Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sometimes a Homily is More than a Homily

Note: my dear MIL or other very obedient Catholics might not want to read the following post…

Today was a hard day. I did something that I’ve never done before.

I walked out of Mass.

Since Hubs is out of town helping my mom in Texas, I’ve been doing a lot of nothing. I decided to change that this morning by getting up early, dressing up in a cute summer dress, and head to Mass. We haven’t been able to go much the past few weeks because of schedules and lots of things going on. So I decided to start the week off right by getting back to church.

I go to this great congregation about five minutes away from our house. We’ve been going there for about three years or so, and I’ve been lectoring there since almost the beginning. Hubs and I disagree about the music (I think the contemporary additions are nice but he leans more towards the traditional) but it’s a great place to worship.

This week, the associate pastor started his homily by discussing the controversy with the health insurance act requiring employers to provide their employees with birth control of many kinds. This is against the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching and many bishops have made very public statements against it, including the archbishop of St. Louis. Then the pastor tossed it to a video, playing on a screen set up in the sanctuary.

It was a clip of a speech the archbishop made in March to some unknown group in Jefferson City promoting the church’s side of the argument – that it impinges on the freedom of religion by forcing the church to pay for or allow their health insurance to offer a service that goes against the faith.

Although it sort of bugs me that the archbishop would be so forceful in the video (it almost looked like he was a politician running for office, for all the people standing and cheering in the room), and I understand the church’s point (but do not believe that they are right in the matter), I could not BELIEVE that the archbishop suggested that this video be shown in every parish in the diocese. They have already included a letter from the archbishop in various newsletters and bulletins, and it seems like every time I go to mass in the past few months, this is part of the homily.

I disagree with the church’s position on this particular issue. I would much rather prevent a pregnancy using birth control (and the natural family planning that they promote certainly doesn’t do it!) than encourage a woman to have an abortion. Life is precious and abortion is wrong.

And I know that the church is only promoting their position because they feel it is right. But, the issue at hand is a matter of health insurance for people on a payroll. It doesn’t force the employees to take up that line of birth control if they don’t want to. It only allows them the choice.

Choice is all we’re talking about. And isn’t impending on the employees’ freedom of religion when the employer forces them into one line of health insurance and doesn’t allow them a choice?

In any case, I don’t know if I’ll be going to church for the next little bit. I may need to let the issue settle down. It just riles me up so very much that it’s not a very relaxing situation to put myself in, when I hear it being discussed at Mass.

It makes me very sad to type those last words. My faith means a lot to me and to see cracks forming in my foundation, it’s upsetting to my core. I hope that God will show me how to reconcile the issue within myself and find solid ground again.


  1. I think I would have walked out too. I watched many a day of news at lunch while at school. While I can understand why they are taking a stand against it, I don't agree that they shouldn't have to offer it. I'd much rather people have the option of something that doesn't harm a living thing. I know some Catholics who are for BC because NFP isn't enough for them (and even tho we aren't Catholic it wouldn't work for me personally) and I know some who would never consider BC. However that is their CHOICE which is where the issue lies. It's one of those things that is between you & God. That's who we truly answer to.

  2. I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone.

    My husband was raised Catholic (but left the Church before I met him) and my father-in-law is one of those obedient Catholics you mentioned in the beginning of this post, but my mother-in-law is a bit more open-minded (maybe because she converted when they married). The BC discussion has been very polarizing within their congregation (and to some extent, within their family), too.

    Did you see the results of the Gallup poll that showed 82% of Catholics surveyed found BC morally acceptable? I found that interesting...

  3. This is one of the {many} issues I've got going on with the Catholic Church right now. Add in their stance on female priests, homosexuality, and a whopping serving of all of the pedophilia cover ups in recent years. It is enough for me to want to walk away, quite honestly. I feel like a hypocrite that I would support an organization who clearly doesn't reflect my thoughts/values. And sorry, the birth control stance is totally archaic and frankly a little misogynistic in my opinion.

    Great post this morning, it really made me think.

  4. I loved your post because it sums up exactly why I have been less than thrilled to go to church on Sundays. I wasn't born Catholic--I went through RCIA my senior year of college and was baptized at Easter vigil in 2009. I chose to join the Church because it was a wonderful place that made me feel like I was home. I had tried out other denominations--Methodist, Baptist, etc.--but none of them seemed like a good fit and too many of them focused on the bad, rather than the good of God's love. Not the Catholic Church--it was all about the good, not the bad. But lately, it has become too politicized and borderline hateful. I, too, hope this issue can pass soon and we can return to the church that I know and love.

  5. I am not Catholic, but I enjoyed reading this. And I think I would be upset if my pastor/bishop/worship leader were to mix politics in with the teachings of Christ. I mean, okay, sometimes it's good to put a modern spin on the Bible. And sometimes seeing modern life through that lens puts everything - life and the religious text - in a new, interesting light. But it doesn't seem like that's what your pastor was doing, and it doesn't seem like the right venue in which to discuss the matter anyway. I know when I go to church, I do so to worship, to connect with God and myself... not to get badgered with political agenda.

  6. Wow, what a mess. I was raised Catholic (although I'm not in the church anymore), but I guess I've just kind of tuned out everything regarding this topic lately. I really do hate when churches try to get political, though. I think they all do it from time to time, but I definitely prefer for my religion and politics to remain separate (unless Jesus returns and decides to run for office!).