It’s interesting to know that upon reading my stance on divorce – one may assume that I’m a person of faith – I’m not. I don’t even know if I should take that as a compliment or insult to be perfectly honest.
So in this first of what I imagine to be a multi-part series, I would want to make clear that my seeming steadfast defense of the sacrament of matrimony doesn’t necessarily mean that I actually believe in what it stands for. Well, I do; I just don’t think it’s necessary.
Of course, stating it that way makes me seem utterly against it. That’s why I’m going to try to get a bit thorough – all I ask is for your patience and open mind in reading every nuance that I will mention throughout the series – which I must warn you – could lack proper cohesion 1 I usually write these things as they enter my head, and rarely edit it
I don’t pretend to be a good religious fellow – I already admitted that if I get married in the Church’s context, it would most likely solely be for the woman. The short of it is that I don’t see why the presence or absence of a wedding would change how I feel about the person I love.
People like me tend to be victims of culture. I am aware that my “preference” of marriage is not popular for any woman. After all, how can any woman feel “secure” when they know that their man doesn’t feel the need to get married, 2 Even if they had absolutely no intention to leave the woman till the end of his days right? That view in and of itself already puts me at a disadvantage when getting into any relationship.
In light of that inescapable dilemma, I would certainly be more willing to enter a ritual I am not entirely convinced of – if the alternative is to lose the person I love. Given how the majority of women have marriage as a goal (thanks to Religion/culture) – I will have to “sell out” if I want a shot at personal “happiness.”
“So if you have no problems being with one person for the rest of your life, then why have any issue with marriage at all?”
That’s the question I’ll have to keep on answering – and my answer would be something along these lines:
I don’t mind getting married, but to me, the different types of “marriages” imply different things – and since they are all ultimately optional – I try my best to seriously respect the implications those rituals entail.
Respect the rules? Then why do you purposefully go against teachings of the church you don’t agree with?
Again, a great question. And one I definitely can answer.
I was born catholic – I did not choose to be so. I had no choice in what doctrines/dogma I was expected to build my [initial] moral foundations on. But now that I’m older, I’m more inclined to use secular humanism as the basis for any/all of my actions. This is probably why I ultimately have no moral dissonance when I choose not to follow the catholic-specific teachings.
Take for example, that whole thing with the RH Bill; I never ever argued the bill in context of being a “good christian.” The fact is both sides will have their respective stances are the “more catholic” thing to do – and neither would be wrong. But to be perfectly honest, if we were to split hairs about it, if people were to take what they call “faith” seriously, I’d say that the Church would or should have the final say. The whole I-will-go-against-the-church-because-I-personally-believe-that-it’s-wrong-when-it-comes-to-this-issue type of reasoning is ultimately a specious argument to make because it reeks of defensiveness.
They way I see it, you obviously know you’re doing something contrary to the tenets of your faith, but would still want to do it anyways while still being considered as a “good catholic” – it’s selfish and quite frankly, a double standard if ever I’ve seen one. So your preference is to bypass the whole echelon of people charged with fostering the community and in charge of interpreting the teachings you have chosen to ascribe to – because you obviously know God better than they (the Religious heirarchy) do.
That said, that doesn’t automatically make your stance “wrong” – but neither does it make you a “good christian” according to the Church. Let re-state an analogy I’ve used in the past: You cannot force your daughter to attend an all-male school (and vice-versa) on the premise that education should be universal. Or how about an easier one: disregarding the dress code by invoking one’s right to freely express themselves. There’s nothing wrong having those preferences, in fact sometimes they could even make more sense than not. Still, that doesn’t give you the right to change schools’ policies.
The same goes for dogma/doctrine. You may agree/disagree with some teachings, but the fact is it’s those very things that differentiate the various religions from one another. So if you plan to go against them, regardless if what you’re doing is ultimately “correct” – at least have the decency to admit that you’re no longer, technically speaking, being that which you claim to be (a “good catholic”). If the Church has an “official” stance on the subject matter – and you choose not follow it, then you are not being a good catholic. Unless the Church changes its rules – then you are breaking them – and that is not being “good” no matter how you fucking slice it.
