Growing up, religion was never forced upon me, as my parents were not very religious. But my mom, either out of boredom, loneliness, or for entertainment, was more than willing to take an interest in whatever religion someone, anyone would come over to the house to talk to her about. That's why one of her best friends was a Jehovah's Witness. She flirted with that, and later she flirted with Catholicism. That's where I kind of got sucked into the whole thing. I don't really know how it happened, but one day I'm sorting baseball cards, the next day I'm being baptized in the Catholic Church. I had no interest in this church thang, but it seemed to make my mom happy, so I went along. I even tried to do that whole CCD thing for about a month. But eventually, my differences with my Church on a religious and social (snobs!) level became so obvious that I simply quit. I cannot understand why more people don't quit the Catholic Church in favor of churches that more closely resemble their own beliefs. Let me try and illustrate what I'm talking about.
If you're a Catholic, then you subscribe to the notion that the Pope is infallible. To the Roman Catholic Church, infallible means “incapable of error in expounding doctrine on faith or morals.” You get that? Incapable of error. So if the Pope says it. That's the way it is. If you disagree, you disagree with the Pope. But the Pope is incapable of error. So if you insist on disagreeing, you are wrong. So why remain a Catholic?
The Catholic Church is against the death penalty. If you are pro-death penalty, and you are Catholic, guess what? You're wrong. If you try to argue with any sort of biblical “eye for an eye” mumbo jumbo, well, might want to look for a new church that agrees with you. Because the Catholic Church is pretty clear on the matter.
The Church is against any form of birth control, including condoms when one partner has AIDS. Do you use condoms? Are you on the pill? If so, then you are obviously not Catholic, because that would be a slap in the face to the Pope, who I remind you, is infallible.
Pro-choice? Same thing. There's simply no way to reconcile this with remaining a Catholic. When a Catholic priest caused hell for refusing to give communion to John Kerry because he was pro-choice, I had no problem with it. Thems the rules, and I found the decision to be intellectually consistent What I I still don't understand is why the Church has no problem giving communion to its pro-death penalty and condom using members. That's intellectual inconsistency.
Early on I knew my beliefs were not consistent with the Catholicism. And I felt, and I still feel, that my beliefs are correct. So I quit. Well, I also don't believe Jesus is the son of God, but that's another story. The point is, how does the Catholic Church survive, when I can pretty much guarantee that at least 80% of its flock disagrees with the Pope on some issue, whether it be the death penalty, birth control, abortion, or plethora of other issues. To me it would seem, under the established rules, disagreement should equal excommunication.
But then who would fill the collection plate? Hypocrites, Catholics AND the church they belong to.