I am not catholic, but my girlfriend is. (Sounds like a T-shirt, doesn’t it?)
This has been one of the biggest issues in our relationship over the 10 months that we have been together. Me being what I used to refer to as a “regular Christian” and her jokingly calling herself a “cradle catholic.”
I grew up attending Mount Olive AME Church in Tampa. I now attend Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church here in Tallahassee. It’s a traditional black church, though the praise gets radical at times.
Many of our arguments begin with me getting frustrated that she is such a proud, devout catholic. Sometimes I expect to see her rocking a catholic line -shirt with “spring ’84” on the sleeve.
No matter what the issue may be, most of the time, we just agree to disagree.
We agree that denominations are a divide-and-conquer tool of the devil used against Christians, and that we both serve the same God. However, we do not go to church together.
I do not claim to know everything about Catholicism. In fact, almost everything I know about it I learned from her.
Through her, I’ve learned to respect, understand and appreciate her faith more, as opposed to casting Catholics out as a cult-like sect completely separate from the rest of us believers.
When I walked into The Famuan office Friday afternoon, two of my co-workers were sharing their views on Catholicism with each other.
As they said things like, “They worship the pope” and “All Mary did was have Jesus,” all I could hear was my girlfriend’s voice echoing in my head saying “Is it wrong to celebrate and praise someone who is about uplifting the human race” and “Only Mary could have had Jesus, she was chosen by God.”
As they continued to speak, I remained silent.
Maybe they just didn’t know any better.
In Hosea 4:6 it says, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.”
This point was driven home further as my girlfriend and I watched “The McLaughlin Group” on PBS that night.
One panelist was criticizing American Catholics for polling the same as the rest of Americans on topics such as abortion, even though it went directly against the Orthodox Roman Catholic beliefs of the pope. This panelist went on to say that American Catholics nitpick through their faith and only practice the parts that are convenient to their lifestyle.
I think the same can be said of most Christians, or followers of any faith for that matter.
In response to the panelist’s comments, Pat Buchanan said, in jest, “Catholics rob, steal and kill too.”
Either way, we should not cast Catholics out as a cult-like sect or hold them to standards we do not uphold ourselves.
Nick Birdsong is a junior newspaper journalism student from Tampa. He is the co-news editor for The Famuan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org