Well in my childhood Good Friday wasn't just a day off from school. It was perhaps the most serious day in the Church calendar and therefore a serious day in my childhood home. I remember we would watch movies that depicted the Passion of Christ. I remember balling my eyes out because it seemed so real and cruel. On that day off we would not be aloud to play with friends. It was a somber day. From 12 to 3 we would sit and reflect. There would be no TV, no phone, not even any reading as I recall. It was a long quiet 3 hours. As an adult I look back on these memories and wonder why. I understand that in the church this is a solemn day and it needs to be observed in some way but sitting for three hours as a kid seems like a lot to ask. I wish my Mum were still alive so I could talk to her about her choices. I wonder what she would say.
I am now a non practicing Roman Catholic for many reasons that are both simple and complex at once. I am a believer, spiritual in nature and have baptized my children in the church but that is as far as I have gone with their teachings. We talk about God, Jesus, Mary and many bible stories but there are fundamental differences between what I believe and the tenants that the church teaches. My children asked me recently why we don't go to church. It was a difficult question to hear. They know friends who are actively involved in the church. I explained to them what I believe and what is taught by the church and how those things are truly diametrically opposed. After this discussion a couple of weeks ago I was questioning my decisions. I wondered if I was not doing my children a disservice in some way by not including them in some form of formal religion. Then the European sex abuse scandal started surfacing. I am no longer questioning my decisions. A scandal that reaches the highest levels of the church is so disturbing. I know that the spin is that the Pope didn't know about the history of the priest he transferred. I believe that this is spin. I wonder how practicing Catholics reconcile what is happening with what they are being told and taught. How can you reconcile such things? It would be different if it were a rogue priest or priests who perpetrated these crimes against children but these priests have been shielded by the church. This shielding turns the crime into something different. It becomes a conspiracy of sorts, at least in my mind. How do you trust an institution that protects perpetrators rather than victims. It is a problem for me, only one of the many that prevent me from returning to the church.
So Sunday is Easter. We will talk about the meaning of Easter. There are always questions from the children. I will answer them to the best of my ability and for those questions that I have no answers we will seek out the answers together. There will be small, modest baskets filled with yummy treats. There will be a family meal enjoyed at the table perhaps on fine china. We will celebrate the day together just our small family. There is no longer the question of visiting grandparents as it is just us now. While for some, that seems so burdensome I sometimes long for the days when we would grapple with that question. It will be a simple spring holiday on what looks to be a beautiful spring day.
Happy Easter and Peace!