My name is Dave and I was raised Catholic. I was an altar boy for 10 years, got confirmed, was a Eucharistic Minister, and even was a confirmation sponsor for two people. I went to CCD, Saint John’s, and Boston College.
It was at BC that I stopped going to Mass regularly. Even though the church was in the basement of my freshman year dorm, I only went there twice. Once was because my friend Patrick told me that the girl I was “ga ga” over always went, and the other was when I sponsored Patrick for his confirmation (yes, the fact that I was Patrick’s #1 choice for a sponsor tells you about the pool he had to choose from). I would reluctantly go to church when I was home on my college breaks, but rarely felt like I was taking anything away from going.
After college, I became one a “Two-Time-A-Year Catholic” – just Christmas and Easter. Occasionally, you’ll find me at Mass for a funeral, wedding, or first communion, so my total sometimes goes as high as 5 times a year. But, I’m not doing any of it for God or Jesus. I go for the people involved. Christmas and Easter are about family to me, so I have no problem going to Mass with them twice a year. And when someone I care about passes away, gets married, or is completing another sacrament, I’ll go there to support them.
I could write about the abuse cover-ups, women’s non-rights, and anti-gay practices of the Catholic Church, but I’m not a fan of organized religion in general. I think religion divides more than unites, and too many people miss the point of whatever holy book they read. Like I wrote for my Coexist T-shirt last year, just about every major religion contains some version of the Golden Rule (treat others as you would like to be treated). Forget about going to church, praying towards a certain direction at a certain time, following a certain diet, or believing that your faith is the “only way”. As long as you try to follow the Golden Rule, I don’t really care what religion (if any) you identify with, what house of worship you go to, or what book you think is the “holiest”.
I believe in God, but my God cares more about how people treat each other than what religion they are. My God doesn’t want people hating each other and fighting over their religious beliefs. My God blessed me with a loving family who doesn’t love me any less because I only go to Mass twice a year. Instead, they send me a funny card about it. Thanks for everything, Mom and Dad!