Faith Matters: Reflections of Another Liberal Catholic
The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside—
The Brain is deeper than the sea—
For—hold them—Blue to Blue—
The one the other will absorb—
The Brain is just the weight of God—
For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
And they will differ—if they do—
As Syllable from Sound—
– Emily Dickinson, “632″
My name is Jeannine, and I’m a liberal Catholic. That means I love my one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, but I also yearn to witness its radical reformation in my lifetime. What else? I’m a sinner. I’m a hypocrite. I’m a semi-Luddite who’s addicted to the Internet. I’m a firm believer in the preferential option for the poor, but the idea of giving more than 10% of my income to charity makes me cower and grin sheepishly. I believe that there is one truth in the universe, but I also believe that the paths to it are many. I don’t think that any one person, group or philosophical approach has ever reached this truth – indeed, I do not believe it is possible to reach it, and to a large degree I hope that it never becomes possible. If it were, what would we have left to strive for?
I love pluralism and diversity for their own sake and really don’t want to see any decent person proven wrong. Maybe I am nothing more than one of the relativists that Pope Benedict XVI has warned faithful Catholics to guard against. I know I’m one of the Sentimentalists that Elizabeth Scalia dislikes so – though I’d like to think I’m following the tradition of Blake Wordsworth and Keats, not just the mish-mosh of our media-saturated early-twenty-first-century culture. “You’re a modernist, not a faithful Catholic,” an anonymous reader posted on this blog not too long ago. S/he is partially right. I am indeed a modernist, even a bit of a postmodernist… but I am also a practicing Catholic, and a person of faith. I aspire to mystical spirituality in the tradition of Teresa of Avila, forbearance in the vein of Therese of Lisieux, courage in the tradition of Archbishop Oscar Romero, and love in the tradition of Christ. “Good luck with that,” you might roll your eyes and say, to which I will smile and reply, “Thank you.” Am I there yet? Not even close. I struggle constantly to maintain my very faith in God, and even though I’ve turned away so many times, God always picks me up and brings me home. As for my other aspirations…I’m a long way from becoming the one my Saviour calls me to be. But I’m trying to become that person, each and every day. This little blog is part of that attempt. In sharing these reflections – on life, the Church, education, academia and occasionally politics – I hope to add one more tiny flame to the light of the world.
I can be reached at jumpingjitterbug[at]gmail.com.
Another Liberal Catholic by jeanninemariedymphna is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.