Category Archives: Religion

Christian Family

The hollowness of the Catholic faith preaching Christian family is highly evident.

Fritz served as an altar boy at a Catholic church. His mother registered the entire family at this parish. The boy served every Sunday. I rallied three out of four Sundays a month to ensure he arrived by 7:30. I was so good at my parenting, I even got my atheist daughter to proclaim the word of the Lord in the choir.

Then overnight, my son decided not to attend any longer. He’s a teenager; he prefers sleeping in. I did not fight it. I like peace in my life.

One might think that when the parish lost its one and only altar boy who showed every Sunday without warning it might reach out to see what is up.

Not a word. It’s been months now. Three parishioners just disappeared without a trace. Not one phone call. Not one e-mail. Not one inquiry as to whether everything is okay or not.

That’s the Christian faith the way it is practiced. Tell me again about the good deeds of the church while you pay off the lawsuits for the priests you allowed to molest boys!

When was the last time you laughed and what did you laugh at?

For the month of March 2022, I will answer the 31 Thought Provoking Life Questions to Answer If You Feel Stuck in Life I stumbled across a while back. I wasn’t stuck in life. And I didn’t read the questions beforehand. I copied the question into the title field of this post and then answered. ‘Twas entertaining for me to approach this blindly.

Truly, I do not know. I will say that I find myself smiling a lot during mass. It’s an oddity, for sure.

First, it’s that I attend mass to begin with. I have given up on the Catholic Church. I do not respect it. I call BS on its preachings. And I am not too fond of many of the individuals I know in the church. Yet, there I am three out of every four Sundays.

It began because my pure son serves as an altar boy. He wants to serve. The parent in me wants him to have what he desires. So, we go. As does Beetle. The other non-believer in the family. Yet, there she is Sunday after Sunday upstairs singing with the choir. Praise the Lord! And to prepare for that she attends a practice on Fridays. She’s more holy than she lets on.

So, yes, I smile as I watch my children in their roles at mass.

It’s amazing to attend mass as a non-believer, as one who does not participate. Chris Martin once wrote a piece for a class at SAS about aliens observing a service and what they would take away from it. I feel like that sometimes. There’s a lot of ritual that I have a difficult time accepting. It’s seems like a routine to give to the flock that is just dictum, not faith. Very little faith. Hell, there aren’t even bibles in the pews anymore.

I smile at all the genuflecting and crossing that goes on. And the congregations’ mumbling of prayers. It is rather entertaining.

Camden Diocese: Where Is God’s Work?

When I join something, I commit to it. Despite the headaches involved in joining the Catholic Church, I commited to it. I attended. I lectured. I served as a Knight of Columbus. I sat on the school board. I paid.

But it’s only the last action that mattered. No matter what, there was always a call for me to give more of my money.

One of the selling points of converting to the Catholic faith was Catholic education. The Camden Diocese took care of that early on by shutting down my daughter’s school. The diocese was out of money due to the sexual misconduct of its clergy and the ensuing cover-up.

As time went on, more schools were closed. It got to the point that now in high school, there are no Catholic options for my children to attend. Yet, the diocese still wants money.

Not from me. I gave up on this group.

Today it is reported that Camden Diocese has offered $90 million to settle more sexual misconduct.

The diocese would provide “the bulk” of the money, but its parishes “will also contribute a portion,” the statement said. It said the joint payment would total $60 million, but offered no additional details.

It acknowledged the proposal “will cause concern in many parishioners due to its size. However, it is necessary.”

Yup, still looking for handouts.

The article is fascinating as if you removed Camden Diocese and replaced it with the XYZ Company, it reads like any other business trying to reorganize under bankruptcy law.

The diocese filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors in October 2020, citing the financial burden of sex-abuse lawsuits and the pandemic.

It initially offered $10 million to settle sex-abuse claims, an amount that rose to $53 million by October 2021.

The proposed fund’s size was “determined through the extensive negotiation process and analysis of previous clergy sex abuse cases,” the diocese said in a statement.

Under the plan, the statement said, the diocese and its parishes would provide $30 million in cash, “available on day one, and additional payments of $10 million on the first, second and third anniversaries of plan confirmation.”

The diocese previously has said it paid $8 million to settle about 70 claims while participating in a program created by the state’s five Catholic dioceses between June 2019 and July 2021.

It also paid $11 million to additional victims from the mid-1990s to the late 2010s.

