Taking A Step Back

Our generation is so far the largest generation that tolerates reading less and less. I don’t think people read those lengthy blogs we see now and then so maybe I’m a little thankful for this being one of them. There’s a feeling of satisfaction for transforming all those thoughts into words on a white backdrop as well as a fear for being judged for producing them in the first place.

Even so, I’m really trying to not let those little anxieties control my actions. So here’s a little bit of my mind:

A couple years ago, the Parish of Philadelphia was rather successful. It collected enough money to build a new church in Downingtown since the previous couldn’t seat everyone. I even remember thinking I would never see this new church since they declared it would take years to finish. A couple months ago, that last drop of paint dried and there’s barely a day where I don’t pass it. It’s aesthetically modern, unlike the old that could barely hold any one regular Sunday mass. It stands taller than any other church in Downingtown once stood and seems to symbolize a powerful step ahead in Catholicism. But I can’t help but view it as a step back.

A lot of people are familiar with the Christian scandals, and in this case I’m referring to the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Philadelphia. I’d rather not go into specifics about this said “scandal”, but after those who participated were convicted, a massive change occurred in my life as well as many others around me.

I felt violated. After learning that the Monseigneur that I confessed to and listened to preach every Sunday had covered up this scandal for almost 20 years, the church that was being built right outside seemed to have negative appeal to me instead of positive.I remember one night at the dinner table, a night as ordinary as any other, I confessed to my parents that I thought I was an atheist. There was a breath of silence until my father laughed and told me just like that I wasn’t. And I was shocked. My father, who I remember never coming to church with my mother and I, was saying that I was still a Catholic. Why? Because that’s just who my family saw themselves as. Safely organized in the Catholic realm of the many illusory categories of humanity regardless of who they really are.

Even so, all these stories on the news and conversations about the stupidity of Catholicism never sat right with me despite the shortsighted decisions of a handful of priests. On Christmas mass only a week ago, I looked at all the regular churchgoers and couldn’t make up my mind on whether I respected them for their ability to forgive or shook my head at them for their ignorance.

This post isn’t about insulting or finding a right or wrong, it’s about taking a step back regardless of who we think we are. Finding the good in something or someone is quite difficult after we’ve made our mind up about them.

A couple years ago on YouTube, I remember just browsing through videos and finding myself in a section where an American insulted Australia. I forget the exact insult, but the title wave of responses created a rift that will never be erased on this social networking site. Those videos will never be taken down, and only have the potential to gain more and more views along with more and more upset citizens who can’t help being who they are and which pile of dirt they happened to be born on. This reminded me of reading the book The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. He mentioned numerous times about how thankful he was to gain the chance to learn how to read and how he was thus more intelligent than many of the other slaves. One example is when he noticed that some of them would get into fights with slaves from other plantations, arguing that their Master was better than the other’s. Obviously, most of us full heartedly agree upon this idea to be ludicrous, fighting for which “master” was best. But why do we have to say or feel that something is stupid when the other can’t help but feel that way?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that despite humanity’s continuous steps forward, there’s always somehow another step back. We always have to carry a prejudice towards something and make others feel less worthy of being who they are because of who we are.

Since I’m publishing this blog on the New Year, my New Year’s resolution is simply to try to find the good in everything. Because when we make something out to be stupid or not as good as doing or being this or that, we become cruel to others. I made the mistake of looking down upon Catholicism. I’m not saying I’m a Catholic and I’m not saying I’m not. To me, labels are the biggest bridges that produce a prejudice. I’m just saying that looking down upon something, whatever it is, has more of a negative effect than a positive. Instead of continuously looking down upon something, maybe we should find it in our hearts to forgive, regardless whoever that heart may belong to or wherever that heart may reside.

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