Your Mom, and Other Religious Ramblings

I bet when you read the title, you were like, “Ohhhh, grrrrreat.”

Don’t worry.  I harbor no illusions about my blog.  I fully understand that most of you choose to read my blog because
1) I live in South Korea (How cool is that?),
2) You are connected to my past and want to see what I’m up to now, or
3) I have really cute kids (right?  RIGHT???).

So I’ve used my charm and wit and the photogenic talents of my offspring… and I’ve found myself a captive audience!  Muwahahahahaha!  I have you right where I want you!

Kidding!  I’m only kidding!  Please don’t leave!

I promise this is not going to be a political blog.  I promise I will usually stick to posting innocuous things: pics of my kids, family updates, hilarious mis-translations, funny customs and other random topics that fall under the heading, “Only in South Korea…”

But today let’s talk about something else, okay?  Today, let’s DO something else.

Today let’s stop spreading rumors about my mother.


Uh, whaaaaat?


To be more specific: Let’s all stop assuming we understand Catholicism.

This goes for all of us: non-Catholics, non-practicing Catholics, and even many “good” Catholics.

We have all done it, at least I know I have; I’ve tried to explain some sort of doctrine or tradition that I don’t fully understand.  It winds up turning into that torturous game Telephone, where by the end of the “telephone” line all the words are jumbled and something as simple as,”Susie likes potato chips,” becomes, “Sung Yee flies purple ships.”

I blame the miscommunication on two things:

A) If you grew up Catholic when I did, your catechism class contained a whole bunch of, “Jesus loves you,” and “Our God is an Awesome God,” but not much of anything else.  Don’t get me wrong.  He does love you and He is awesome.  But after the warm fuzzies wear off, what’s to keep us on the straight and narrow?  Kind of hard to commit to following the rules if there are no explanations as to why.  And let’s just forget about defending Catholicism to anyone else because who the heck understands it anyway?

B) (Dun, dun, dun.  She’s going to do it!  She’s going to blame the media!)  That’s right folks, I am.  Somehow the media has reduced 2000 years of scholarly study and divine revelation down to 30 second sound bites and sensational headlines.  Sounds trite, but it’s a fact.  The Catholic Church is all over the news media, for good or bad.  Let’s be honest.  It’s mostly bad.  But how much of that information is true?  How much of that is “the whole story?”

We think we understand Catholicism because we had either a smattering of category A, a huge helping of category B, or both.  This is far from true understanding, though.  Unless one puts substantial time and effort into reading the Catholic teachings themselves, chances are we are spreading rumors every time we talk about my spiritual Mother, the Church.

Which brings me back to those rumors about my mother.

Think of it this way:  Imagine I watched a 30 second news clip about  your mom.  Would I know everything, every nuance about your mom?  If I watched a half-hour special?  A documentary?  A miniseries?  If I knew some of your mom’s acquaintances?  Would I really, truly understand your mom, right down to her very soul?

No.

How much more depth can there be, then, with my Mother Church?  2000 years of triumphs and failures, of Saints and sinners, of imperfect people in an imperfect world trying to discern the will of God.

Nothing about that is simple.



There is a reason “Yo Mama” jokes are so offensive.  You might think it pertains to their often-sexual nature, but I have a different take on it.  I think they offend more because there is implied intimacy where there couldn’t possibly be any.  I mean, I have known my mama (the one who gave physical birth me) my whole entire life.  I consider her my best friend.  And there are still things about her that I don’t know or understand.


So the next time we talk about the Catholic Church, let’s raise the bar a bit.
Before we say, “I disagree with the Church’s teachings on contraception and abortion,” let’s read Humane Vitae.  (see below for all links)
Before we make bold statements about how repressed and oppressive the Church is in regards to women, let’s read Mulieris Dignitatem.
Before we even begin to broach the subject of the Church’s stance on same sex marriage, let’s read Castii Connubii and Familiaris Consortio.
Even if we don’t ever agree, at least we will be doing so with our eyes wide open, having an intelligent conversation rather than spouting off more rumors about my Mother, the Catholic Church,

Now, back to our regularly scheduled hilarity.

______________________________________
Resources for those who would like to know more:

Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI on Contraception, Abortion and Human Sexuality

Familiaris Consortio, Blessed Pope John Paul II on the Christian Family in the Modern World

Mulieris Dignitatem, Blessed Pope John Paul II on the Dignity and Vocation of Women

Casti Connubii, Pope Pius XI on Christian Marriage

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Comments

  1. Love it! Do you ever follow the blog “Get Religion”? They do a great job calling the media onto the carpet for its often shoddy job covering religious matters.

  2. LOVE! 🙂 So right!

  3. Thanks, Cari and Mandy. 🙂

    Cari, I will have to check that out.

  4. How tastefully you handled that, Micaela. All absolutely on target and beautifully said. Thank you!

  5. WORD.

  6. Thanks Lynn and Roxy. Roxy, I just checked out your blog and it’s like we are living mirror lives! Love it.

  7. Thank you for this. I’m struggling with my own Catholicism and finding people who can break it down into simplest terms really helps this attention-span-of-a-three-year-old-brain of mine.

    • Lisa, it is so much to wrap our heads around. You are not alone! Let’s all challenge each other and encourage each other and get to know more about our faith. It can only lead to goodness and understanding.

  8. Oy, Micaela! Can you email me? I can’t find your email address- clan_donaldson (at) yahoo (dot) com

    Thaaaaaaaaaanksssss!