Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Why I Remain a Catholic" by Clare Julian Carbone ARCWP

My Response to John Churchman’s question - Why I remain in the Roman Catholic Church
The question you pose to each of us is an extremely important one. It is a question I have been grappling with a lot particularly in light of the fact that my Faith Community for the past 6 years has been with an Episcopal Church here in SLC.  I have been known to introduce myself on various occasions, as a Roman Catholic taking refuge at St. Paul’s! I deeply love and give heartfelt thanks to God for the wisdom and inclusivity of this beautiful community where I have been welcomed, loved and nurtured. I have had to reflect deeply as to why I do not fully cross over and leave behind me the wounding, discouragement and struggle of being Roman Catholic.  This is my response to that question – to myself, to you, and to God.

It is helpful to keep in mind that the innumerable denominations within Christianity are all off-shoots of the Mother Church. They are each a fragment of what Jesus envisioned and prayed would one day, ‘All Be One’. How does the Oneness of God, the Unified-all Merciful Heart of God, bear our constant need for judgment and division?  Whether or not we consciously realize it, we each carry deep in our psyches the age old wounds of these multiple spiritual divorces and with it the profound longing for reconciliation. I choose therefore to remain within the Catholic faith because of the Oneness and wholeness Jesus prayed for and for which we are all longing. 

This is not meant to imply that all would become RC, just the opposite.  Instead the hope is that RC would acknowledge, honor, and even celebrate the diversity of ways in which human beings express their love and worship of God.  A wholeness within the greater Church and an inclusive love and acceptance of one another as brothers and sisters would prevail - just as a mother loves and cherishes each unique child. As Mother Church is healed from within, her children too will be healed, reconciled with one another and at One with God in Christ.  

 Mary too is of great significance in my decision.  Roman Catholicism unlike many denominations unabashedly celebrates her and reverently includes her in the story of our redemption. The Marian Dogmas, though often only partially understood, hold a key place I believe in understanding humanity’s inclusive status within the Godhead.  When we celebrate the feast of the Assumption for instance, we are acknowledging a visual representation of the female gender being unequivocally received by the Trinity.  Carl Jung wrote that Pope Pius XII’s formal pronouncement of the Assumption in 1950 was “the most significant theological event since the Reformation”, and I believe this is because the Church, inspired by the Holy Spirit, (albeit somewhat unconsciously), was led to acknowledge through Mary the place of equality in the Godhead of the female gender. Mary’s Assumption is able to give us a visual representation of this, whereas Jesus’ Ascension could not. Jesus, having redeemed All of humanity by his Love and enduring Oneness, could only physically embody one of the two genders he lived, died and was raised for. The hierarchy exploits this and teaches that since Jesus was male, only males therefore can image him and be ordained. But this was not due to God’s preferential treatment of the male species but rather due to the practical physical limitation that one human being was unable to embody more than one gender in one lifetime.  Mary’s presence assists us in this dilemma.

When we as Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Assumption and other Marion dogmas, though our rational minds may miss the deeper meanings, our souls in essence are receiving the sublime message being conveyed that the feminine aspect of God expressed through the feminine gender of Mary is unequivocally accepted and empowered by God along with the male. 
This is precisely why I anticipate with great hope the confirmation by Pope Francis of what is known as the Fifth Marion Dogma – that Mary is Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix with Christ. Mary and the Dogmas associated with her visually depict for us the reality from God’s perspective that the female is equally empowered and co-creators with God in Christ.  Rather than eclipse the person of Christ, as some would argue, the Marion dogmas, from my perspective, show us that the wholeness we have in Christ is extended to the female as well.  The Fifth Marian dogma will I believe express and complete the image of this reality in a profound way – that every believer, male and female participates in the redemptive work of Christ.

 It is truly right for us to reverence Mary as part of our expressed Catholic faith. While it is through Christ alone that we are made fully whole and sinless, it is through Jesus and Mary together, in their human relatedness to one another on earth and in heaven, that we are given a vision of our ultimate human journey to God, fully alive, fully inclusive and absent of human exploitation, greed and dominating power. Mary’s contribution to our human journey towards wholeness cannot in my estimation be overstated. Therefore, I choose to remain within the Roman Catholic Church, in part, because Mary is there and she is a key to our understanding of the full inclusive envisioning of God’s human creation, male and female.

In the face of excommunication by the RC hierarchy which you refer to, I turn to Romans 8 and am reassured that NOTHING in all creation can ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  For further affirmation on the journey I turn to the women of the New Testament and am newly enlivened as I observe how Jesus loved, empowered and sent them forth to minister. To help me turn my focus away from my own propensity for judgment I look to St. Francis who profoundly understood the Oneness of God’s Creation, and with him pray, “Lord make me an instrument of your Peace”. Finally, for the human encouragement and belonging I too am in need of in my own earthly journey, in this time and in this place, I turn to my faith community, to many friends and loved ones and to the great hearted, courageous women and men of ARCWP.

Clare Julian Carbone, ARCWP
July 5, 2015

1 comment:

John Chuchman said...

I respect your devotion to Mary.
Having presented God as male, church hierarchy has tried to use Mary as some degree of feminine balance for people.
The feminine is already in the Godhead, for me as Holy Spirit.
Also, I abhor the way the hierarchy has presented Mary as passive and submissive hoping all women would behave so.

Too often, we have ignored the human aspect of Mary (and Jesus) concentrating solely on the Divine.

Respect for Mary (and All Women) has nothing to do with ROMAN. You know How Rome viewed Women. Love for Mary (and Women) surely would not keep me in the ROMAN Catholic Church. On the contrary . . .
Catholic evermore, Roman never again.