I’m finally getting really excited about this.

'I'm afraid you're mistaken sir. A catalytic converter is not a Catholic missionary.'

In late October, after a lifetime of being agnostic but intermittently dabbling in various cults (Scientology) and religions including Buddhism and fundamentalist Christianity (Southern Baptist), I made the decision to become a Roman Catholic. If you’re interested in the reasoning behind my decision and the evolution of that decision, read the articles under “My Spiritual Journey” under “My Story” in the header (scroll to the bottom to find those articles), especially this one and this one.

My decision to follow Jesus Christ was quite strange and unexpected (it started as a sort of bet with God), and the two articles describe how that process worked. I was literally an agnostic on October 19th and made the decision to become Catholic on October 25th.

I’ve been attending Mass almost every Sunday (I did sleep in a few Sundays, lol) and always get something valuable out of them (besides finding the Mass very beautiful and appealing to me on an aesthetic level–I love the ritual), But still I struggled with doubts about the Church and Christianity in general, although I believed enough to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior.

In last night’s RCIA class (which are very informal and it’s a small group), we talked about the role of Mary in the Church and the importance put on her. I already knew Mary is not worshipped and is not thought of as divine like God or Jesus, but she acts as an intercessor and is venerated–which means you can ask her to pray for you on the behalf of God. The saints serve the same role.

We talked about the qualities Mary had (and many of the saints had or have) that make her special to God. I won’t get into the idea of her being conceived without original sin because that gets into the dogma and many of you do not believe this (and I admit I have doubts myself). But I will say that Mary in particular had qualities that are not valued in today’s narcissistic world. Mary was the opposite of a narcissist–she was humble, obedient to God, compassionate, merciful, and very maternal, and yet she was very, very strong and her love of God and her Son knew no limits. Personally I think she was an empath. She appeals to me because she’s the mother we all should have had. No matter how old we are, we never lose our need for a loving, compassionate, merciful mother. Mary can be the mother I never had.

“La Vierge au lys” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau – PaintingHere.com. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:La_Vierge_au_lys.jpg#/media/File:La_Vierge_au_lys.jpg

It was the most enlightening and interesting RCIA class we’ve had yet.

New conversions are done on Easter Saturday (April 4th this year) and the heavy duty preparation for new members takes plan during Lent (which began on Ash Wednesday at the end of February). I chose a sponsor (Godparent) about a month ago, a lovely woman named Rachel. Last Saturday we went to a Mass at another church where the catechumens (people converting) were introduced by their sponsors and blessed by the Bishop of the Charlotte Diocese. Afterwards there was a brunch across the street where I got to talk to the Bishop, who hugged me.

But I still didn’t feel as excited about it as I felt I should. I still had doubts (and still do) but there are some doctrines I want to believe so much that I’m willing to suspend my disbelief and take into account that some things that happen may not have a scientific explanation–or do have one that we cannot explain with the scientific knowledge we currently have. I was surprised to find the Catholic church so friendly to science (including divinely inspired evolution, which I believe in anyway) but it really shouldn’t be too surprising, because so many of our most renowned scientists were in the Catholic clergy or just very devout Catholics.

One of the “mysteries” I’m willing to suspend disbelief on is transubstantiation (the idea that the host and wine during communion actually transform into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and are not just symbolic. This is in the Bible so in no way goes against Biblical teaching, but Protestantism changed this idea into one where the host is merely a symbol or remembrance, not the actual body of Christ.

I absolutely love the idea of something as unique and miraculous as taking the actual body of Christ into myself (taking him into my soul), so I’m willing to suspend disbelief and in time I may actually believe this is what happens.


A humorous take on the above — sorry, too funny not to share.

Today I had an appointment with Father C. about my first Penance (confession). Rather than being a dark and punitive thing and something to dread, it brings relief. It seems to work almost like Step 4 of a 12 Step Program, where the idea of “confessing” your sins (wrongdoings) to a priest takes the burden of guilt off of you, and you are absolved and forgiven. Then you are told what you need to do, usually reciting some Our Fathers or Hail Marys. I don’t have any problem with that, and being the kind of person I am who struggles with guilt constantly, I think this will be very helpful.

