(Trigger Warning: Discussion of Child Molestation/Abortion in the Comments)
"Bless you!" I hear in three-part harmony.
I'd much rather my coworkers (and classmates, and...) said "Gesundheit", the way Mom does, if they must say anything; that's a wish for good health, not a prayer that a nonexistent deity will keep my nonexistent soul from flying out my nostrils. But I don't know how to politely tell anyone to knock it off, and I don't know if it's wise.
I'm not out at work. I'm not out at school. I'm not even out at church; the UUs won't care that I'm an atheist, but as far as the Catholics are concerned, I'm one of them. I'm a holly-lily Catholic, because I was baptized and confirmed and I attend Mass twice a year, at Christmas (holly season) and Easter (lily season). I can't not. It's part of being a member of the [Blue] family.
My brother: *pro-life and anti-marriage-equality arguments*
Me: *pro-choice and pro-marriage-equality arguments*
My brother, quoted with permission: Clearly we're not going to get anywhere this way, so let's try focusing on the primary cause of our difference in opinion: why do you believe that God doesn't exist?
Me: Bzuh? Slacktivist. MadGastronomer. Amaryllis, cjmr, hapax. [S]omehow I don't think theism v atheism is the "primary cause of our difference in opinion".
My brother: Yes, there are various forms of theists who share your political views. How many of them are faithful, well-informed Catholics? Zero. I didn't ask about gods, I asked about God (and to clarify, I am referring to God as the Catholic Church understands Him). If you really believed in God as the Catholic Church understands Him, you could not hold your current political beliefs.
No offense intended to Catholics who believe God considers women and QUILTBAG folk to be fully human and who consequently support abortion rights and marriage equality; rest assured that I'm not talking about your understanding of deity when I say this:
If I really believed in God as the Catholic Church understands him, I would find myself compelled to oppose him.
My brother: No one other than Catholics can trace the authority of their church directly from Peter (I’m sure I could find the list of popes in about 5 seconds). Jesus said that he would build His Church on the rock of Peter, and that the gates of hell would never prevail against it (by introducing false teachings), and as the Pharisees spoke with authority because that sat on Moses’s chair, the Pope and the bishops in union with him speak with authority because they sit on Peter’s chair.
Me: If God's out to keep the Catholic Church as an institution from falling into error, why is the Catholic Church as an institution doing so much to protect pedophile priests?
My brother: Bzuh?
My brother: [T]he point of government is to protect the people, which would include their souls even if 'soul' were only a metaphor.
Me: Religious beliefs are not something to base public policy upon.
My brother: [W]ho said anything about basing public policy on religious beliefs? The Church and the state both agree that there should be a separation of church and state.
Any Catholic politician who casts a vote with the intention of legalizing abortion, or of protecting laws allowing abortion, or of widening access to abortion, commits a mortal sin.
When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.
Yeah, doing a real good job there of keeping the Church out of the affairs of the state.
I, [MercuryBlue], do hereby give formal notice of my defection from the Roman Catholic Church. I want it to be known that I no longer wish to be regarded as a member of the Roman Catholic Church.
I further declare that I am aware of the consequences of this act regarding the reception of the sacraments of the Church, including the sacraments of the Eucharist, marriage, and the sick, and also with regard to burial.
I undertake to make this decision known to my next of kin and to ensure that they are aware of these circumstances in the case of my being incapacitated.
I acknowledge that I make this declaration under solemn oath, being of sound mind and body, and in the presence of a witness who can testify as to the validity of this document.
There is no one I can ask to sign my apostasy letter with me. Literally no one I know in meatspace is someone I know to be an atheist.
I could ask my therapist, I suppose. But the model letters I found all have the 'sound mind and body' phrase (ableist much?), and she knows exactly what my mental health is like. I could ask someone at the UU service, but I don't yet feel as if I know anyone there. Damn you social anxiety.
Even if I find a witness, I don't know if the diocese will do anything but laugh.
I'm a holly-lily Catholic and I don't know how to stop.
Between writing and posting this article, I asked the UU congregation's busy-bee to sign my apostasy letter, and same is now en route to the parish in which I was baptized. I'll keep you posted.--MercuryBlue
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