June 21, 2004 at 3:24 am #849
Hi! Thanks for having me!
I’m a mid-40ish nurse (work full-time), mom, wife, etc. I have 4 kids, ranging in age from almost 21 to 8 years old. My husband is currently attending college full time at the same university our oldest son is attending.
I left the Church about 20 years ago. I was raised Catholic, even graduated from a Catholic university (Marquette). Got disillusioned with the faith, especially the way I’ve seen women treated (no say in Church affairs, dominated by a patriarchy…have to be content to make brownies for “Father” and belong to the Altar and Rosary Society, etc.) I’ve had some REAL bad experiences with clergy, and so started church-shopping, and came full-circle, I guess.
I wanted to rejoin the faith of my childhood. I want to make a difference in the lives of others. I’m trying not to be a “cafeteria Catholic”, but I also don’t believe in unquestioningly following orders. (I think that was the “Nazi defense”, no?)
I have been active with the local chapter of Catholic Charities for the past 5 years. Thus began my slow, tentative return to the Church.
But once again, I’ve been betrayed by the one clergy member, a priest I thought I could trust…the guy who was helping me return to the faith. I was SO careful. I had known this priest for a couple of years before I agreed to study with him towards my return to the Church. Due to some [i:6o4kjr6d]huge[/i:6o4kjr6d] issues on his part, I lost my faith community, my spiritual director, my pastor and my friend (at least I thought he was my friend) all at once. He actually wrote me a letter, on church letterhead, asking for me to have no further contact with him in any way.
He refused to discuss his issues with me. His betrayal occurred over the course of a day. He went from being sweet and kind, to talking to me through his teeth, not returning phone calls, and refusing to discuss what was wrong. I had to find out through a friend, several months later, what happened…and even he admitted it was his fault.
So, here I am, on my own again. My husband (who is not Catholic) is encouraging me not to try to be a part of a church whose hierarchy abuses people in so many ways, and has abused me so badly. But, inexplicably, and especially during prayer, I feel drawn to the Church of my childhood.
I’m tired of fighting to belong to the Church in which I was raised. I don’t know whether I belong or even [i:6o4kjr6d]where[/i:6o4kjr6d] I belong, or if there even [i:6o4kjr6d]is[/i:6o4kjr6d] a church home for me.
God bless. Thank you for letting me share.June 21, 2004 at 5:24 am #2976
[quote:3pq9l3ss]I left the Church about 20 years ago. I was raised Catholic, even graduated from a Catholic university (Marquette). Got disillusioned with the faith, especially the way I’ve seen women treated (no say in Church affairs, dominated by a patriarchy…have to be content to make brownies for “Father” and belong to the Altar and Rosary Society, etc.) I’ve had some REAL bad experiences with clergy, and so started church-shopping, and came full-circle, I guess.
I wanted to rejoin the faith of my childhood. I want to make a difference in the lives of others. I’m trying not to be a “cafeteria Catholic”, but I also don’t believe in unquestioningly following orders. (I think that was the “Nazi defense”, no?) [/quote:3pq9l3ss]
Well, you know, [i:3pq9l3ss]a lot[/i:3pq9l3ss] has changed in the last 20 years. ” title=”Wink” />
There is much more lay involvement and women have an active voice in shaping their church. Perhaps in more rural areas the parish revolves around the priest, but that has not been my experience as of late. It’s really about Jesus and the people – we meet God in church.
I’m wondering if you could tell me more about the Rosary Society – I’ve never heard of it.
The dynamics of parishes are changing and I really hope that you get a chance to have better experiences. I know this is coming from a male so you may not be as receptive to it or perhaps you think that because I am a male I cannot identify with you quite the same – which probably has some truth to it.
If you ask me, these days it’s women who run the parishes anyway considering most of any given parish staff is female (in my experience). I’ve been to several churches where the whole religious education team was female, the secretary, nurse, youth minister, liturgist, etc. There might have been a couple other guys and the pastor – that’s it for male representation. ” title=”Smile” />June 21, 2004 at 6:48 am #2979
Hi, Jon…and thanks for your prompt reply! ” title=”Smile” />
The Altar and Rosary Society, as far as my experience goes, is made up of women who clean the church, set up for events like weddings and holidays, make luncheons after funerals, and (sometimes) say a Rosary for a pressing intention.
That’s exactly what I mean about women’s roles in the Church…yes, church secretaries, CCD teachers, etc. are often women. Yet the Church hierarchy is entirely composed of men. The men have ALL the authority. Women are relegated to doing things the men don’t want or need to do, like baking brownies for “Father”. Sheesh. :rolleyes:
There are some really bright women in the Church…Sr. Joan Chittister comes to mind. Yet the Archbishop of Atlanta can decide that women are not welcome to have their feet washed at the yearly ceremony on Holy Thursday, and that’s okay. ” title=”Sad” />
My priest friend did not choose to discuss with me his issues with our friendship, to my great dismay. And I was told by his deacon that “whatever he needed to do was right, because he IS the pastor, and it is HIS decision what is appropriate.” I was given NO opportunity to voice an opinion, because I’m not a man?!? In the business world, I am an equal with my peers. Gender isn’t an issue. Yet in the religious world, I am only equal to other women.
I just don’t get it.June 21, 2004 at 3:56 pm #2982
Wow. I can’t believe that a bishop would bar women from having their feet washed. I have never heard of that before!
What you say about the hierarchy being mostly men is true, we have priests, deacons, bishops, archbishops and the pope. They might occupy those positions, but they are given those positions in hope that they will act in love and for the best of the rest of the people of the Church. All humans make mistakes, that does not mean that those mistakes are ok by any means, but I just wanted to assure you that there are good Church leaders out there and it sounds like you unfortunately were not able to meet many of them.
As a woman in the Church, I can see how people would feel this way, but in my experience, I have felt that I am needed in the church and for the most part considered an equal to most men in the church. Actually, at times, I have felt I had more power as a woman in the church, than I do/did in the secular world. However, everyone’s experience is unique and have experience only in one small part of the US. I realize I can’t speak for other parts of the world. That is why I was shocked that the bishop of Atlanta barring woman from having their feet washed on Holy Thursday.June 21, 2004 at 4:09 pm #2983
[quote:34kh5pvm]That’s exactly what I mean about women’s roles in the Church…yes, church secretaries, CCD teachers, etc. are often women. Yet the Church hierarchy is entirely composed of men. The men have ALL the authority. Women are relegated to doing things the men don’t want or need to do, like baking brownies for “Father”. Sheesh. :rolleyes: [/quote:34kh5pvm]
Oh, well, I guess I see those as very important positions within the Church. I wasn’t talking about just CCD teachers, but rather Religious Education coordinators – the people [b:34kh5pvm]in charge[/b:34kh5pvm]. They are the ones that set the curriculum. I mean, that’s important stuff because it is directing youth in their most formative part of their lives. ” title=”Smile” /> I know plenty of men in those positions as well so I don’t think it is a matter of men not wanting or needing to do it. Each person has their own individual interests and it just happens that more women are interested in certain things than men. Or perhaps there are more women that are just plain better at it. And to be honest with you Religious Education coordinators and Faith Formation Directors often get paid more than the pastor. ” title=”Wink” />
There are many lay positions that are highly authoritative. Just because women aren’t official clergy does not mean their role is diminished or they are less valued. I guess it all depends on how you look at authority within the Church. Personally, I feel the clergy do not have all the authority, but it is also in the hands of the lay people in some of the ways I have already mentioned.
Just my observation. ” title=”Smile” />
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