In its statement, the diocese acknowledged “once there was blindness” to clergy sex abuse.

Nowhere, however, is God present. Nope. This is purely transactional, just like everything with the Catholic Church is from my experience.

Ye reap what ye sow.

Dot . . . Dot . . . Dot . . .

21-10-03 Dot . . . Dot . . . Dot . . .

Sunday evening after a weekend with the children. Finishing up resetting the apartment. Bleached the bathroom, vacuumed, laundry, etc. . . . My daughter is a slob. I love her, but everything she touches becomes messy, marked, or otherwise dirty . . . Apparently she’s been giving her mother a difficult time. Every time we have a hand-off of the children, all I hear are complaints. There’s never any positive said about anything. Don’t miss that at all . . . Drove to Whitesbog today with Fritz. It’s been some time since I’ve been here. It used to be a regular visit . . . Pulled out a surprising win in Ticket to Ride . . . Got to hold Jacoby for a few minutes today. He liked me enthusiastically. I really miss the puppies . . . I feel as though I should be up for Father of the Year. Despite me not practicing Catholicism any longer, I attend mass thrice monthly so Fritz can serve as an altar boy. And I have now gotten my atheist daughter singing in the choir. I’m good . . .

The Two Shall Become One

Today’s Gospel and homily were quite interesting.

2 The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him.

3 He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”

4 They replied, “Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.”

5 But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment.

6 But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.

7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,

8 and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh.

9 Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”

10 In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.

11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her;

12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

13 And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.

14 When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

15 Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

16 Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

Mark 10:2-16

Father Felipe followed that with a most enlightening homily. Fritz, on the altar, picked up on it. Even Beetle upstairs with the choir acknowledged the topic.

The two shall become one. God will help.

I converted to Catholicism in 2005 in order to have our marriage blessed by the Catholic Church. I’ve made a considered effort to be a Catholic until the divorce. I now recognize that despite all the pronouncements, the Catholic faith was not something practiced within my family nor the congregations I was in.

The two shall become one. I internalized that within my marriage. God will help.

No one ever offered any counseling within the church. No one ever asked, “How are things.” No one stated they would pray.

Our troubles were public. Our troubles were deep. The Catholic Church and my ex-wife turned their backs to the situation and kept on doing business as usual . . . hand out telling me I could continue to pay for the lousy service.

The two shall become one. That never happened.

There was a priest laying it out as plainly as could be.

The Catholic of the family does not attend the church she married her first husband in. Nope, but her non-believing second husband shows up thrice monthly with their children. He even has his atheist daughter proclaiming the Word of the Lord in song with the choir.

There was never one in the marriage. We had to keep appearances, but it was in name and check only. Yeah, I had to pay the fee to release her from her first husband for this lousy service. It’s quite a business they have put together.

Catholic Rituals

My son is a devout Catholic. He has internalized the teachings of the church after the decade of indoctrination I helped pay for. As a 14-year old, he is an altar boy. He takes his job seriously. As such, he serves each Sunday.

Now that his parents are divorced, getting to mass is more of a chore. His mother signed the family up at a parish a few towns away. The boy is with me most weekends, so that means I am carting him off to mass.

This isn’t an issue. It is interesting, however, as I have certainly turned my back on the Catholic faith specifically and Christianity as well. Even so, my daughter (a devout non-believer herself) and I sit in the pew Sunday after Sunday.

This began with me taking the approach that despite my issues with the church, the underlying lessons are good. I don’t need to genuflect, receive communion, etc. to reinforce the lessons of how to lead a good life.

Way back when I went through RCIA (Right of Christian Initiative for Adults) to become a Catholic. Father Carmel stated upon hearing I was reared Episcopalean that Episcopals know thei bible and that Catholics would do well to emulate that more. That always stuck with me.

Mass yesterday brought that to light. The Gospel and Monsignor’s homily certainly preached a lesson. The balance of the show was all dogma. Kneeling, making the sign of the cross, bowing, praying, paying, etc. There’s a hell of a lot of ritual to the mass and not much good stories.

