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55 Year Old Former Seminarian - Now Former Roman Catholic


Brianmhager
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There was time when I considered the Roman Catholic Church to be far more "progressive" than it actually turned out to be - especially in the wake of the second Vatican Council. The last 18 years have all, but obliterated that idea for me.

 

Call it a "fools hope," I was born into that Church, baptized, received my first communion, and confirmed in that "faith." I call it a religion now, because a remarkable experience in the fall of 1993 showed me that FAITH is more about a relationship with the Risen Lord, Jesus, than it is about any or all personally held beliefs.

 

Just after the beginning of Fall in 1993, as I worked on Campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL, I discovered that all of the beliefs I held about God and what He ment to me, were suddenly and dramatically stripped away in the course of a single weekend. For the next three weeks (approx) I felt lost and shaken for all of my waking time. The only peace came at night when I finally managed to fall asleep.

 

One day after nearly three weeks, I sat in the breakroom by myself and attempted - yet again - to pray contemplatively. Except, I can't even say that I was praying. During that time, I had lost all personal sense of who or what God was or even if He existed. At the time, I was also involved in Al-anon. So it also meant that I no longer had a "Higher Power." So as I sat quietyly by myself, without warning I knew the name "Jesus" exploded like a small puff of air an inch from the center of my chest and waves of warmth a comfort spread out along my limbs to the tips of my fingers and toes and to the top of my head. Jesus had made himself known to me. I relaxed for the first time in three weeks and "knew" in the very depths of my soul that Jesus was my higher power; He was/is God and I have not doubted that reality since.

 

In time, I went to Seminary @ Sacred Heart School of Theology in Milwaukee, but I left after a year. I returned just in time to spend two months with my mom before we had to put her in the hospital. Two months after that she died. That was in April of 1996.

 

Almost immediately, following her funeral, I began to leave weekend Mass feeling angry and agitated. After nearly a month of that kind of torture I knew I couldn't continue like that, so I stopped going. I would try to go back once in while, but it was to no avail.

 

Approaching this coming Easter (2012) I recognized that I could no longer return to the Catholic Church. Two things made that clear. One was the story of a young lesbian who had been denied communion at her mother's funeral mass. The second was the ongoing strident remarks by Rick Santorum who was being held up as a model Catholic. Those two events were merely symbols of a trend I read about and noticed in the news about the Catholic Church. The Church of my youth was gone. I looked for a home and found a wounderful community at the Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal) near my home in Jupiter.

 

From what I can see of this site, which I found through Bishop Spong's website, I think I have found a new way to further nourish my relationship with Jesus.

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Welcome Brain,

 

Thanks for sharing your story, It seems to me, when we empty ourselves of all the religious conditioning we have been programmed with, we are then ready to be filled from within. i am happy you have been truly touched by a living God in relationship rather than allowing programmed beliefs to dominate your life which under scrutiny always fails in time. May your journey continue as your understanding ripens in knowledge and wisdom by the grace of God. It seems to me good to allow only the builder to lay the bricks rather than another.

 

Your friend in Christ,

Joseph

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Approaching this coming Easter (2012) I recognized that I could no longer return to the Catholic Church. Two things made that clear. One was the story of a young lesbian who had been denied communion at her mother's funeral mass. The second was the ongoing strident remarks by Rick Santorum who was being held up as a model Catholic. Those two events were merely symbols of a trend I read about and noticed in the news about the Catholic Church. The Church of my youth was gone. I looked for a home and found a wounderful community at the Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal) near my home in Jupiter.

 

From what I can see of this site, which I found through Bishop Spong's website, I think I have found a new way to further nourish my relationship with Jesus.

 

I'm not usually one to quote scripture, but your post called this to mind:

 

For G-d is not the author of confusion, but of peace... - I Corinthians 14

 

Sometimes it makes sense.

 

Welcome, friend.

 

NORM

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I'm not usually one to quote scripture, but your post called this to mind:

 

 

For G-d is not the author of confusion, but of peace... - I Corinthians 14

 

Sometimes it makes sense.

 

Welcome, friend.

 

NORM

 

Thanks Norm,

 

Actually, once I made a choice to attend Easter Services at Good Shepherd, the feeling of angst and confusion I felt in my heart went away.

 

It has kept with me, and for the forseeable future I see this as my home.

 

Tomorrow? Who knows...

 

I am not one to tell the Holy Spirit where to waft me.

 

Brian

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welcome to heretical thinking, ya, where do we go from here?

 

I'm assuming you have a very sarcastic wit. I love sarcasm, for the most part.

 

So, where do we go from here?

 

Only Jesus has the words of ever lasting life...

 

Brian

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