Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism’

An invitation to doubt

February 7, 2008

Doubt.  Faith.

Baptized Catholic, indoctrinated in the Church, Confirmed, I read in the Mass booklet for the first time in high school that while it would be nice to let all Christians participate in Holy Communion, because of the division in the Church, we ask that you non-Catholics not participate. 

And I thought Jesus forgave. 

Needless to say, I’ve struggled with my faith.  I was not married in the Church, so our children – according to doctrine or law or the priest anyway – are not recognized as the product of a holy union.  I think that means some folks believe our kids are to suffer in Purgatory or the first circle of Hell, and I’m not sure where that puts my wife and me.  Circle 4 or 5?  It’s been a couple years since I read my Inferno.  No hard feelings though, we’ve had all three baptized, and we’re raising our children Catholic.  Though, forgive me father but it’s been 20 years since my last confession.  I’ve got my problems with the Church, and they probably have their problems with me, it’s my relationship with God that’s more important. 

It’s the hypocrisy that gets to me.  Forgive and turn the other cheek, but no Communion for you.  We’ll Baptize your kids, but we won’t recognize your marriage.  I know.  I can be a hypocrite too.  If we’ve had all three of our children baptized, why not get married by the priest?  If I’ve got these problems with the church, why stay with it?  It’s what I know.  But who isn’t hypocritical?  I started thinking about this again when the Homily on Ash Wednesday was about praying privately, and donating to charity privately and not shouting “LOOK AT ME I’M FAITHFUL,” and then we turn around and get a great big ash cross drawn on our foreheads, I wonder a little bit about the mixed messages.

Were it not for the Public Intellectual Practicum, I would have auditioned for South Bend Civic Theatre’s production of Doubt.  As a local actor for South Bend Civic Theatre, the play appealed to me on many levels, and I honestly don’t know much about it.  It’s rare for me to want to see a production that I didn’t get to be in just because I can get jealous, but sometimes I’m drawn despite my envy.  The draw of Doubt for me is manifold.  I wanted to be in it because it was a four person play (I love being in plays with small casts).  I wanted to be in it because Jim Coppens was directing and I’ve never acted for him before.  I’ve acted with him on numerous occasions and that’s always turned out well, but I’ve come to look at him as someone I hate to disappoint.  Jean Plumhoff’s in the show, and I’ve never done anything with her.  I also learned D (Dana Vagg) was going to be in the show, and I just love to share the stage with her even when we don’t share dialogue.  She’s just got so much going on; she’s effortless.  And, the play is a multiple award winner.  Pulitzer for Drama and Tony Awards out the wazoo.  John Patrick Shanley, the author, wrote Moonstruck, and Joe Vs. The Volcano — one of Tom Hanks’ most underrated films, and I’d love the chance to say words written by Shanley.  Plus, I suspect Doubt‘ll be representing Civic at the Indiana Community Theatre League Festival, and the last time I participated in the ICTL fest with a one word play (Art) in a small cast (we numbered three), our play received top honors.

Anyway, while it represented all those things to me as a piece to act in, it is also a piece I want to see.  It will be my first time seeing a show in the new Studio Theatre space for one, and for another it’s about faith.  And doubt.  When I doubt, I am uncertain.  It is when I am uncertain that I am most uncomfortable, and it is when I am most uncomfortable when I learn the most about the truth.   

It opens tomorrow night and runs through February 17.