Vintage flowers

Friday, June 22, 2012

Culturally Catholic

I found this intriguing blog post today while wandering over to Charmed I'm Sure.  Deborah Castellano is an excellent writer -  I found her moral compass article on Witchvox, which of course lead me to her blog, which leads me here. (As an aside, I've been trying to follow her blog for a while now but was being technologically challenged and just couldn't figure out how to do that from my phone. Blogger = not so phone friendly. Glad I finally managed to wander over on a real computer!).

Anyways, Debora wrote this great little piece on doing the Catholicism to Pagan thing, and trying to find peace and balance with your Catholic roots. She brought up this concept of being culturally Catholic, much like people are culturally Jewish though they may not actively practice the religion. It's an interesting concept, and one I had never considered before. I had a roommate in university who had a Jewish background one side of her family, but never practiced as far as I knew. I couldn't understand how she could classify herself as Jewish but not practice that religion, though I knew people did it all the time. A few years down the road, I can now see what she was saying. As Andrew B Watt, one of the commenters on the blog post said, "[It's] like belonging to a particular tribe. Which we do. It’s not necessarily the set of religious obligations we hold to throughout our lives, but it’s the set of rituals and ceremonies we were initiated in, and it’s hard to let go of that."
I had never considered the possibility of this applying to my own heritage - that I could be culturally Catholic and religiously ambiguous.

Unlike Deborah, I don't have nieces and nephews to godparent yet, but I can see this concept as helping me reconcile my faith choices with my Italian Catholic family. It's a way of saying "I respect and honour the values of our family's religion. I do not reject this common bond that is so important in your life. I respect your commitment and your efforts to bring me up to be a upstanding member of our (non-religious) community and society. I accept the values you have instilled in me and will bring them with me as I progress through life, and pass them on to future generations."

Catholicism was such an integral part of my life for the first 18-odd years, it has made me the person I am today. I had a pretty good relationship with the Church, we just differed on certain topics (e.g. birth control) and the priests I was exposed to just seemed out of touch with the world I lived in. My real turning point was when, in confession one day, I told the priest that I didn't agree with the Church on some things, like homosexuality, and he took it as "I'm a lesbian" and started talking vaguely about how we should resist the urges and pray for guidance...he totally missed the mark and wasn't listening to what I had to say. At which point, I stopped making regular efforts to go to church. One misunderstanding priest was obviously not the whole reason, but the trigger. But I'm getting off-topic. Such an important part of one's life cannot be dismissed away by conversion from one religion to another, or even by rejecting religion altogether.

Has anyone else heard of the idea of being culturally Catholic/Christian? How have you been able to integrate that into your identity? I'm intrigued by this idea, and would love to hear input from others.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Whooo boy! It's been a while, eh?

Things have been super busy around my neck of the woods. I think I had about 2 days off of work total for the entire month of May. I have a full-time job as well as a part-time one, and the hours really ramped up last month. I kept meaning to blog every time I saw a good post that I wanted to respond was just a matter of finding the time. Clearly, I didn't. Not to worry though, June is looking a lot less hetic!

Lots of stuff going on around Casa de Summer. I (finally!) started my planter box garden experiments, something I've been meaning to do since the beginning of last summer. For the vast majority of the year, my apartment balcony gets zero sunlight (north facing windows for the win!), but with the sun riding high in the sky and the long days around Midsummer, we do actually get some sunlight from 3pm-7pm. I've been desperate to grow some plants, but didn't know how they'd survive with the lack of sun. They don't get much, but the herbs I've planted aren't dead yet! Actually, the chives are looking quite happy. I wish I could say the same for my shade-loving coleus... out of six, 2 shriveled with in the first week.They were supposed to be the sure bet! Freakin' coleus. I would show you pictures but it's snowing today (SNOWING) and it's just sad.

What else has been going on...I bought a bike (yay green transportation!), joined the local women's dragonboat team, wore shorts, it snowed, wore my winter jacket, cut off most of my hair on a whim (it's so short now!), learned how to install insulation, and got a new full-time job. Oh yes, and the town has been under flood advisories for the past few days. The river has overrun many of its banks and has turned low-lying fields into new ponds. I think I should have bought a canoe instead of a bike...I'd get more use out of it.

Midsummer is just a few weeks away, and I cannot WAIT. As a kid, I loved the long days of summer, but the days are a lot longer here in Alberta than Southern Ontario. It's bright at 4am, and doesn't get properly dark until 10:30 or 11pm. It's really messing with my sleep schedule, so I'm looking forward to the days getting a little shorter. Not a lot shorter, just a little. (Did I mention that in December the sun is barely up by the time I get to work at 8:30am and has already set by 5pm?) It's a matter of extremes out here.

I'm not sure what I'll do to celebrate this year. I really like the sound of a bonfire, but as the fire pits at the rec grounds are currently underwater, that might be a bit soggy still. Smaller risk of forest fire, I guess! I'm the only pagan-y person I know out here, so I might just do a non-pagan celebration with friends that night. Who doesn't love a party? What are your plans?

I plan to get at least 1 more post done in June (ha!), so I shall see you around soon!