issues?

My folks always told me that there are many liberal Catholics out there; i.e. lots of us don't subscribe to all of those views. For me, being Catholic is more cultural than anything else. But how do I explain this to my daughter? As our society becomes more and more conservative, I imagine that we will feel even more out of place.

Am I really (*gasp*) a Protestant? Is it time for me to come out of the closet?

My Belief-o-Matic results:

1. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (98%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (94%)
4. Orthodox Quaker (81%)
5. Neo-Pagan (75%)
6. New Age (70%)
7. Reform Judaism (69%)
8. Secular Humanism (69%)
9. Seventh Day Adventist (58%)
10. Bahá'í Faith (57%)
11. Sikhism (57%)
12. Eastern Orthodox (56%)
13. Roman Catholic (56%)
14. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (56%)
15. Theravada Buddhism (55%)
16. Mahayana Buddhism (52%)
17. Hinduism (51%)
18. Taoism (48%)
19. Orthodox Judaism (46%)
20. Scientology (45%)
21. New Thought (44%)
22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (40%)
23. Nontheist (40%)
24. Jainism (38%)
25. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (36%)
26. Islam (34%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (28%)

What's a renegade Catholic girl to do?


P. J. said...

Hey B., if you're thinking "what am I?" based on how you were brought up as a child vs. how you've changed via academia and experience, then adhering to one definition of what a Catholic (or anything else) is, will just be frustrating. I had twelve years of Catholic school but according to my Belief-o-Matic, I'm only 17% Catholic--far lower than yours. It says I'm mostly Buddhist, and that's fine with me because you know I love that stuff, but I could never be Buddhist because I'm too much in love with desire.

I think of religion like poetry: Sure there are rules you can adhere to with certain forms (sonnets should be iambic, etc) but if everyone wrote sonnets, or if Walt Whitman hadn't come along, or if Sharona had never asked you to write a villanelle, then where would that leave you? You can still love sonnets, but dabbling in bref doubles or triversens is nice too.

It's like that Adrienne Rich quote: You have to write a sonnet before you can write free verse; the "rules" are only a groundwork but eventually you learn how to bend them...but even free verse has rules. So is it better to be a poet, or a sonneteer?

Penultimatina said...

"I could never be Buddhist because I'm too much in love with desire."

That will be the quote du jour!

Last time I was dabbling in bref doubles or triversens I ended up passed out in an elevator with a photocopy of Das Unheimlich and a teakettle and my hair mysteriously dyed greenish black.

All goofing aside, you make excellent points, dear Shu! We must have a deep theological chat soon over multiple bottles of cabernet and sinfully rich cuisine...oh wait...would that be gluttony?

:phil: said...

I consider myself a 'recovering catholic'

P. J. said...

That's weird, B., 'cause the last time I dabbled in Liberal Quakerism, I ended up hogtied in a ditch with my toenails painted red and a midget-dwarf telling me I owed her ten bucks!

Suzanne said...

You two are funny. I would pay to see this act on the road. ;-)

The last time I took a quiz like that I turned up as a Liberal Quaker or was it Liberal Protestant? I'm just relieved that I'm not a Scientologist.

We're officially Catholic, and I'm sure it's confusing for my oldest son. He goes to Catholic school and I'm always umm, er, correcting what he learns there--you know, I teach him about tolerance or say that we're voting democrat, but have to clinch the conversation with, but don't tell them at school. Twisted? Yes, but at least it gives us an opportunity to talk about that stuff. *lol*

Penultimatina said...

Hi there :phil:! Hope the recovery is going well! :)

Suzanne, I totally know what you mean. Growing up we usually belonged to pretty progressive Catholic parishes (often the Newman Center if there was a university around), and given my family's voting habits I was astonished to learn that some Catholics were conservative. *lol* If Gabi goes to Catholic school I'm hoping it's a diverse one, culturally, economically...and with plenty of other crunchy lefty families to even things out. But either way I will probably have a bit of explaining to do, it seems.

