The question of how Catholic a person might be never came up in polite conversation before, so none of us ever considered it.
Sure we studied the catechism all those years ago, but who remembers those things that we had to memorize? It's not as if we used the knowledge. How many of us don't remember a word of Irish, and didn't we all have to learn that as well?
So the Irish Times has to go and ask us how Catholic we are.
Wouldn't you know it but I flunked the test.
Does that make me some sort of Protestant, or just a heathen?
Apparently, we're all fine with believing in the Resurrection, and we go to Mass....maybe not every Sunday, but we're there more than twice a year. No one is calling us Chr-Easter Catholics.
After that, it's all downhill.
When asked if they believed in the virgin birth, the average Irish Catholic paused.
Go on, really, a virgin birth? If you've done much historical research, you'd realize that the notion of virgin birth comes to us from the ancient Egyptians, who had a strong influence on the Mediterranean culture in Biblical times. So maybe the Apostles lifted the tale and did a bit of a revision to fit the narrative they were telling, and Isis became Mary.
That's one point off.
How about the Magisterium? Do we all believe that only the bishops and the Pope can teach the faith?
In light of the incomprehensible scope of the clerical sex abuse scandal, not only in Ireland but worldwide, who would trust the bishops when they open their mouths? And we're supposed to believe that women don't have the capacity to teach the faith because they're not bishops, but they can't be bishops because it's a men-only club.
Two points gone. I've lost forty percent with one question to go.
The Protestants decided long ago that the Eucharist isn't the real body of Christ, but symbolizes the sacrifice made to atone for our sins. Let's face it, that sort of concept makes far more sense than believing we commit acts of cannibalism at every Mass.
And so I've flunked.
But there's one aspect of Catholicism that I try to follow, and in my non-Magisterial opinion, it's the most important.
Don't worry about the details, about the nit-picking that goes on among a group of men with nothing better to do with their time than ponder minutiae. It comes down to loving one another. Isn't that what being a Catholic really means?