It’s ironic, the appearance of Catholicism of late showing up in the U.S. election.
There are those Catholics voting for Trump and those voting for Biden. The same faith, two camps, go figure? Another example of how fractured Catholicism is. Adding to both camps’ polarization is the Pope’s recent announcement for gay couples, endorsing civil unions. Nice of them to catch up with the times and tick one thing off a hugely archaic list.
I was raised in a strict Catholic household that was also fractured. My mother devout, my father resigned due to events stemming from the Second World War. I attended a strict Catholic school whose educators were both nuns and teachers. The nuns were mercenaries. One nun, in particular, would break a pointer daily, usually over some kids back. Another could fling a rosary at the speed of light like it was some ninja weapon. One snap of her wrist and you were on the ground trapped and shackled like a poacher laming a baby tiger. Another used the heavy metal recess bell she carried around like shot put, flinging it if someone didn’t listen. Incomprehensible, at the same time, exceptional marksmanship using exclusively Catholic props. Skills associated more with rodeo champs and employable by a spy agency, but incongruent to women claiming to be married to God.
The older part of our school is where the nuns taught—the newer part, the truly divine teachers whose names I still remember. Miss Blady was the epitome of kindness and compassion, and Miss Romaine was the essence of gentleness. Mrs. Dumais was beautiful, spirited, fun, and wore micro mini-dresses without losing her job. She was animated, and the boys routinely leaned into the aisles whenever she would bend over to help a student, praying they’d catch a glimpse of her underwear.
These women didn’t wash your mouth out with soap if you happened to cuss, nor did they administer the strap. They would hide their smirk, recognizing kids were kids and lovingly get you back on your path. I never understood how such polarity could exist with severe and violent behaviour on one side and sane, patient, and compassionate attitudes on the other. Today these sisters would be incarcerated and, without a doubt, like the Crypts, be able to protect themselves in jail. They were a collection of Miss Trunchbull’s from Roald Dahl’s 1988 novel Matilda, where the strap and washing one’s mouth out with soap were daily occurrences. Meanwhile, the other teachers were like Ms. Jennifer Honey, sane, educated, invested and fun, painting God as an entity that was part of everyone’s light. A type of grandfather, loving and generous, not as a character out of a Stephen King novel.
We have two archetypes stemming from the same faith supporting opposing running mates for the President’s seat. And then you have Barrett, who claims to be a devout Catholic. Anyone running for public office declaring their faith is never good. A Catholic no less, who accepted a position from someone who is misogynistic and has broken more Catholic tenents than one could count. The opportunity for advancement no different from reaching out to the serpent that told Eve she needed a snack, and an apple would do the trick. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt to see whether she dares to rule on issues in a manner void of her religion with outcomes that benefit the whole, but I’m not holding my breath. Her duty is to mindfully distance herself from her religious beliefs to make room for wisdom to prevail.
My belief system stems not from fabled stories but personal experiences. There is no question in my mind that there exists an enlightened dimension, and humanity is not it, not with people walking the planet who already believe they’re God, immune from the rules that exist for the masses. As long as we have separation, we’re not hitting the mark, and in many ways, the upside-down world we’re currently occupying is about aligning ourselves so we can hit that mark. Don’t get me wrong; there are, have been and will be amazing human beings, but they’re not tipping the scales of late, in the areas of leadership across the board. We need more, and I believe they are turning the corner.
I also believe Love is the most potent power that each and everyone one of us can activate in our lives, but as mentioned in earlier blog posts, it’s a bitch because we can’t authentically practice it and be in ego. We need to take responsibility for ourselves. We can’t impose our views or will on others. We need to love those who have crossed us and be generous with those we otherwise wouldn’t be—behaving from a place that might not be familiar to how we’ve been raised but honours our hearts. We need to see every person as an aspect of ourselves. To mistreat, wrong or bring harm to another is to bring all of that upon ourselves. Love is about transparency, not having attachments, and striving to live in the highest realm of who we are. Love is being okay if someone has another opinion and learning from it instead of dominating it. Love is recognizing we genuinely are one family. Love has no room for war or fighting. Those are polarizing actions keeping separation alive. Love is standing outside of our comfort zone so we can practice empathy for one another. Love is void of drama and enveloping each other, including ourselves in light. Love holds no expectation and is filled with intention. It’s our attachment to the outcome where the struggle lays. Love is discipline, recognizing when we are in judgement and knowing that resistance breeds hate. It’s not easy. The tenets of Love are demanding, but that’s where we birth Christ, Buddha and other avatars who demonstrate that unconditional love. For me, religion is an illusion because it allows us to do the minimal by showing up instead of living up to where we need to be. I understand the community it brings together and the merits in that, and I’m not dismissing it because that’s important. My issue is when it’s being leveraged on a political stage.
I believe if Christ ever did return, the last place he’d walk into would be a church with all the heinous violations that have transpired over the years upon those that trusted the organization. He’d embrace the environmentalists, and I think that he’d make quick friends with the atheists because they didn’t use God as a bargaining chip to augment their marketing pitch. Instead, remaining neutral, not betraying or deceiving anyone. Being an atheist doesn’t mean someone lacks compassion in the same way that being Catholic doesn’t mean someone is automatically good. Atheists don’t believe in purchasing a rung on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ Face it, it’s hard to be objective to an institution that is the holder of the largest acquisition of property on the planet, dominated by male energy, has its own city, bank, and art collection, not to mention secrets. Transparency is an aspect of Love, and it cannot exist wrapped in ego and secrecy.
So here we have it—two reactions subscribing to the same religion on opposite sides. The insanity behind that notion is stunning, but so too is the leniency towards corruption that historically would never have been tolerated and is slowly rising like a frog in boiling water, unaware.
Religion has no place in any courthouse in any land, but compassion and equality aimed at human expansion certainly do. That’s why the loss of RBG was significant. Organized religion fuels precisely what we need less of – separation. The Diety, I believe in has compassion for everyone. He/She doesn’t believe in packing guns but in unity, progressive in distributing wealth and focusing on the environment. We know what matters to each of us, and at the end of the day, it’s between us and the Universe, Life, God, whatever term you wish to use. It’s your journey, your karma, your happiness. You’re the architect.
So therein lays the irony. Let’s Love and respect each other. Let’s not look away when one of us needs help. When we see something difficult, let’s be part of the solution. This state of discombobulated Catholic affairs has no room in any election except for the aspect of Love, which rests not only at its core but at the core of all faiths.
The politics of religion is no different from going to the mob to focus one’s moral compass.