It's Sunday and I'm not going to church. Opting out has nothing to do with this afternoon's walk-through of our new house, tomorrow morning's closing, or our move in three days. I haven't been to church in a very long time.
That's not entirely true.
A few weeks ago, I visited a Presbyterian church as a "secret shopper" for a clergy friend under consideration for a call. Many months earlier, I left an Episcopal worship service before Communion. I walked out backwards, a technique perfected while working as a pastoral associate and then as a lay liturgical minister. It would be more accurate to note that I haven't attended Mass at my parish in a very long time.
I love my parish. Being run by Jesuits practically guarantees smart sermons and competent liturgy. It also guarantees a community that takes seriously the Ignatian meme, "people for others" by actively serving those in need. As for the building, the beautiful sanctuary does indeed evoke feelings of sanctuary. Gorgeous music.
So what's my problem?
For one thing, the new, which is to say throwback to old, language of the Mass. We're almost a year into this linguistic carnage but other, more pressing issues like censoring religious sisters and getting involved with U.S. partisan politics currently have Roman Catholics in an uproar. And while I'm also steamed about that stuff, at least I can stop reading all about it. If I attend Mass, I have to hear a liturgy that reminds me of . . . nothing good.
For another, there's the gluten-free Host hassle, too long to get into here and now. Stay tuned.
Do I miss Mass?
The last time I allowed myself to go deeply into my feelings about not going to Mass and not receiving Communion, I ended up sobbing myself into near-hyperventilation.
Well over a decade ago, when asked why the h-e-double hockey sticks I was becoming Roman Catholic, I lobbed the shot back with, "Can't become a lapsed Catholic until I become a Catholic."
Big laughs all around. At the time. Now? Not so much. Lord, have mercy.