My first Penance (one of the seven Sacraments) will take place on Monday night. Over the weekend, Father C. wants me to make a list of what I think of as my sins, and try to put them in some kind of order. I don’t have to list every sin I ever committed, because I’d be confessing until the day I die, but just the ones I think are important or feel the worst about. I will be praying for guidance this week because I want my list to contain the sins that matter the most to God, not necessarily just in my own mind.

On Holy Thursday (one week from today), I’m attending a foot washing service, where my sponsor and the priest will each wash my feet, symbolizing how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. I feel strongly that this will be an extremely moving and very spiritual moment for me. It’s a loving act, but the recipient must be willing to become both humble and vulnerable to fully understand the meaning of Jesus’ act.


Jesus spoke to his disciples of the meaning of foot washing in John 13: 1-15:

1 And before the feast of the passover, Jesus knowing that His hour hath come, that He may remove out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own who are in the world—to the end He loved them. 2 And supper being come, the devil already having put it into the heart of Judas of Simon, Iscariot, that he may deliver Him up, 3 Jesus, knowing that all things the Father hath given to Him—into His hands—and that from God He came forth, and unto God He goeth, 4 doth rise from the supper, and doth lay down his garments, and having taken a towel, he girded himself; 5 afterward he putteth water into the basin, and began to wash the feet of his disciples, and to wipe with the towel with which he was being girded. 6 He cometh, therefore, unto Simon Peter, and that one saith to him, “Sir, thou—dost Thou wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered and said to him, “That which I do thou hast not known now, but thou shalt know after these things;” 8 Peter saith to him, “Thou mayest not wash my feet—to the age.” Jesus answered him, “If I may not wash thee, thou hast no part with me.” 9 Simon Peter saith to him, “Sir, not my feet only, but also the hands and the head.” 10 Jesus saith to him, “He who hath been bathed hath no need, save to wash his feet, for he is clean altogether; and ye are clean, but not all;” 11 for He knew him who is delivering him up; because of this He said, “Ye are not all clean.” 12 When, therefore, He washed their feet, and took His garments, having reclined at meat again, He said to them, “Do ye know what I have done to you? 13 Ye call me, ‘The Teacher’ and ‘The Lord’, and ye say well, for I am; 14 if then I did wash your feet—the Lord and the Teacher—ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given thee an example, that ye should do as I have done to ye. Verily, verily, I say unto ye, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”

I’m meeting with Father one more time after that to talk about the Big Event, which will take place on Saturday night, the day before Easter (that’s when the big Easter mass where the new converts are welcomed into the Church takes place. In the Catholic church, Easter is a much bigger deal than Christmas).

On Saturday morning of the big day, I attend a rehearsal with my sponsor. That night, at 8 PM the Mass takes place. My daughter is the only family member I have attending, but that’s okay. At that time I’ll receive the Sacraments of Communion (no, I do not have to wear a lacy white dress or a veil like little Catholic girls do) and then Confirmation. I have chosen Catherine as my confirmation name — Saint Catherine of Siena was a strong faithful woman of God, and she is the patron saint of writers. I love the strength of the name. I didn’t have to think about this one too much. It just came to me as being perfect.

I don’t have to be re-baptized. My Methodist baptism is considered acceptable (which surprised me). Any Baptism using water and the sign of the cross is sanctioned as acceptable in the Roman Catholic church.

I’m a little nervous of course, but after my meeting tonight, I’m finally realizing how close I am to this happening and just how big this is for me, and finally feeling excited about it. I’m not without my doubts, but am willing to take that big leap of faith and I can’t wait.

If you’re interested in reading other stories of people who decided to convert (or return to) Catholicism, WhyImCatholic.com is is a great website and a lot of fun to read, too.

