Sunday 4 June 2023

An anonymous comment left on a Rod Dreher thread five years ago


I’ve had a strange few years after leaving academics and the life of a professor. After a life on the far left, I’ve become, somehow, very conservative, disillusioned with 'progress' and 'justice.'
More to the point, I’ve felt pulled in the direction of Catholicism. Which is inappropriate, because I still don’t believe and I’m not sure that I ever will. Yet I attend mass semi-regularly, quiet in the back. I can’t stop reading the texts and histories of Christianity. I’ve asked several times whether I can convert and just be the atheist Catholic in the parish. Why? I don’t understand it myself.
And after this latest scandal, I feel double the pull, as if there’s a war on and I’m drawn to go and enlist. Whether I believe or not, I feel as though Catholicism must be saved, as though its continued critical mass (no pun intended) is the last, invisible, unacknowledged line of defense against something historic and terrible—and people who are willing to stand up against the current culture and who continue to believe in the anachronistic notion of integrity must go and man the pews and hold territory, hold the line, for everyone.
I’m rather confused myself, I suppose. I’m told it’s not quite appropriate that I try to convert to Catholicism as an atheist. And because I still believe in integrity, even if I don’t always perfectly practice it, I can’t bring myself to lie just to join.
But the pull is strong and getting stronger the more damage is done. And I’ll continue to attend mass to occupy space, to be some part of an important reality that can’t be allowed to fade.
What happens to the world if the worse things get, the more good people flee or simply concede, rather than fight? Nothing good, I think. My kids have to live in this world and in this country. It needs to not be a world or a country in which the values of Christianity have been, according to common wisdom, entirely discredited as nonsense that only the superstitious and repressed believe in any longer.
Meanwhile, I find myself trying very hard to believe, pushing hard on the “In” door while others are pushing to get out.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds a great deal like Rod D himsel. Whipping Hamlet drama around something about which he made up his mind a long time ago. And lots of me me me.