Why I can’t be Catholic (or how to Insult Your Dinner Guests)

Satya and I finally jumped in and tried to find a local Catholic church to attend, but our experiment was a dismal failure.  It started optimistically enough-while I was in Minnesota helping my sick aunt I attended weekly Mass with her and my parents.  I mentioned to Satya there was a local church in our hometown I had been wanting to attend, so he started attending.  His first time, he got invited back to have dinner with an elderly priest.  Satya felt flattered and enjoyed the meal and kept attending Mass. 

I returned and the two of us went to Mass together.  After Mass, the elderly priest invited us to come to his house for dinner the next week.  We agreed, because how can you say no to an elderly priest?  The next week we attend Mass and then have dinner with the elderly priest, a woman from the parish, and the younger priest.  The elderly priest sits at the head of the table, I’m on his left, the other woman is on his right, Satya is next to me, and the younger priest is seated at the foot of the table next to Satya. 

The dinner did not go well, but like all uncomfortable things seemed to go on forever-nearly two hours in fact.  Younger priest asks, “Were you married in the church?”  No, we replied.  “Was your marriage blessed by a priest?”  Yes, we replied and then explained the blessing ceremony we had at my grandma’s nursing home.  “Did you sign papers?”  No we replied.  “Then it wasn’t officially blessed,” he said. He went on to mention that since the marriage was not officially blessed, I am not supposed to receive communion.  I did not know that before and am still processing that news.  I suppose I’ll have to research what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says exactly and go from there.

Then, he launches into a long speech about how the troubled world needs to be unified and saved.  The only way this is possible?  For everyone to become Catholic because Catholicism has 1 person in charge, the pope, and agreed upon truths.  Here my alarm bells were going off in my head.  Satya and I had long agreed that neither would convert for the other. 

Then, the younger priest talked about how science is destroying society.  Satya felt extremely insulted at that because he takes great pride in being a scientist.  Then, the priest also mocked reincarnation and vegetarianism. 

What did Satya do during these monologues?  He smiled and nodded in hopes of speeding the meal along. What would you have done?

I don’t know what the priest’s motives were.  To present arguments about why we should officially join his church?  To speed our decision along-are we going to join or not so we’d quit wasting his time? 

We left the meal exhausted.  We have decided we are going to move on.  All I wanted was to be able to attend Mass with my husband. Next, we are going to try an Episcopalian church with a female pastor.  We shall see. 

I do like the rituals and music of church and the saints, but the rest I’m not so sure of.  Satya and I also did not enjoy listening about how birth control, health insurance, and gay marriage (I have a gay brother) are going to destroy society. 

In other news, I am reading Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism by Rajiv Malhotra.  Anyone else read this one?  So far, it is very interesting.  I really like what he says about mutual respect of religions rather than tolerance of religions.  I completely agree. 

To anyone else, how has your interreligous marriage changed your religious beliefs and practices?