I grew up strict Roman Catholic. I was pretty “goody, goody” as a kid growing up. The first time I swore was when I was in Grade 7, and I did so on a dare. I remember it clearly. There were only a handful of boys in the classroom with me and they kept promoting me to swear, which I did. I said, “Fuck off,” but it was merely stated. There was no emotion behind it.
In my late teens and early twenties, I thought of entering the seminary. I attended church numerous times a week. After I hit thirty and then completed university, this desire to attend the seminary only intensified. I started to attend church daily and sought to complete the two philosophy courses I required in order to apply for the seminary. I even started researching and corresponding with religious orders and the diocese of Toronto. Around this time my brother had died, my dad was dying, another family member was fighting cancer. My father passed away and then my mother got sick; this was the first of my doubts in God. Also, I began to question my religious education and teachings. I began to disagree with the church on its stance on homosexuality, women’s issues – their role within the church (priesthood opt), abortion teachings, and its stance on married priest and celibacy (I believe they should make this optional). I guess the final straw that broke, which caused me to question my faith, were the horrendous reports of sexual abuse by priests coming out of Ireland, some states in the US, and Newfoundland. I ceased going to church.
Funny thing though, I never stopped believing in God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit. I continued to pray.
At the age of 40, I came out, and with the churches stance on gays, church was history. I attempted to go back. First, I attended the United Church, and then Presbyterian Church. I am not sure why I ceased attending church altogether, nor have I really quested why. Perhaps this was because I had my faith. I realized I did not need to attend church.
I was watching online some of the victims of child molestation by priest from the latest report coming from Pennsylvania when a Bible verse came to mind:
“No longer will they teach neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,”
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.”
Heb 8:11 (NIV)
Actually, the recall was from the previous verse:
“… I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”
Heb 8:10 (NIV)
I believe the abuse and the residential school issues are indications that the institution of the church is dead. The church is done (The residential school issue, in case you are not familiar, was a series of boarding schools for indigenous peoples founded by the Canadian government and ran by churches for assimilating indigenous children into Canadian culture. Many children attending these schools were physically, emotionally and spiritually abused). It’s leaders no longer have the moral authority to guide or teach people. Does this mean that the spiritual body, which is the true church, is likewise decease? Of course not, I believe we the church, it’s people, have arrived at the moment where the church, as an institution, has concluded and we are the cusp where Christ will be found from within in our contemplation and from within our hearts.
I for one believe and I don’t require attending a building to prove it.
—Robert Confiant 25 August 2018