I’ve turned my “About Me” page into several shorter pages, arranged hierarchically:
- About Me
That’s partly because I’m a practicing Catholic who is also an American citizen: not an American whose name shows up in a Catholic parish directory.
America has been a Protestant country, with some tolerance for people who don’t go to the ‘right’ church.
Following my beliefs in a system that isn’t quite built around them can be challenging.
Take ‘love thy neighbor,’ for example. As a platitude, it seems sufficiently fluffy. Acting as if I think it matters is where it gets hard.
As a Catholic, I’m expected to see everyone as my neighbor: a real person, created in the image of God, someone who matters. Everyone, no exceptions. (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 5:43-44, 22:36-40; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31, 10:25-37; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1789, 2258, 2260)
I’m also expected to see human life as special, sacred, a gift from God. (Catechism, 2258, 2260)
And as if that doesn’t make things awkward, I must also see every human being as a person.
A real person, a neighbor, someone who matters: created in the image of God. Someone I should — must — love. No exceptions. (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 5:43-44, 22:36-40; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31, 10:25-37; Catechism, 1789, 2258, 2260)
That’s everyone: even folks who are too young, too old or too sick to deserve life by today’s standards. And those who have committed serious crimes. On the other hand, defending the lives of innocent people is okay. Even if it means using force. Within reason. (Catechism, 2258-2317)
And then there’s social justice. The kind that makes sense.
I’m also obliged to support religious freedom. That’s religious freedom for everyone, not just me. Within reason. (Catechism, 2104-2109)
As I said: challenging.