Wanna know something that irritates me?
A friend in my Facebook feed.
He likes to post anti-Catholic stuff. Anything goes, but his pet issue is all the billions (laugh, snort) in gold, gemstones, and art masters held by the Vatican that could be sold to feed the poor and give shelter to the homeless. Other popular topics "shared" in a spirit of Facebook friendship include how wrong confession is, how contradictory the Pope is, how Mary is the height of idolatry, and of course, the never-ending stream of pedophile priests. Pretty much he'll post anything that demonstrates how thoroughly CHRISTIAN he is, with CHRISTIAN being defined as NOT Catholic.
I've been annoyed by this public line of thought from him for a long time. I tolerate it. I shut my mouth. Not once have I ever commented on any of this. (I know! Can you believe it?)
But then he posted something that made my mouth drop to the floor: He gave a public testimony about how he left Catholicism some 25 years ago.
Well, duh. I should have been on top of that one from the beginning. I feel like a fool for not catching it. The biggest Catholic bashers are almost always ex-Catholics. Especially ones who had no general understanding of what Catholicism is to begin with.
So here's what I'd like to say to him: If you broke up with your girlfriend 25 some years ago, how come you keep talking about her all the time? And do you think about your ex every time you have sex with your wife?
I feel the same about ex-Jehovah's Witnesses, ex-Mormons, ex-Christians, ex-Wiccan, and pretty much ex-anything. Left your birth religion? Left the spirituality of your youthfully ignorant choice? Great. But then shut the hell up, because if you keep talking about it, keep ripping on it, keep harping on it - well it sort of looks like you have unresolved issues and guilt and maybe - just maybe - might be trying reeeeeeaallly hard to justify your actions.
Am I wrong about this? I mean, come on, when you talk just as much about how wrong Catholicism is as you do about how right your particular brand of Protestantism or atheism is, I'm not exactly convinced of your convictions.
I don't begrudge anyone getting their 15 minutes of fame concerning their religious break-up. If you're really articulate about it, I'm cool with a blog post. Maybe even a book (but it'd better be damn good, because leaving one religion for another one doesn't make you unique or anything, especially if you were a contracepting, selfish, wine-soaked atheist, since those are a dime a dozen.) I'll even give you a pass for a quarterly "ANTI" Facebook post on the religion of your choice/scorn.
But really, if you've moved on, then please, do it. Move on. Get over it.
Either that or admit that some, probably most religious switcheroo decisions are emotional and knee-jerk and you end up back-pedaling for years as you try to figure it all out. That, my friends, is the real Facebook story that should get shared: Feel good now, rationalize later.
In the meantime, let me know when you find all those billions. Just remember that the Catholic Church is the largest and most generous charity in the world.
But, hey, why mess with facts when you're too busy trying to soothe your own conscience?