Wow, this is getting real…


Back in late October, I made the decision to become Catholic. I’ve been attending RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation) classes every Wednesday night since then.
If you want to read about how my decision evolved, you can read these blog posts:
My Problem with Christianity
I Made a Little Deal with God Today
So Apparently God Accepted My Deal (Part 1 of 2)
So Apparently God Accepted My Deal (Part 2 of 2)
Which Religion is the One True Religion? (not really about my spiritual journey, but might be of interest to readers interested in this topic)

The mass where I’ll be initiated into the church will be at the Easter Vigil Mass on the evening of Saturday, April 4th. I’m the only Anglo candidate this year (the others are Hispanic and attend the Spanish speaking masses). This part of the country isn’t exactly swarming with people wanting to become Catholic!

I’ll be receiving all the sacraments (communion and confirmation) at that time (Confession must be done prior to that). My Methodist baptism is recognized as valid, which surprised me. I have to find the certificate though, which I know I do have, so no having to contact my parents about it. Whew!

I met with the priest tonight to discuss what else I need to do to get ready. There are a few special masses I need to attend, and I also will be meeting with the Bishop in a few weeks. Time has really flown–it’s going to happen in exactly two months! Two months ago was December, and that seems just like yesterday. Things are getting real.

I feel like this is going to be a life changing event for me. I know about all the problems people have with the Catholic church, and some of those arguments are valid. But I feel like this is the direction that’s right for me and that God is leading me to. My other blog posts will explain why.

In fact, the other day I was talking to an old friend on Facebook and he told me he became Catholic last year and it’s the best decision he ever made. I was encouraged by that because it’s all a little scary!

We All Need a “Mother”

This article is right in keeping with my own attendance at RCIA (the classes one takes to become Catholic) and what I am learning. As the child of a malignant narcissist mother, Mary is about as unlike my mother as it’s possible to be. I need a ever merciful Mary in my life! I’m also finding that, rather than the dogmatic, intolerant, bloated religion Catholicism has a reputation of being, that’s it’s actually one of the most loving and tolerant of all Christian religions–and probably the most authentic (being the oldest and apostolic church Jesus actually founded).

I’m also taken with this writer’s affinity for Buddhism, which I’ve dabbled in myself. Buddhism, rather than being a religion, is more of a philosophy. You can believe in one God or not. I don’t think reincarnation and karma are reconcilable with Catholicism (or any other form of Christianity), but these beliefs have a lot going for them and there are a lot of good arguments in their favor. I’m reblogging this article because it puts a lot of the thoughts I’ve been having into words much better than I can.

So apparently God accepted my deal… (Part Two of Two)


As far as Catholic mysticism goes, I never had a problem with it and don’t now. In fact, I always liked the idea of Mary and the saints, not for any theological reason, but simply because sometimes the saints and Mary are just easier for the average person to relate to. According to Catholic theology, in no way does Mary or the saints replace Jesus and God. They are venerated and honored, not worshipped. They act as intercessors and do not answer prayers themselves, but pray on behalf of the person who is addressing them and those prayers are offered to God. Of course, belief in Mary and the saints is not a requirement for Catholics, but is encouraged. Mary is particularly venerated because, as the woman chosen by God to give birth to the human incarnation of Himself (Jesus), she is held in high esteem by God and deserves such honor. I happen to agree with this. I always thought Mary was sort of cool, actually. As far as her physical assumption into Heaven, I have some problems with that, but it’s a minor point and I’m willing to let it go. Again, this doctrine is not a requirement to be a Catholic.

Although unscientific, I really like the idea of transubstantiation (the literal transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ during Communion). Suspending scientific disbelief at the climax of the Catholic mass, Communion (which is considered a sacrament, not merely a symbolic ritual) becomes something very special and mysterious and seems an appropriate way to end such a solemn event as the Mass. I also like the “Peace be with you” ritual, where just before communion, parishioners turn to one another and offer this sentiment. If only this sentiment were more often followed in daily life! Throughout my life, I always felt a sense of great peace during this and the Communion rituals, something I never felt at any Protestant service.

