I’m a fairly secular Catholic and, after a bit of a wobble at University, have found a way to mesh my faith with my life. It may not be ideal. It may not always reflect the absolute line of canon law but I have reconciled a modern life with a faith that is often very old fashioned.
Hearing in mass last Sunday that we are now expected to not eat meat on a Friday pushed me off balance. It’s not that it will be particularly difficult to achieve – fish and chips still being a Friday staple driven by the requirement being in place when I was a child. And we have been told that we should be sensible about it.
And yet it does rather feel as if the Church is pushing itself into my life a bit further. Our priest fully admitted that this was intended to remind us about faith and the church during the week. It coincides with a change to the words of the mass – a change that gets rid of the familiar words and phrases that have been there all my life.
Yet the change to the words of the mass I find easier to cope with. Having taken a Latin A-level I like that the wording is more similar to the original Latin mass – I’ve been known to go to the occasional Latin mass, it is beautiful, profound and very different from a hurried English one where I invariably end up wrestling with two small children as I bribe them with piles of breadsticks to at least keep reasonably quiet.
So why does this ruling make me feel uncomfortable?
It could have something to do with the inevitable comments from my atheist husband about rule books. It could have something to do with me not wanting the church to push more into my life. It could be something to do with it feeling like a step back into the past. It could even have something to do with Friday being our usual take out night and not wanting to have to think about options that aren’t the usual dish that I order.
Being a Catholic I shall now find myself feeling guilty when I fail to meet this new target and yet slightly resentful that I have another thing heaped on my plate to make me feel guilty about if I don’t manage to live up to another set of external expectations about how ‘good’ looks.