Spotlight on my Faith

Upon the recommendation and egging of my sister, I downloaded the movie Spotlight and watched it.

I must say... what a powerful movie about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church!

I do recall hearing accounts about events in Boston, it must have been through CNN and all I saw were snippets.  That was quite a while back.

At the end of the movie, Manila and Cebu in the Philippines were among the list of places enumerated where there are accounts on record. 

The movie itself I thought was phenomenal!  The actors all showed how crucial reporting and journalism is.  Investigation beyond the call of duty and perseverance!

I am catholic.  I was truly touched by the accounts narrated in the movie.  I feel for all victims of abuse, not just within the catholic church.  it's beyond complex.

I thought about my mother who was traditionally catholic and who like many others that lived ordinary lives had their own difficult struggles too.

Depending on how one defines religion in their personal lives and journeys, it can be difficult to live by and live with.  With all do respect to religion, it can make or break.   

Not directly with God but everything else in between that leads one to God.  That is, the Church, the Organization, the laws...

In the end, I believe it is important for me to have the kind of inner faith that links me directly to God.  I may not be the kind of Catholic I am "supposed" to be.

But much as I sympathize with all the victims this movie has brought upon me,  my next life will be with God or some higher form of being and not with the idolatry or dogma or some form of teaching that will tie me down or define me.

 

 

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Something is Missing

No sense arguing right or wrong, for me it's quite simple.
An essential ingredient is missing. 
 
I attended a talk at a recollection.
The priest lectured about who can receive Holy Communion.
He explained the 3 factors:  state of grace, conscious, transubstantiation.
 
I am writing not to argue on the three factors.
I respect the parameters after all I am a catholic.
It's something else that does not sit well with me.
 
The gist of the lecture centered on the elderly and special children.
"If an elderly is suffering from dementia, forgetfulness or Alzheimer’s should he receive holy communion?"
I heard whispers from the crowd, "yes!” "why not?"
 
The priest answered, "No."  And then surprise and silence.
He explained that for anyone suffering from dementia, the elderly for example, they lack the consciousness.
Consciousness and comprehension to understand transubstantiation, the body and the blood of Christ.
 
With Alzheimer’s and dementia or severe forgetfulness one is unable to distinguish the body and the blood of Christ.
Therefore, no communion.
For special children, (I wanted to correct him because he used the word retarded) same logic.
 
How can a child with Down syndrome understand what the body and blood of Christ is?
They probably don't commit sin because they are not in the right state of mind.
These were the assumptions of the priest.
 
 The arguments and discussions will run until my last breath.
Forget about going down that road.
When it comes to the elderly and special children, compassion rules in my books.
 
 My mother who was unable to speak because of numerous falls from her stroke never lost her mind.
Prayer, hearing mass and Holy Communion were sacred to her.
There is no way I would ever have deprived her of receiving Holy Communion.
 
Whether she actually recognized the body and blood of Christ, I don't know.
This is precisely my point.  Who am I to assume?
Much worse, who is any priest to assume and not give Holy Communion to a wheelchair bound elderly in line at the altar?
 
I have no doubt in my mind the priest giving the lecture meant well.
It's just very sad in my eyes that he lacked deeper compassion.
Special children are called Angels because according to him they don't sin.
 
However, because they lack the ability to comprehend and distinguish what the body and blood of Christ is, they should not receive Holy Communion.
Hmmm.... so why bother having these children baptized in the first place?
I couldn't make full sense of the talk.
 
I left with a heavy heart.  It was confusing for me.
I wonder if Pope Francis would have the same sentiment regarding the elderly and special children.
Dementia, Alzheimer’s, severe forgetfulness, Down syndrome are all brutal diseases that afflict humans.
 
But I've heard many miracle stories of small openings amidst illness where one remembers or becomes conscious.
What if at that moment of consciousness the desire to receive Holy Communion is rejected?
And then that person slips back into the state of illness?
 
 Sad.
 
 

 

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One Man's Mysticism

The entire nation waits.

Work and school cancelled to pave the way.

The morning is quiet.

Malls are without crowds.

 

Everyone is on the other side waiting.

Hoping to get more than a glance of him.

A predominantly catholic country we are.

Not to mention a population of 98 million as of 2013.

 

He is not just any individual.

He is Pope Francis.

The closest connection to God that one hopes to see.

To touch, to embrace and if a miracle happens, to be noticed.

 

I’d like to see him in person.

But I’m not willing to brave the crowd.

It can get rowdy and messy depending on the impact of his passing by.

I shall watch from a distance.

 

We’ve all been reminded to keep calm.

Hopefully we learn self-restraint and self-discipline.

To touch him, to hold him, to be seen by him is a matter of desire.

Desperation for others, regardless, everyone has a need awaiting fulfillment.

 

Like everyone else, I await his arrival.

Only that I have chosen to wait from a distance.

His impact on me will be just as impactful as it will be if I were among the crowd.

It’s all a matter of faith.

 

I believe that even from the far end God hears me.

I believe that even in silence God sees me.

And I believe that no matter what, I matter to God.

It really makes no difference from where I stand.

 

The countdown reads 1 hour 14 minutes and seconds ticking.

I’m done for the day with errands.

Dinner will be in front of the television.

Mabuhay Pope Francis!

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Dad’s Religion

Chatted briefly with mon Pere on Christmas but I greeted him, “Happy holiday. Merry Christmas, joyful Kwanzaa, good Hanukkah to you.” And as he chuckled and replied, “Merry Christmas,” I realized I didn’t know his religious beliefs.

 

Dad and I have been in one church together, on the occasion of his second marriage, when I was 16. Religion is one of many subjects he’s never discussed with me, along with history, philosophy, sex, and anything about God. I grew up with Mom and Dad both proclaiming, “Jesus Christ,” whenever something happened. God damn it replaced Jesus Christ whenever they rose to anger. So I grew up saying the same and didn’t think about it until my early teens that some consider that cursing and, or blasphemy.

Dad could be a pagan. I asked him what religion he belongs to, what does he believe, and he said, that’s he’s not religious but he puts down Presbyterian. He admitted he hadn’t been in a church for a long time, since he was a kid. He’s thought about life and death but he’s never worried about either one, becoming quite fatalistic, explaining that he figures he’ll find out when he dies. Dad is a very 'let the surface currents carry you where they will' person.

I joked that working may be his religion. Partying used to be his religion. Now it’s working. When he was US military, married or not, he always had part time employment. Depending on the country, his second job would be working in a grocery store or at a club as a bartender. Yet he saved little money. When he wasn't working, he was partying. I think working became his addiction, like writing is my addiction. Now, at 83, he’s still working. He seems to be good at it. He’s tried retiring twice but his bosses sweetened his employment situation to keep him, so he works on. Work doesn’t really define him. He has pride and does a good job but he insists, it’s just a job. He has hobbies. Bowling. Playing pool. Watching sports on television. Washing the car.

Dad is a stranger to me in many ways, familiar as myself in many more. I like him when I’m with him, because he’s intelligent, easy going, mellow, non-demanding. His latest family – his second adopted family – are very fond of him. He’d do anything for him them, and they know it.

But Dad didn’t hear from my sisters this year. A card from Debby, nothing from Sharon. My step-brother did call. Dad’s first adopted family aren’t in communication with him any longer. He hasn’t heard from them in years. Mom once told me Dad confided to her that he didn’t think he began maturing until he was 40 years old.

I understand that. 

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