In the Catholic faith, while we are saved by grace and Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross, grace ALONE is not enough. Protestantism in part arose from Martin Luther’s idea that grace alone was enough to satisfy God, and works were not important. But works are very important. While works won’t give you salvation, they are important as a means to practice and use the grace Jesus gave us when he died on the cross. In evangelical Protestantism, you can be a murderer or a selfish, immoral person in life but will still get to heaven if you accept Jesus as your personal savior. There’s something wrong with that picture and it just seems very lazy to me. They get to have their cake and eat it too: say a few words in the “sinner’s prayer,” but not be required to show anything for it (although according to most evangelicals, accepting Jesus will change your heart so you won’t want to do bad things–of course this doesn’t always seem to play out in reality!).

I also found out that Catholics do NOT condemn other Christians (or even non-Christians who do good works in life) to eternal torment. (This is a sea change from what I understood the Vatican taught when I was in grammar school.) It seems the Vatican has changed their stance on this issue, and they now accept that ALL Christians who accept Jesus as their divine Savior will go to Heaven, regardless of denomination. (It’s okay to be Protestant!) Denomination is regarded as personal preference. It’s tragic how much bloodshed and misery has resulted between groups of Christians who couldn’t agree on the extraneous details of their religion, Catholics in the past having been one of the biggest perpretators (which the Church readily admits). Even if you’re not a Christian but are a good and moral person, you will not necessarily go to hell (although the greatest glories of Heaven may be barred to you). Hell itself is something Catholics can’t seem to agree on, and while some interpret it as a literal lake of fire, others do not (hell being merely a spiritual state of separation from God). However, there does seem to be a consensus that if you are a terrible person who spends most of your life deliberately hurting others, you will probably go to hell. And of course, there is also Purgatory, which is kind of a way station on the way to Heaven, for those who have been saved, but whose works don’t measure up. Purgatory has been one of the biggest bones of contention between Catholics and Protestants, but it makes sense to me, and it’s purpose has been misunderstood by many as one of temporary punishment rather than spiritual cleansing. According to fundamentalist Protestants, you are going to heaven or hell, with nothing in between. I just could never get on board with that because people aren’t all good or all bad. There are many shades of gray in between. In a nutshell, all that’s required to get to heaven is a belief that Jesus was born, lived and died on the cross to save us from our sins–something that evangelical Protestants also believe. All the other stuff (belief in the Bible as a literal document rather than allegory, evolution [divinely inspired] vs. creationism, veneration of Mary and the saints, participation in the sacraments, etc.) is basically window dressing that helps Catholics in their faith and their journey with God.


Getting back to my own journey these past few days, the thing that happened that made me realize that maybe God had seen my post and was taking me up on my challenge to Him, was that suddenly I understood the concept of the Trinity in a personal way. In the past, I never could wrap my mind around how God could be three persons in one, no matter how hard I tried or how many Bible verses born-agains tried to make me read. Out of the blue, it all made perfect sense. There is God the Father (the one who created the universe), God the Son (God presented himself in human form because that was the only way we could truly understand each other and because only God in human form could deliver us from sin) and the Holy Spirit (which is basically what you feel when a hymn, sermon or religious work of art makes you teary eyed or overcome with awe–I also think the holy spirit can get through via ANY transformative experience, be it a work of art or piece of music, nature, encounter, etc.). I know I’m not explaining my revelation very well, but I could see how this concept does not negate science or logic. It was also very comforting. After reading the personal stories of conversion on WhyImCatholic.com and explanation of Catholic theology on Catholic.com, I realized that perhaps I could be “saved” after all–as a Roman Catholic.

