Saturday 19 July 2008

Am I a cultural Catholic?

Because I recently quoted two priests on this blog, here and here (and because I always had ambivalent feelings about Jean-Paul Desbiens, great mind but often incredibly doctrinal), it made me wonder about my relation with my former faith. Am I a lapsed Catholic after all, as I mentioned in one of my earliest entries? Maybe the term cultural Catholic would fit me better. According to wikipedia "A cultural Catholic is an individual who belongs to the Roman Catholic Church but observes the religion's practices as a cultural tradition rather than a spiritual exercise. Cultural Catholics may not fully understand the theology that informs the religion's rituals, or may reject part or most of the theology as outdated or irrelevant to modern life. Cultural Catholics may attend Mass less than several times a year, or may not practice their religion at all, but still regard their association with the Catholic Church as a defining aspect of their identity."

That sure sounds like me. After all, I now quote two Catholic priests and consider them examples of what Québec's culture did best. It is no doubt that my country was shaped by Catholicism and so was my mind, to some extend. But then again, there is the essential question of faith: I do not believe in God and I am not planning to do so. The creed I repeat at mass when I do go to mass (and it hasn't happened in years) has beautiful but ultimately empty words, the Host does not become Flesh and the water of Baptism had no spiritual effect on me (a priest would of course utterly disagree with that). I can be deeply moved by Félix-Antoine Savard's prose in his Menaud, because they expresses such a profound and sincere love for Québec, but I see nowhere in the real world this God that inspired Savard so much. Therefore I should still consider myself a lapsed Catholic, maybe even an apostate.

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