I was raised in the Catholic church. Baptized Methodist I believe. My mom converted to Catholicism around the time I was five in part because my step-father was Catholic. I attended a non-denominational christian school, King's (neé King's Garden) until 8th grade, and a Jesuit-run Catholic high school, Seattle Prep. But I left the church in the middle of my confirmation class when I was 16 or 17.
I wish I could believe. Christianity just doesn't make much sense to me. I believe in god that doesn't make too hard a work of belief, to paraphrase J.B. Phillips, who is one of my favorite Christian writers. In other words, I don't believe that god tests followers. The doctrine of the trinity, and required belief in it for being saved, just doesn't ring true to me. There are many models of god that make sense to me. The Christian doctrine isn't one of them though. Neither is the Jewish doctrine or the Muslim doctrine or most other religious doctrines of which I know.
I wish these could make sense too me. The Catholic faith gives my mother a sense of meaning. In a whole nother fashion, it gives my step-father a sense of meaning. The church gives them a sense of community. People want to belong to something. Most do anyway. The Catholic church does that for millions. Billions perhaps.
Catholicism has taught me a lot. Both good and bad. In addition to it's creed, I do not agree with many of its practices and teachings. But I learned my sense of right and wrong from the catholic church. Do not kill. Give to others. Turn the other cheek. The list of morals values I hold dear comes mostly from Catholicism.
The head of the Catholic church died recently. I'm sure you've seen the news. A few folks have seen fit to use the occasion to raise up their one-sided criticisms of catholics and catholicism. Y'all can fuck right off. If you wanna rail on about anti-semitism, then lay off the anti-catholicism. If you want to make jokes about priests buggering boys, do it somewhere other than where I am. I may not be a catholic, but I treasure the church.
If you do not respect the Catholic church, respect me enough to stick to fair criticism when you are within my earshot (literally or figuratively). Several of my friends have not done this. You cheapen yourselves. You are losing my respect. Catholics have and continue to sin, collectively and individually. When I see you living the life of perfect altruism, spending your time and money in Rainier Valley helping blacks, serving in the soup kitchens downtown, or contributing your life similarly to Mother Teresa, then you may have the stature in my eyes to dismiss the church entirely. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.
Until then, hold such views if you must, but do it away from me if you value my friendship. If you don't, have a good time without me. You're entitled to feel that way.