Why Catholic? After all, there are a few mainstream Protestant faiths that don’t preach about hell and Satan, and are more “liberal” than Catholicism and may be in keeping with a progressive worldview like mine, but honestly I always found those churches to be kind of wishy-washy, as if they were cherry-picking what they liked from traditional Christianity and chucking the rest. Their theology seems like a sort of copout, a man-made compromise that has nothing to do with God. I don’t get that feeling about the Catholic church, even though they have updated many of their traditional doctrines for modern times.

It also holds a great deal of weight for me that the Catholic church was the first organized Christian religion, and all other Christian faiths emerged or split off from that. In spite of their bloody history and many transgressions, I felt Catholicism as it stands today could be something I could accept with both my mind and heart. That being said, I do need to point out that I don’t agree with all Catholic doctrine and there are several problems I have with the Catholic church:

–Their highly heirarchical structure. While I realize this is due to tradition and is perhaps the only way to organize and administer such a huge worldwide religion, I need to find out if talking to God directly is really not a possibility, and a priest must always be a mediator between myself and the Divine.

–Their stance on abortion and contraception. While neither affects me directly (I’m no longer of childbearing age) and as I already said, their rationale does make a type of sense, it’s hard for a liberal, politically progressive woman to accept such strictures on women’s reproductive rights.

–I need to find out more about their stance on homosexuality. While the current Pope (who is pretty cool) does not condemn homosexuality and thinks too much emphasis has been put on the entire issue by evangelical Christians, it’s my understanding it’s still not acceptable according to the tenets of the Church. As a mother of a gay son, this is important for me to find out.

–Celibacy of the clergy. While on a theoretical level this actually makes a type of sense (clergy who are not married or don’t have the option to be involved in a sexual relationship are less likely to be distracted by those things and can turn their energies into a closer relationship to God), on a practical level it doesn’t seem to work: witness the recent publicization of sexual abuse cases perpetrated by Catholic clergy–it may be unrealistic to expect a human being, regardless of how pious they are, to completely divorce himself from his sexual urges and the Church’s refusal to acknowledge these physical needs may result in inappropriate sexual behavior to “whatever or whoever” is available.

–Women in the priesthood. A no brainer. Women should be allowed in the priesthood, period.

There are other problems as well, but these are the ones that bother me the most. All that being said, overall I feel that I may have finally found a spiritual “home” that works best for me–one that’s been staring me in the face my entire life but I always dismissed for one reason or another. There are a lot of negative stereotypes about Roman Catholicism and some of them are deserved, but to my surprise I realized that most are not. There are a lot of misconceptions. The Catholic church may be one of the most misunderstood religions, but it says something that it’s been around so long and continues to have so many adherents all over the world. I’ll have to dig a little deeper and make sure this is really something I’m willing and ready to embrace. Tomorrow I plan to attend Mass and talk to a priest about upcoming RCIA classes.


I’m completely blown away by everything that’s happened since I made that deal with God, and feel like he really is trying to get through to me. I haven’t accepted Christ yet, but I think maybe I could. One thing I have no doubt about is that God really does work in strange and mysterious ways. I’m on the quest of my life.

So apparently God accepted my deal…(Part One of Two)


For the past couple of days, I haven’t posted anything, mostly because something has happened I’ve been burning to write about, but am reluctant to because I’m afraid of what my atheist and agnostic followers will think (my feelings get hurt easily LOL). I know that’s silly, but if I don’t write about this I feel like I might explode. And I want to keep this blog active. I dearly hope my atheist and agnostic followers can keep an open mind and realize that this is something personal that has happened to ME, and in no way affects anyone else or my views about other faiths including agnosticism and atheism. I have a deep respect for all belief systems (including the right not to have one at all) and atheists and agnostics do make a lot of rational sense and I can understand why they feel the way they do about God and religion. Hell, I more or less felt that way myself until just a couple of days ago, and I don’t see myself as a person who would ever shut my mind off from their all too often very valid viewpoints.

But still. I have to blog about this, so here goes.