So how do you avoid being a hypocrite when it comes to these things?
Oh that’s easy; I just accept the implications of my choices. So say with the RH bill, I’m more likely to say “I believe in the RH Bill, if that makes me a bad Catholic, SO BE IT.” Same goes for pre-marital sex, homosexuality, etc.
Again, I base my decisions on secular humanism. I do not feel obligated to “please the church” in my quest to be a decent human being. I don’t need the church to tell me it’s bad to steal and hurt; or good to love and serve. And I certainly prefer people respect my opinions not because they’re the words of a “good catholic”, but simply (and hopefully) because the logic would stand on its own.
Okay I get it! So what has all this got to do with you being iffy about the sacrament?
Because apparently, a lot of people who have gone through it don’t seem to realise how serious it should be (as evidenced by their pushing for a divorce law).
Why not just do what they do, do it for the sake of doing it, do it because it’s the normal thing to do, and just don’t expect it to be as serious as it should be. Why are you getting too hung up on the semantics of the vows?
Good point, I do value humanistic secularism more than dogma or doctrine. I am willing to go against Church teachings if I feel I have to. But for all those chances of “being a bad catholic” – I would never do them out of spite or mockery. I do them because I feel in my gut that what I do instead, despite being “bad” in the eyes of the church, still falls inline with being a decent human being. But I can’t seem to let myself be a “bad christian” when it comes to the sacrament – and just promise even if I couldn’t really guarantee anything ultimately.
The sacrament in and of itself, neither makes me any better or worse as a human. I mean, how better is a couple who gets into a marriage after a month of being together and divorces a year after – against say, an unmarried couple who stuck together considerably longer? The sacrament doesn’t necessarily change your capacity to be decent human beings – that all depends on you, not some ritual.
However, getting into it (the sacrament) knowing that I cannot guarantee what it requires, and knowing that I wasn’t forced to do it in the first place, to me, is knowingly mocking it. I know exactly what the vows are saying, there’s no room for misinterpretation when you say things like “in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, till death do us part.” So its annoying that there are people who want to separate in the first place! 3 If you can’t make good on your promise, then don’t fucking promise in the first place! And yet obviously, people do it all the time – and would even argue their having the right to do so.
To contemplate doing the same as they do doesn’t sit well with me. It’s not because I think less of them, but because, of the very few good traits I have, not being a hypocrite is one I’m particularly proud of… and I’ll be damned if I lose that part of me.
I feel that Church vows are promises that no one should be required to utter. It’s simply too difficult to guarantee what sacramental vows imply. Anyone who wants to get a divorce/annulment will be first to agree with that. If we assume that people just promise for the sake of promising (despite being aware that those promises could be broken) and still want the sacrament for the whole social aspect of it (elaborate show, etc.) We have to accept the likelihood that they’re getting into it for the wrong reasons – and if they do push through with it, they have essentially undermined the whole point of the sacrament.
Compounded with the fact that it wasn’t a requirement in the first place, I personally would prefer to avoid it – out of respect – instead of insisting on getting it just because “it’s what everyone expects” – knowing fully well that I’m not 100% sold on the idea.
I’m totally down civil weddings on the other hand; they are, in some cases, actually necessary for practical living, starting a family, etc. And even then I guess there would have to be some qualifications to be made – which I’ll do in the next part. In fact, a lot of the things I mentioned in this post are still not fully qualified claims. I had to take a detour and talk about other issues in context of faith in general (RH, etc.) – in an attempt to put in context why I tend to respect the sacrament more than I care to admit.
In the next post, I’ll attempt to get even deeper as to why these technicalities are a big deal for me personally – and hopefully come up with some “solution(s)” – if only to satiate my own mental masturbation 🙂