Religion in need of change

Martha I. Fernandez, Editor in Chief
Martha I. Fernandez, Editor in Chief

I did not go to church on Sunday. Now, for some this may seem like no big deal, but for me, it is. I am not disturbed with missing Mass because my chances of being “saved” have been slimmed, nor am I worried because I dread the lecture about keeping the Sabbath holy that I am sure to receive next time I go to confession. The big deal is that I forgot—and it did not even matter to me that I missed it.

I make it a point to go to Mass every week. I have been doing it every Sunday since I can remember. It is a habit. I know when to sit, stand and kneel on cue. Etched in my memory is every response asked for by the Mass celebrant. I take Communion every Sunday. I have been doing the same thing for the better part of my life, and it is now that I question it.

I love being Catholic. I cannot imagine being anything else. But sometimes, I just do not know what the point is of being part of an institution that is so reluctant to change. A little variety would probably entice Catholics to be more active with their faith. Yet, ever since I have been a member—it has been the same story.

Every Sunday morning, I rummage through my closet to find the proper attire, or at least what my mom deems to be proper attire. According to my mom, the dress code does not allow jeans, t-shirts or tennis shoes. Anything too short or too low-cut is unacceptable. I would hope God and my fellow parishioners could accept me no matter how I look. But according to the older Catholics, you must dress up.

I have been able to rebel a couple of times. On occasion I have been known to wear a pair of shorts, maybe even some Keds. My mother’s sighs and snickers do not seem to threaten me as much as they did before.

After the whole clothing battle, I go to church to listen to the same readings I heard the year before. “The Prodigal Son,” “The Wedding at Cana?” and Lazarus’ resurrection are the most popular. We also rotate the same hymns. Every once in a while, someone will get creative and add a new jingle to the traditional tune—but it is rare.

The Church has just become too predictable and reluctant to change.

I admit I was not around before Vatican II. Before this religious metamorphosis, I am told, the entire ceremony was said in Latin. I still do not understand why. What is the point of Mass if you do not understand what is being said? Thankfully, that has changed.

Along with Mass being said in native languages, the Church has conformed to other new ideas. Now, we even stand to take Communion rather than kneel. And sometimes, we have the fairly new experience of taking the Body of Christ from a woman. But the Church still has a lot to work on.

It seems that every year I learn of at least one fellow Catholic who has left the faith. Among the reasons are frustration with the Church’s unwillingness to change and deal with present social issues.

The Church has yet to accept divorce into its religion. By not condoning legal separation, what is the Church saying about abusive relationships or unhappy lives? Being baptized into the Church does not give Catholics a free pass to happiness. Does the Church expect the world to just go round in the direction it wants it to?

Unfortunately, it does not work that way.

Another qualm I have against the religion is the lack of female leaders in the Church. Why can’t the Church just forgive Eve for biting the apple and join the rest of world in offering equal opportunities? It seems like every Sunday the priest asks for the congregation to pray for more men to receive the “calling” into priesthood. Perhaps if the Church would admit that women can do as good a job as men can, there would not be such a shortage of leaders.

It is sad to say, but I am getting bored with my religion. Bible stories might give insight to issues, but do not solve problems.

Instead of waiting for some act of God to rid the world of every problem, the Church should take a look at the issues that are driving Catholics away. You cannot have a religion if no one wants to practice it.

Martha I. Fernandez, Features Editor
Martha I. Fernandez

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