Being Catholic Now

This letter to the Washington Post speaks to a lot of American Catholics, I think:

The truth is, despite my issues with the Church, I most likely will raise my children Catholic. I may not believe everything the Church believes and may even actively oppose some of its positions. But as time has passed, I've come to see that, for me, Catholic isn't so much my faith but my culture. It's who I am.

It's 13 years of Catholic schooling. It's praying the rosary while crouched down in the hallway, hands over head, tornado sirens blaring. It's the Ursuline Sisters, with their quick laughs, steady guidance and humble intelligence, who acted as teachers, mentors and friends. It's ashes on my forehead on the first day of Lent, midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, Stations of the Cross, summer church picnics, "The Lives of the Saints," fish on Fridays and "Ave Maria." It's so many pieces of me that I would not be who I am if I took any of them away.

My Catholicism is for me, in many ways, like home - not always what I want it to be, yet often exactly what it needs to be. It is where I come from and where I belong. For my children to know me, they must know the Catholic Church.

I should say I don't believe in merely cultural Catholicism. But I don't think this woman has stopped being a Christian, a believer in the resurrection, and the message of the Gospels. She is merely struggling to keep her faith despite the often maddening flaws of a human church. But the message is strong enough to outlive the flaws. And it will.