He was the sort of man who has only one love in his lifetime, and knows with the sick fervor of a fatalist that this love will be taken from him someday, and is hardly surprised when it happens.

-from 'Calcutta, Lord of Nerves,' by Poppy Z. Brite

I am Catholic, but not a good one. I don't listen to sermons, I don't go to church, I don't think that the priest is an essentially unique and special person. I don't even believe in God. But I am Catholic because I was born Catholic. I was baptized Catholic. I was circumcised and had my first communion. I have been to confession, but only once. I knew some of the prayers, but I have forgotten basically all of them since I no longer find myself in any situation where I have to use them. I have recited the rosary, the Hail Mary, the Our Father, etc. I have sung the songs. I have read the Bible on my own. Something that is not advisable since there is a proper channel of interpretation. That is why the new thing where they do something called 'Bible-sharing' where it's just the parishioners and probably a catechist without the presence of a priest, is confusing to me. It is pointless anyway since they go to mass every Sunday and have the official interpretation of the words in the Bible presented to them rather interestingly by the priest. The thing about Catholicism is that unless you change religion, or is excommunicated, which is official and public, you remain Catholic. You could be an asshole-scumbag-piece-of-shit human being, but still this does not revoke your

being a Catholic. Prisons are filled with Catholics. There are Catholics in government who are also scumbags and liars and adulterers and do other immoral things. Just last night this famous politician was talking about how the Reproductive Health Law poses a serious threat to our salvation in the afterlife. He was talking about the immorality going on in other countries, specifically in the immoral West which has allowed abortion and contraception, which are both condemned by the Church. The immoral West is bringing their immoral influence here, in this beautiful and morally pure and pristine Christian nation through the U.N. and a few interest groups. These groups, they say, will gain a lot of money through the passing of the Reproductive Health Law. It is also because of Western liberal influence that young people are having sex, doing drugs, listening to music such as rap and rock-and-roll, reading books such as Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code, and basically just having ideas that are a cause of concern for the eternal welfare of their souls. This very same politician is regularly-mentioned in the tabloids for his amorous extramarital activities, something that has been openly discussed before in a tell-all confession where the wife tearfully laid bare their marital problems which were not specified but most probably were very serious since it elicited that much emotions from her. But that was years ago, and presumably the man has changed. He is more family-oriented now, since he is a grandfather already, with the recent news of his son fathering a child out of wedlock. Before he was a politician, he used to be an action movie star. He had lead roles in dozens of films in the 90s where he killed bad guys - drug lords and their ilk, corrupt police and politicians, pimps, basically all these goons with guns, whatever their motivations might be. So now when he is in the tabloids again for some salacious story involving another young and beautiful woman, most are not surprised. It is expected behavior from someone in that industry. But was he not Catholic during that time too? And does not the Catholic Church frown upon having relations outside of marriage? How does one balance these clearly opposing expectations? He must have had terrible existential dilemmas at that time which upset his head, and led him into the comforting arms of a beautiful, giving young woman. Take note as well that it is always young beautiful women that he is involved with who are somewhere between the ages of twenty and

twenty-nine. Often they are fair-skinned, have long black hair, and can sing and dance decently at the very least. Like that guy, I am Catholic. Am I a better Catholic? Well, yes. Objectively, if there's a list of things that Catholics should not do, I am certain that most of the things on that list I have not done. I also don't smoke, don't drink, don't dance, don't sing, I don't even talk to people if I really don't have to. I am single and growing my hair long, which makes me closer to the image of Jesus Christ than most priests and politicians. I am stating my qualifications here as a Catholic to show you, the person reading this, how easy it is to remain Catholic if you just remain silent and enclosed in your own sphere of activities. And even if you do bullshit stupid things, you'd still be considered Catholic. The Vatican would not issue an official reprimand asking you to refrain form further acts of assholery. You don't see them being consulted during noon-time television shows on how this young rising starlet should lead her life. This is because the Catholic Church wants to be as inclusive as possible and would not meddle with your status as a Catholic unless you are a liberation theology priest who has openly declared that the Church should side with the poor first and that priests should not rub their elbows with the entrenched political and economic clans too much. They also don't like it if you're a somewhat progressive nun who openly and directly challenge Church doctrines. But so long as you keep in toe with the doctrine, and is not that perilous to the organization, no matter what bullshit you do, you're still considered a Catholic. The Catholic Church should be more discerning on who they admit into the fold. If you're in the morality business, assuming that morality can and should be turned into a business, it does not help with your credibility or morality ratings let's say, when you have all these scumbags still considered Catholics. I propose, as a Catholic, that there should be stringent ethical and morality tests administered by competent and non-biased ethicists. Also, it does not help that one is immediately born into Catholicism. The child being baptized, without its consent mind you, could be a psychopath and murder someone someday. Do psychopaths have souls that can be saved even. Being a bad Catholic who does not even believe in a soul, and who think the Catholic Church in its present structure should be altogether abolished, these are just a few of my thoughts.


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