This was an interesting month for me. I started in hopes of being able to convert only to realize the naiveté of such a desire. No parish would convert me in such a short amount of time and, to tell the truth, I got the feeling that some of them knew what I was up to. As a matter of fact, I received an email from one person who had stumbled upon this blog and they were not too thrilled about what was up to. Still, I did what I could and tried my best to live as a Catholic.
From what you experienced, what was the best part of Catholicism?
My favorite part was probably the congregation. There are some good people out there and a lot of them happen to be Roman Catholic. I think people get lost in all the rules and forget what the whole thing is actually about. Onlookers find it all too easy to make jokes about power of The Church, acts of sexual misconduct and cases of corruption and while those are certainly problems for Catholics to worry about, it doesn't change the fact that over a billion Catholics on this planet and many of them are great people.
What improvements, if any, did you witness in yourself?
Well, I'm not sure how to answer this one. I think I've become a little more tolerant of Christians in general and when I think of Catholicism, I won't immediately think of the negative. I luckily had the chance to read the entire Bible this month as well. I don't remember all of it, but I did get a sense of what's going on and who the main players are. Now, as I navigate through the other Christian-ish religions, I will be able to get a better idea of what's going on. I guess you could say that I was educated this month and that's always an improvement.
What was the most annoying aspect of the religion for you?
The long prayers were a little annoying, but I really wasn't a fan of confession. The Bible does make it clear that we need to confess our sins and there are some conflicting methods by which to do so, but the Catholic church makes it clear: you must confess you sins. The problem is, can I trust the person I'm confessing to? And even if I could, are we really free from judgement? These questions plagued me and I presumed the priest would probably frame me by my confession. If he and I made eye contact, all I would be able to think about was the confession. I think that confessing to God or your loved ones is enough.
You went to Mass, were you comfortable in that setting?
It took a little getting used to. There were many things that I've never experienced in that sanctuary. I guess the only thing that was uncomfortable was the fact that my wife and I spent a lot of time looking around. People were swaying and holding hands all over the place and in almost perfect unison, crossing and bowing commenced with almost no warning at all. That and I wish there was more sermon and less recitation. I feel most connected to the message during the sermon and most connected with the spiritual world when surrounded by silence.
How did your lifestyle change from your secular past?
It didn't really. I started drinking again (in moderation) and everything else was pretty much the same. I was told not to eat meat on Fridays, but that didn't matter. Meat really isn't a problem for me. My wife outed me with the meat-eating, I know. Still, I think I did a good job on that front. I can say, however, that I'm trying to spend less time questioning the motives of others.
Would you ever consider becoming a Catholic?
Doubt it. The glove just didn't fit that well this month. However, life has always surprised me, so who knows?
Any last comments?
Read the Bible. It doesn't matter your faith. Just pick it up and get going. It took me every bit of free time to get through it all, but I know that I'm better off for reading it. Oh, and be opened minded. I was too close-minded this month because Catholicism wasn't unique. That was my loss.