My conflict with Catholicism


Noela Bae, Content Editor

Having grown up in a family of devout Catholics, I was expected to adhere to the basic tenets and practices of the religion: praying before every meal, attending church on Sunday mornings, going to confession at least two times a year. Speaking out against these routines was unheard of, so I did as I was told.

But I was never fully able to truly align with the beliefs of Catholicism. Oftentimes, the stories of the Bible seemed too far-fetched for me to believe. A blind man being able to see, Jesus walking on water—all of it seemed too good to be true. The concept of religion did not sit well with me either. If there was one true God, why would He condone religious plurality? How did I know that Catholicism was the only credible, righteous religion of them all? As I looked for ways to undercut my religion, God started to become a hazy concept. I even found my involvement in church steadily waning, as I resorted to unwarranted excuses, such as being too busy with schoolwork, to avoid attending mass.

My conflict with religion didn’t stop there. In a time when reason and liberalism are highly valued, it was inevitable that my religious conservatism would clash with these spheres. Time after time, I noticed that the lessons from my science teachers went directly against the teachings of my Sunday school teachers, who maintained that God created the universe, instead of the Big Bang. Likewise, in my congregation, it was almost an unspoken rule for members to reject society’s efforts to provide more representation for the LGBTQIA+ community; according to the Bible, God had never intended for homosexuality and instead designed relationships and marriages to be loyal partnerships between men and women. Despite such Bible teachings, however, I didn’t want to dismiss the acceptance, vibrancy and diversity that the LGBTQIA+ community epitomized, nor the findings of the scientific community, which took countless years of heavy research and dispute to corroborate.

Such instances are why I have been torn between two worlds: that of Catholicism, and that of tolerance and rationalism. Though I struggle with coming to terms with these two seemingly conflicting worlds, I have nonetheless continued to go to church, hoping that attending mass mindlessly every week would somehow alleviate or solve my problems. Yet much to my chagrin, the dilemma has only persisted, especially after my seminarian claimed that he would vote for Trump in the 2016 elections. I remember being utterly revolted and instantly losing respect for him upon hearing of his decision. I was fully aware that disrespecting my seminarian was blasphemous, but I couldn’t help it; the liberal half of me would never support Trump, a bigoted megalomaniac that fails to stand up for America’s values.  

I’m currently at a point where I don’t know whether to distance myself from my religion or actively make an effort to cope with the troubles of my double life. I haven’t found a middle ground between religion and science—if there is one—or between religious conservatism and liberalism. Hopefully, I will see a day where these two different worlds are reconcilable.