When I wrote my post, “I made a little deal with God,” I really didn’t expect anything to come out of it, other than a lively discussion about God and religion, which is what happened and I am grateful to all those who participated, no matter whether they’re Christians, pagans, atheists, or anything else. So after I wrote that post, I put it in the back of my mind and moved on to other things. After a couple of days, I concluded that because nothing dramatic had happened and there was no Saul-to-Paul-like “miracle” or sudden, earth-shattering change of heart, that perhaps the atheists were right and there was no God at all, that He was just a comforting construct invented by humans to deal with the stresses and injustices in our lives. Perhaps Napoleon was onto something when he said, “religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”

But in spite of all that, I’ve always been a spiritual seeker and was never satisfied with the atheistic idea that we are just a random bunch of cells that happened to glom together and gradually shape-shift into our current form. I’ve always believed there was something more, much more, but never found a religion I was happy with. Apparently God saw my post and decided to take me up on my challenge. Because two days ago while browsing the web, I came across a Catholic website, called WhyImCatholic, which is basically a bunch of testimonials from people who converted to Catholicism from other faiths, ranging from born-again (Protestant) Christianity to hardcore atheism. I have no idea how I found this website or what I was looking for, but the subject matter was interesting so I started reading some of the testimonials. Why would anyone become a Catholic, of all things? So I started to read and I couldn’t stop reading. I found that, unlike the many born-again Christians who had tried and tried without avail to explain their faith to me, these stories ACTUALLY MADE SENSE! Imagine that.

More about that later, but let me give you a little background on my relationship with Catholicism. While I’m not Catholic myself, I was raised in northern New Jersey, where Catholics were as common as toadstools after a rainstorm. Almost all my neighbors were Catholic (with a sprinkling of Jews and atheists) and I was sent to Catholic schools (the one thing I’m really grateful to my parents for, due to the superior education Catholic schools usually provide) for most of my childhood. As a child, I remember envying my Catholic friends, because of all the cool stuff and rituals their Church had–such as rosary beads, incense, a new name they got at their confirmation, and statues and painting of Mary and the saints. The Methodist church my family sometimes went to (we were really an agnostic family, and while I was sent to Sunday school and was baptized by my paternal grandfather, who was a Methodist minister, my parents were never churchgoers) didn’t have any of those awesome tangibles and there was no “mystery” to Methodism (or any other Protestant church I ever attended) like there was at the Catholic masses I had the privilege to attend with my friends or at school. As I got older, and learned more about what Catholics actually believed, I found I didn’t agree with their doctrine and also had a number of problems with their stance on abortion, homosexuality, women in the clergy, the celibacy of the priesthood, etc. But despite my issues with their beliefs, and even with my ambivalence about God and Jesus, my attraction to the Catholic mass did not wane. From time to time throughout my adulthood, I’ve attended Catholic services, just because I like the ritual and the formality of the liturgy, the chanting and the hymns. There’s a lot to be said on an aesthetic level about Catholicism, but I never really embraced what they believed and in fact now realize I had closed my mind off to a lot and had developed a lot of preconceived notions (some which are simply not true).

In 2003 I attended a 5-day retreat sponsored by a local Catholic church that also happened to be extremely progressive on many issues. It was an amazing experience (and a lot of fun), and I was surprised that one of its leaders, a Cherokee Indian named Owl, was not even a Catholic. He taught us about Cherokee symbology and mysticism and we spent one golden August afternoon making stone carvings of a “totem animal” we had chosen to represent ourselves. This was Catholicism? It was all so New Age, even Pagan. Of course this was all balanced by a morning Mass, Bible readings and very personal and deep group discussions about spirituality and God. There were other non-Catholics attending the retreat, including another agnostic, two Protestants and a Jew. There was nothing about that retreat to offend the sensibilities of an agnostic like myself, and so I decided to take their RCIA classes (the classes you are required to take to become a Catholic). But in my current spiritual state and embroiled in an impending divorce, I quickly lost interest once the discussions in the classes became too Biblical and religious. I explained to Father Bill (the priest running the classes) that I’d learned a lot but I didn’t think I was ready. He was very understanding and told me he understood and to take my time finding my path. And so I moved on, chalking up this experience to one more thing I’d undertaken but eventually abandoned (my track record for sticking with anything to the end is embarrassing). Other than attending one Midnight Mass about 5 years ago, I never thought about Catholicism again until a few days ago.

