THE TRUTH ABOUT MY CATHOLICISM

  1. My father is the son of a Congregationalist minister, and my mother was raised basically agnostic.
  2. I grew up Presbyterian, because that was the nearest Protestant church in our town.
  3. But I liked Catholic girls pretty early.
  4. Before I married my Catholic wife, I told her mother that I wouldn't convert unless I really meant it, but that I had no problem raising Catholic children.
  5. My mother-in-law died before I decided to convert. In fact, it was at her funeral that I recognized I felt at home in the Catholic Church.
  6. To the extent that I feel at home in any church, I mean. I sometimes describe myself as a non-practicing agnostic Catholic convert. My faith is real, but so is my doubt.
  7. Before I converted, I asked the ex-Jesuit who'd married us if it was OK that I took most of this stuff as metaphor, not as gospel. "It's not just OK," he said, "it's the only way that makes any sense."
  8. There's a lot I hate about the Church as an institution, and I recognize it has done a lot of evil through the ages. And it wasn't easy converting as the child abuse scandal was coming to light.
  9. I talked to the same Jesuit about this, and he told me that people who knew his politics sometimes asked him why he didn't just leave the Church. "But leave it to whom?" he asked me.
  10. I occasionally go to weekday Mass at the Church of the Holy Innocents near our offices.
  11. I am currently serving as a sponsor, at my local parish's request, for somebody else going through the process to convert.
  12. I still have to peek at the cheat sheet for most of the prayers.
  13. My family was mostly OK with my decision to become Catholic.
  14. But this year my mother told my wife she hoped we understood why they'd be spending Easter with my brother and his family instead of us. "It's the religious differences," she explained.
  15. "The religious differences?!" I said, when my wife told me this. "Does she think we don't celebrate Easter? We invented Easter!"
  16. My wife teased me for saying "we," and I shrugged. "I'm on your team," I told her. She smiled. "You're the star player," she said.