P. J. said...

Waitaminnit...so a "Newman Center" is an actual thing? There's one here in my sleepy podunk burgh...I just thought it was an anomalous name for a church. Hmm.

Did I ever tell you how, when kids at Catholic school asked me what my dad's religion was, I'd answer "Public" because I thought religion was based on what kind of school you went to?

I've had this convo in my head all day, so by the time we get to that cabernet (and by "that cabernet" I mean "those many bottles of..."), you're gonna get a headful of metaphors relating this whole entry to "being Italian without knowing how to speak Italian and prefering Guinness over chianti" all the way down to "...and in the 12th century the Stercoranists were persecuted as heretics..." and back up again to Joseph Campbell on PBS.

Thanks, Belief-O-Matic!

Byf said...

I know what you mean about being culturally Catholic. It's as much a part of me as growing up on a farm or being gay. I can't just reject it because I don't agree with it. I went to what I considered a pretty liberal parish: a hippie priest with a guitar, etc. But then after many years I went back to my church for my mother's funeral and there was a monument to unborn children outside.

When it comes down to it, one's church is supposed to be a source of comfort and community. If your parish gives you that, no matter what the denomination, so be it. It doesn't have to mean you or your daughter pledge allegiance to the Vatican.

Penultimatina said...

Well said, Byf. :) Why can't I remember what church you guys went to? Not Saint Brigid, or was it?

It doesn't have to mean you or your daughter pledge allegiance to the Vatican.

I'm not sure what Benedict XVI would think about her future career as a hairstyling shepherdess, but by the time Gabi is of job-seeking age we will have the liberal Latin American pope that I have been pining for, hopefully.

Byf said...

I think you may be pining for some time.

We went to St. Agnes in the hamlet of Freeland. Its statue of the Lamb of God floated away in the Flood of '86.

Penultimatina said...

Oh yes! St. Agnes! That's right.

Totally unrelated, but remember when we saw that elephant in the park by the tridge? Now that was a religious experience.

Frank said...

No surprise, Mer. I'm also 100% Liberal Protestant and pretty low on the Roman Catholic side.

But when it comes to the religion taught in church and the religious life of a family, differences can happily exist. You're proof of it, having been raised, as you wrote, Catholic, but ending up with a different set of beliefs. So parents don't necessarily need to worry about their kids getting the wrong idea.

One thing though. Being involved in a church, financially, physically, and emotionally, is difficult in the face of incongruent beliefs. It's easy to be a Catholic who disagrees with the doctrine if you never go to church. But when parents want to expose their kids to religion, the involvement increases and they aren't able to look the other way so much.

Or one could think of it like politics. I don't agree with the Dems on EVERYTHING, but damned if I haven't always voted for 'em.

Melissa said...

I've been spending a lot of time on Belief-o-matic myself lately. :) You know I'm looking for a new church, but I don't think I mentioned I'm thinking about leaving the Lutheran church. It's a hard decision for me, since I feel so safe there. But feeling safe isn't doing anyting for my spiritual growth. We found a church recently that I love and hate! Love because one of their core beliefs is that community and relationships on earth are as important as those with God. Hate because they take the Bible to be the absolute literal truth- last Sunday they wouldn't stop talking about Adam and Eve as if they were real people, and it's hard for me to keep my eyes from rolling. LOL

Hope we can both find what we're looking for!

Penultimatina said...

Love because one of their core beliefs is that community and relationships on earth are as important as those with God. Hate because they take the Bible to be the absolute literal truth

MELISSA! Welcome! I totally understand your dilemma above. It's nice knowing that I'm not going on this "journey" alone (both the moving and the religion seeking). Good luck to us both--I think our motivations are really similar.

Charles said...

Nice to meet you. I've always tested as a Liberal Quaker! :)

Penultimatina said...

Hi Charles! I love your blog. Welcome, you fine liberal Quaker tester. :)

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