The Catholic Church has started a campaign to get fallen away Catholics to return to the church. (I am assuming revenues are down in the wake of the pedophilia scandals.)
You may have seen the slick television ads that are running right now. Most of them depict someone who misses the church talking about why they left and then goes in to explain why that person should return.
The first one I saw made my blood boil. It was a woman who says, "I met a boy who wasn't a Catholic, so I left the church to be with him."
It took me back to the baptism preparation class I attended with the guy I was sponsoring, where the most fervent of our group was kicked out of class the day before everyone was supposed to be baptized because it was discovered that her husband (a non-Catholic) had been divorced. She was told she couldn't be baptized unless she left her husband.
I'm still furious about that situation and especially the priest's refusal to explain to the rest of the class (until after their baptism) exactly why she had been told she had to leave the class.
The chutzpah! The woman had been happily married for many years and now they were telling her that the only way she could join the church was to leave her husband. Now THERE's a good way to promote the sanctity of marriage.
This morning I saw an ad in which a father was saying that he and his wife had divorced and he had to leave the church and how difficult it had been for him to be a single father without the church in his life.
In truth, I don't think that just because a man was divorced he would have to leave the church, as long as he didn't remarry. But God help him if he should fall in love with another woman and want to marry her and have her help raise his children.
The other ad that just infuriated me shows a monk writing on parchment with the voice over saying "guided by the holy spirit, we compiled the Bible," as if only Catholics have claim to authorship of the Bible. (And if they are responsible, then they are also to blame for the choice of books to include and those to exclude!)
I will admit to some romanticism of my youth in the Catholic church. It's like a cult. You get drawn in by the trappings. All that incense goes to your head. But there came a day when I realized that every time I went to Mass, I had to recite a prayer in which I professed to believe in all the teachings of the Catholic church. I realized that every. single. time. I went to church, I lied. Because I don't believe in all its teachings and I don't support all its policies.
I don't think nuns should be turned out to pasture with no financial assistance from the church they have served all of their lives.
I don't think members of the religious community should be chastised and forbidden to minister to the gay community.
I don't agree with the Vatican spokesperson who recently said that it was a sin for gay people to enter a catholic church (I'm sure this would not be upheld by the Pope, but still...)
I abhor the policy of protecting pedophile priests and reassigning them to new churches with new youth organizations to lead.
I don't believe only Baptized people can enter the kingdom of heaven (if it exists).
I don't believe that homosexuality is an abomination any more than wearing polyester is an abomination (though I might be persuaded about the polyester).
I won't be going home to the Catholic church any time soon and I think about how much good all that money they are spending on TV spots and web sites could do for those in real need. Or at the very least, to pay some sort of restitution to those harmed by pedophile priests.