Tag Archives: Catholic

Politics & Catholicism

I consider myself a born and raised, die-hard Catholic. I’m so committed to my faith that I keep a rosary in every purse I own, I drag my hungover body to church every Sunday, and I am forcing my boyfriend to take complete RCIA before he is allowed to propose to me.

With both vice-presidential candidates being Catholic, I think it’s so interesting to see competing views that are so different from one another. As Americans, we are so fortunate to live in a country where we are free to practice any religion we choose, and where we can openly express our religious views without being harassed for it. However, I feel that religion becomes a problem when it infringes on other people’s rights. As a Catholic, I PERSONALLY have made the choice not to use birth control. God forbid if I ever have too many martinis, wild out, and get pregnant, abortion would not even be an option for me.

But I don’t want to force my super conservative Catholic views on others. Ultimately, I believe it’s between the person and God if one decides to make those kinds of choices. Regardless of what I think, God is going to have the final say in any decisions any of us make. It isn’t right for me or for anyone else other than the Lord himself to determine what is right and what is wrong.

I wish it was this clear-cut in the law. I respect every religion, but I also think it’s important to keep it out of politics. In a world where people’s hearts and opinions are constantly changing, it is important to grow more tolerant and see each issue from different perspectives. Imagine if people never accepted interracial marriage, or what it would be like if women still couldn’t vote. Those two things were seen as BFD’s back then, and so many people fought for those rights, yet today they’re accepted and it’s hard to believe that it took so much effort by so many courageous people to convince people that this was the right thing to do.

I really admire how VP Joe Biden adheres to Catholic principles, yet he takes the same stance I do. He doesn’t believe it’s right to force people of other faiths to stick to the same principles he believes in as a Catholic. This is how it should be. These are tough, sensitive issues – gay marriage, abortion, and the individual mandate which forces employers to pay for birth control. But ultimately, people should have the right to make whatever decisions they choose, and we should let these decisions be between them and God.

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Why Holy Week Makes Me Cringe

A few years ago, I visited my family in the Philippines during this time of year. It was a nice vacation until Holy Week started. By “Holy Week,” I mean the week preceding Easter. By “Holy Week in the Philippines, I mean the week preceding Easter when people covering their faces with masks and bandanas are crawling all over the streets for a few paces before they lay down and are hit with a coconut shell, when people are whipping themselves and splashing blood onto anything they pass by, when people are dragging crosses around twice their size and when old people can be heard reading the bible 24/7 as it blasts through large speakers. Some people even crucify themselves on the last day, but are of course taken down from their crosses soon enough that they won’t die.

This is Holy Week in the Philippines. It’s interesting to see how the dominance of Catholicism greatly influences these traditions during this time of year, but it’s a reason I feel lucky to have been raised in the U.S. where I don’t have to experience those things every year. My mom told me that people take part in these customs because they may have serious sins they want to be forgiven for, or maybe they have something they are greatly praying for or longing for, such as the recovery of a very sick family member. People take these extra steps because they truly believe God will better acknowledge their concerns.

I take this as something with such a powerful meaning. I grew up Catholic, and I still go to church every Sunday, but sometimes I have my doubts. God is supposed to love us unconditionally and he is supposed to have a plan for us, so sometimes we don’t get exactly what we want at the exact time we want it. I came to understand that maybe the things I want, such as a career with decent pay that I feel I worked hard for and rightfully deserve, are delayed because God has a different plan for me, or because he knows it’ll work out better this way.

But if he already has a plan, then it’s difficult for me to understand why people would put themselves for this profound suffering for a week thinking that He will respond faster or with a greater intensity. And then sometimes I wonder if just believing that He is listening and that He is helping you out will make things seem to be better. Ultimately, I guess that it’s still something to be happy for, right? My mind wanders way too much.

Tomorrow is Good Friday and my mom is going to make our family take it so seriously. We won’t be allowed to laugh or be happy. I’m going to have to fatten myself up tonight because she will make us fast tomorrow. She’ll probably make us say the rosary together, which is fine, but then she’ll probably make us watch The Passion of the Christ, which is NOT okay. I have probably sat down to watch that movie every year since it’s come out, but I’ve probably only seen five minutes of it total because I cover my eyes and plug my ears the entire time.

I know Jesus did so much for us, and it’s only right for us to honor him on these last days of Lent, but the suffering that people put themselves through is way too much, and it makes me cringe. In the end, I probably shouldn’t complain about having to fast, pray the rosary, watch the Passion of the Christ and be sad because at least I’m not having blood splashed on me by passers-by, or having to listen to old people read the bible day-in and day-out like my cousins in the Philippines have for the last few days.

“For through your cross and resurrection, you have set us free.”

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