Catholicism. Pretty big word, huh? The history rooted in those five syllables is enough to flood any one with emotion: happiness, joy, fear, and yes, even hate (especially hate). If we were to use a Time-Turner and go back through the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, we would see that Catholics were often persecuted simply for being Catholic. This happened mostly throughout England when Henry VIII declared himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England (check out the full history here), but the religion became the western norm as Irish and European Catholics sought refuge in America during the nineteenth century. A Catholic church could be seen in almost every neighbourhood, and Catholics had a place to be open about their religion. Even though Catholics made up 17 percent of the United States, they were still looked down upon for being different.
Fast forward to the 20th century, and the same stigma around Catholicism is still lingering. Only now, the stigma has extended to most of the Christian faith. In a modern society where religion is held under a microscope, it’s no wonder people turn to agnosticism or atheism or even opt out of religion altogether – there’s simply too much stigma around Christianity and Catholicism to consider the choices. Extremists who deny the human rights of sexual preference, frown on pre-marital sex, and want to outlaw abortion all under the name of God, ruin the faith for everyone else. As in the time of Henry VIII, Catholics are still afraid to freely call themselves Catholics, for fear of being taken for some kind of zealot.
Let’s look at what Catholicism is. This nifty link describes Catholic as “the body of Christian believers all over the world, united by common traditions, beliefs, church structure and worship”.
Each pillar can hold different meaning to someone’s faith. One person might value the church structure at the core of their belief, while another may put traditions at the top. It shouldn’t matter what order you value them in; no one is “more religious” for focusing on one aspect more than another. We live in a modern world where religion is not always present, but a person who does not broadcast their faith shouldn’t be taken as “faithless”. In fact, a person may not broadcast their religion because of the amount of stigma surrounding it.
I am Catholic, but that shouldn't change a person's view of me.
Sarah Durocher is currently studying the art of writing, while making delicious Pumpkin Spice Lattes on the side (how cliché of her). With a passion for all things fantastic, Sarah first fell in love with writing through Harry Potter and aspires to write children’s stories that will whisk away a new generation to fantastic places. She enjoys watching anything by Tim Burton or starring Johnny Depp and will never pass up a Disney movie. Ever.