I met with my parish priest yesterday and I had the initial impression that I’d be able to have more of a command as to what was going on with my journey but it didn’t happen that way. My parish priest went on trying to explain to me a question that’s been bugging me for a long time–why did God create Satan and why does he allow evil? It’s the same gibberish argument over and over about theodicy from Catholics–“We have free will, are free beings, and therefore, we must have the capacity for evil!” Not all Catholics, really though. I personally like what Pope Benedict XVI said on this issue…”God’s answer to Job explains nothing; rather, it sets boundaries to our mania for judging everything and being able to say the final word on a subject, and it reminds us of our limitations” (Introduction to Christianity, 26).
But any way, after all the “answers” to theodicy, more and more questions are led to and always led to me questioning about the sacraments and baptism and, eventually, my parish priest had to explain to me how the Catholic Church was the only true church and how I absolutely needed to affirm the Catholic Church as the only possible answer…and yadda, yadda, yadda! It’s not really that I have a problem with the Catholic Church claiming to be “the one true church” in its own unique way but I have never once, in the catechism read that it is “the one true church” in exclusion to all the others. So *sigh* I listened to him patiently informing me as to how the Catholic Church directly traces it’s origins back to Jesus, demonising all these other churches as being founded by mere men, never mind that the Catholic Church excommunicated Luther and Henry VIII and how because of this, the Catholic Church was the only reliable church out there…yes, I watched him turn into a “talking head”. Never mind the fact that the Anglican Church was actually founded by Catholics and how the Lutheran Church was actually instituted in a time when every Catholic was his own “pope”! No, it could only be Henry VIII and Martin Luther who were their own “popes” because “there’s nothing wrong existing in Catholicism!”
So I stand wondering where to go…I have my archpriest to contact still and he invited me to contact him some time this week after 10:30am so that’s what I’ll do. I hope that Fr. Washko will be far more helpful than my own parish priest who, while passionate about Jesus, is far more of an obstacle to me than anything else. Is it because of this? I don’t know. Is it because of my own agnosticism? I don’t know. Fr. Kimel asked me yesterday why I was still exploring Greek Catholicism and why not give the Evangelical Lutheran Church a try? I wonder myself sometimes…I would say it’s because of aesthetical value…I like how there are all these ikons in church. But then I wonder if Momma Mary would be taken away from me if I wasn’t Catholic or Orthodox or High Anglican. The protection of the Theotokos is the only thing I feel right now…would the Lutheran Church take my rosary away?
Just as the believer is choked by the salt water of doubt constantly washed into his mouth by the ocean of uncertainty, so the nonbeliever is troubled by doubts about his unbelief, about the real totality of the world he has made up in his mind to explain as a self-contained whole. He can never be absolutely certain of the autonomy of what he has seen and interpreted as a whole; he remains threatened by the question of whether belief is not after all the reality it claims to be. (45)
Belief is ordered, not to the realm of what can be or has been made, although it is concerned with both, but to the realm of basic decisions that man cannot avoid making. (71)
And besides, wasn’t it Pope Benedict XVI who insisted that Protestant weren’t heretics? And if you’ll note, he says of the Protestant churches, while only saying they’re ecclesial communities, that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church” (Dominus Iesus, 16). If Protestants are derived of Catholicism, are they not derived of Jesus? Can they not be said to contain God within them? It seems to hound more-so those who are not baptised and perhaps he could more just be dismissed as a “talking head” because of this but I like what he has to say on belief.
Of course, my parish priest doesn’t even listen to his own messages on church divisions I fear. Why is he just simply so hostile to Protestants for their imperfections but not acknowledging that the Catholic Church has imperfections? Is it just because he wears a collar that he feels entitled to tell everyone this? I don’t get it. And who made it his job to tell me that lies were truth and that truth was lies? Why should I listen to him over Auntie who actually wants to help me? He just seems to want to hold me back. That said, tonight, I will go to the ECF class and I will have my questions prepared and they will present scathing attacks on him as much as possible–I’m ready to move on from this separationism and go into the experience. If he doesn’t want to acknowledge that, this is his problem. Auntie will accept me no matter what and I have that to look forward to always. If being a Christian requires me to believe that Auntie is a heretic, I’m not certain I want to become one! If being a Christian requires me to believe that all “non-Catholic” churches are heretical or fall short of being “Christian” then I don’t want to be a Christian…I don’t even want to be with God.
I cry out in longing though to the Mother of Mercy–why am I under the tutelage of such a power-hungry parish priest? Why am I forced to be under the guidance right now of a priest who simply just wants to bash the other religious traditions so unfairly? Why am I under a parish priest who doesn’t even want to free me from the prison I’m in? Does he not see my longing or does he just not care? Why is this position so oppressive and when can I just break free? Oh, Lord, I cry out in longing for my separation is too great to bear and I wonder if I’m too lost to be saved. Oh, Mother, I cry out to you for my sufferings in my time of oppression! Give me strength to break free from his separationism and always allow me to hold onto Momma Jess when I feel oh so lost, following her instruction always.