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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Just because I converted doesn’t mean I’m crazy

    I’m Catholic.

    See that, you just judged me. I don’t blame you though. As humans we naturally put everything into its nice little place, stamp a label on it and keep the information filed away for future judging.

    I converted when I was 18.

    Great, see, now you lump me in with all the born-again Christian folks who’ve stopped you on the UA Mall and told you you’re going to hell. Don’t worry, they tell me I’m wrong too, so I guess, according to them, I’ll see you down there.

    I was born and raised with no religious background. My parents aren’t diehard atheists, and they didn’t flip when they found out about my switch in beliefs. To be honest, I think they find it amusing. But I’m not like the other converted people you package me with. I didn’t have some big moment where Jesus came to me and we chatted and suddenly I was healed.

    I partied hard one night and didn’t want to go to bed, so I was hanging out on top of one of the university’s roofs (note: that’s illegal, so don’t do it). I still wasn’t sleepy so I decided to get decked out and go to church. I’m not from around here and the only church I knew of in walking distance was the Catholic Church on campus. I went in, had a blast and decided it was the place for me. Fast forward a year and the church made it official. I’m a Catholic.

    I thought it was great. I was a tad rebellious my senior year of high school and had some bad habits I couldn’t quite kick. The Catholic Church had just enough structure and people supporting me that it really helped me keep my promises and be a better person.

    That being said, I was unprepared to deal with how people would treat me.

    I don’t shout out Bible verses to people, and I’m thoroughly unconcerned with other people’s souls. I think of God as a really groovy deity, but I don’t feel the need to tell other people about it. Yet people still judge the hell out of me.

    Just because I chose to become Catholic as an adult rather than be born into it, I’m not suddenly 100 percent behind everything the Church does or says.

    For example, I love gay people and I don’t care what they do or how they love each other. Love is love, let it be. But when I say that, people respond, “Wow, that’s not very Catholic of you.” I still haven’t come up with anything to say that makes them equally uncomfortable, so I shrug.

    Nearly one-quarter of Americans are Catholic, according to the CIA World Factbook’s website. If you can find the 74,862,459 American Catholics and they all believe the exact same thing about the Church and have identical values, I’ll eat my hat.

    I’m still me. I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid or transform into a different person. Religion is not only supernatural, it’s super personal. You can’t go to Walmart and buy the Catholic package on sale and just mold yourself into a one-size fit all. No one is the same person they were a year ago. I’m not even the same Catholic that I was six months ago. Everyone changes, shifts and adapts to the situations they’re put in. But my roots, the values that have made up who I am for more than 21 years, are still there.

    _— Michelle A. Monroe is a journalism senior. She can be reached at
    letters@wildcat.arizona.edu._

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