So anyway. I was reading the above-mentioned website, and was riveted by the stories of people, many much like myself–intelligent, thoughtful, educated, forward-thinking people who were ambivalent or even opposed to the idea of religion and submission to God and Jesus–who had decided through various means that the Catholic Church was right for them. I found a link on that site to another website that explained Catholic theology in exhausting detail and is set up in encyclopedic form, so that you can type in anything you want to know about in the search bar, and get all the information you need about the Catholic stance on that topic. Sometimes there was just too much to read! But what surprised and shocked me more than anything is all the misunderstandings and preconceived notions I had about the Catholic church. It came as quite a shock to find I agreed with most of their views, or at least wasn’t particularly offended by them when I didn’t agree. For example, while abortion and artificial contraception is still unacceptable, unlike fundamentalists, who preach about sin and what the Bible says/doesn’t say on these issues, the Catholic stance on these things actually made rational sense! Imagine that. I won’t get into their stance on those things here, as it’s not my desire to convert anyone, but suffice to say that there is nothing about their reasoning that offends my rational mind. I’m not saying I agree with them on these things (I don’t), but simply that their stance does not offend me. Nor does it judge opposing viewpoints in the harsh way that fundamentalist Christianity does. Granted, there are a few Catholics who are also very harsh and judgmental (and a few in politics), but they are almost always evangelical Catholics, who are not really any different from other evangelical Christians. There are extremes in any religion. It also holds a great deal of weight for me that Catholics are opposed to killing in general (in spite of their bloody past, which they have publicly apologized for), and while against abortion (for sound reasons to my way of thinking), they are also against the death penalty.

Some of the explanations the site offered seemed to be a perfect reconcilation between spirituality and science. They spoke to ME. For example, their stance on evolution is one that I’ve held myself for a very long time: that evolution is most likely a fact, proved by science (as well as the 3.5 billion year timeframe for the age of the earth), but was divinely inspired by a higher intelligence we call God. Now, they don’t actually take an official stance on this, and there are some Catholics who do buy the Creation story in the Bible, but Catholic theology doesn’t dispute evolution and it is acceptable to believe in it, as long as God is given credit for being behind it all. As for Adam and Eve, you have the choice to think of them as a literal couple in the Bible, or a figurative story about early civilized humans falling from grace. They acknowledge that while humans have probably been around for several million years, and evolved from ape-like ancestors, that shortly after we became sentient, and developed the capacity for self-awareness and the idea there was something greater overseeing things (which happened about 10,000 years ago), we fell from grace (which I won’t get into here as that’s not my aim in this article and it would take too long). Adam and Eve represent tribes of ancient peoples in the near East, not actual persons. I won’t get into all the theology behind that now, but that’s the gist of it, and it actually made sense to my skeptical, science-loving brain. Taken this way, it was possible to read the Bible as truth but realize at the same time that the details in the stories were allegorical, not a literal account of historical events. I always wondered how so many of the world’s greatest scientists could also be devout Catholics, and this explained how that could be possible. The Church’s support of science and encouragement of scientific thought is cetainly impressive: a very high emphasis is put on education and this is shown by how many Catholic-run colleges and universities there are today.

This article is getting too long and unwieldy to contain in one post, so Part Two will be posted later today. I have to run a few errands first.

Next up: Catholic mysticism, the concepts of grace vs. works, the Trinity, Jesus as Savior, and more.

Note to my atheist and agnostic readers: I certainly you continue to read and follow my blog! I value your contributions, and am in no way attempting to convert anyone, just relating what has happened to me in the past few days. I hope you keep reading!