I happen to be reading Meditations right now. There was a passage that I read:

“40. The gods either have power or they have not. If they have not, why pray to them? If they have, then instead of praying to be granted or spared such-and-such a thing, why not rather pray to be delivered from dreading it, or lusting for it, or grieving over it? Clearly, if they can help a man at all, they can help him in this way. You will say, perhaps, ‘But all that is something they have put in my own power.’ Then surely it were better to use your power and be a free man, than to hanker like a slave and a beggar for something that is not in your power. Besides, who told you the gods never lend their aid even towards things that do lie in our own power? Begin praying in this way, and you will see. Where another man prays ‘Grant that I may possess this woman,’ let your own prayer be, ‘Grant that I may not lust to possess her.’ Where he prays, ‘Grant me to be rid of such-and-such a one,’ you pray, ‘Take from me my desire to be rid of him.’ Where he begs, ‘Spare me the loss of my precious child,’ beg rather to be delivered from the terror of losing him. In short, give your petitions a turn in this direction, and see what comes.”

Seems dead on to me.

I will not dissuade my son nor will I cease to attend mass. It’s an indifferent, I suppose. It is so interesting, however, to sit in the pew non-engaged for the first time in my life and see the show in such a different light than I was reared to see it.

Religious Thought

Accepting that I know nothing, the following is reached through 56 years of observation.

Organized religion fails us. Considering the world’s three major religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), how could one not conclude the above?

Christianity has been prominent within western society. Yet, there are radical differences in how it is practiced. Is it good deeds or faith which lands one in heaven? Hmm . . .

But more important, when one takes into account that organized religion is big business, it is far easier to see the flaws on religion. Catholicism is beholden to scandals and bottom lines. Catholic education, the hallmark of the American Catholic family, is discarded to balance the budget after decades of covering up sex scandals. Yup, faith has nothing to do with anything; it is all a public relations game involving very human decisions. Four paragraphs into this and I am just now invoking God. God is secondary to power.

And to think that the other religions are demonstrably different is folly. Episocpal faith centers around the formation of the Anglican Church, King Henry’s creation so he could divorce.

Speaking of divorce, my experience is that it is merely extortion to glean cash for righting a bad situation. My ex-wife paid upwards of a $1,000 so she could marry me and continue to flaunt church teachings. And the community of believers did not reach out once to help an outwardly dire family situation. Not one. Ever.

Organized Christianity has failed.

Judaism and Islam suffer as well. Eight days of presents during a minor holiday to compete with classmates’ Christmas hardly extols virtue. And if one’s religion can be used to attack another’s nation, then what good is that religion to begin with?

Religion, it seems to me, is a construct which serves a society in many ways. It provides comfort, It answers what is unanswerable. It provides community. Rules. Etiquitte. It pacifies. So, organized religion has been useful.

Then again, like any construct, it is exploited. And because it is exploited, it fails. We can’t just accept the good up until to the exploitation. It is like everything else, something created to fill the void: that time between birth and death.

Death is the ultimate equalizer. We all die. At death, nothing before matters.

Religion has us believe that it is after-life that will matter. Perhaps. But how can we trust it? If the construct is suspect on everything else, why is it to be taken seriously on the after-life. We are suspect of government at every turn; why we would accept that it is not say during a pandemic? Same situation.

Sure, some will point to Pascal’s wager as hedging bets. Hey, if it soothes your soul, have at it. But does Pascal really support organized religion?

One can believe there is a guiding hand, a creator, something beyond humans without joining a team. Rabbi Kushner’s tapestry can exist outside the framework of pervert priests and 72 virgins.

A Child of God

21-05-19 Fritz's Confirmation

Today Fritz confirmed his vows to God and the church. I am proud of him. No one on this planet has shown his faith to me more than my son. He is a child of God. He walks the walk. There is a specialness to him that exudes compassion. He is a beacon of light for me.

The world would do well to follow Fritz’s Ezekiel’s example. Yup, he selected Ezekiel as his confirmation name. He likes the sound of it. That’s my boy! 😉

We Are All Flawed

Earlier today my son and I were talking politics. He loves it and is beginning to surpass me in knowledge of some topics. As we discussed some scandals, I made the point that I remember my mother teaching me; namely, the politician often falls not for the crime but for the cover-up. I offered Nixon as my example. Nixon himself didn’t do anything wrong at Watergate. Nixon’s issues were that he attempted to cover up and obstruct what others had done.

It turns out that the priest at my son’s school had an affair with a woman a couple years ago. This news broke to me this evening. As my son and I discussed it, he mentioned that this happened a couple years ago. My retort was: Why are we just hearing about it now?

And that is simple. There’s a lawsuit. The priest would not have cleansed his soul publicly had the woman not filed suit last week.

It’s the same issue. The priest is going to be judged not for the affair but rather for the cover-up.