TAYLOR LIFKA ‘17
I felt like I was having déjà vu.
The immediate sense of familiarity and the twinge of nostalgia, however, were quickly contrasted against the stark feeling of discontent.
A place that used to put my mind at ease and welcome me with open arms now had the opposite effect.
Comfortability was replaced with awkward shuffling and pulling at the ends of sleeves, anything to assuage the feeling of disassociation.
I simply didn’t belong anymore; how could I?
A journalism assignment brought me timidly through the doors of Swasey on Sunday afternoon: the 4:30 Catholic service.
Church. Church had never been an unfamiliar place for me growing up.
I attended St. Mary of Gosytn from kindergarten through eighth grade. Following in my parent’s footsteps, I made the logical decision to become a Benet Redwing for four years of Catholic college preparatory education for my high school career.
Catholicism was ingrained in me. We weren’t the front row family dressed to impress every Sunday, but rather the group of slightly disheveled individuals sneaking in the back five minutes past the opening song. But we were there.
In grade school everyone wore the same bracelet on his or her wrist – a thin band with the acronym W.W.J.D. woven into the cloth. What would Jesus do?
It seems that as children, we understood the message to its fullest capacity. Live a life in which everyone is treated equally – given the same opportunities – cared for.
As time has passed something about my understanding has changed. I still hold ideas regarding the Catholic faith close to my heart, but what I can no longer do is turn away from the ultimate questions that have illuminated my identification with Catholicism.
The faith I knew as a child didn’t differentiate between gender, sexual orientation or race. Everyone was loved. “All are welcome,” will be forever embedded into my memory; the chorus sung by the choir meant something to me.
As a child, however, I wasn’t aware of the footnote that belonged under the catchphrase.
“All are welcome – but all may not be treated equally, may not be given equal opportunities, may not love whom they choose.”
I felt disconnected on Sunday night as I sat in church and listened to the homily. While the pastor encouraged the congregation to live a life based on love, forgiveness, and acceptance, I simply couldn’t ignore the hypocrisy.
Would Jesus insist that the LGBTQ community is welcome but not worthy of sharing in the sacrament of marriage? Is love not for everyone?
Would Jesus suggest that women are not fit to serve the greater good as pastors of the Catholic Church?
Would Jesus condone the judgment and shame placed on those who are forced to make the tough decision regarding abortion?
I thought we, as Catholics, preached understanding and love among all things.
As I sat in church on Sunday I couldn’t help but look around and wonder if I was the only one who felt betrayed by this inconsistency.
I’ve pushed away from my church and ultimately my faith because I can no longer support the arbitrary rules, the separated population, and the constant judgment.
I thought all were welcome, but perhaps I was wrong.
Taylor Lifka ‘17 is a psychology major and Spanish minor from Downers Grove, Illinios.