The Irish and Catholocism

images(23)In Shanty Gold, Mary Boland experiences a crisis of faith. Can she stay in a church that she believes is treating women in a manner sometimes injurious to their health, both physical and mental?


I shared the same issue many years ago. A cradle Catholic, I found myself at odds with many of my church’s teachings, particularly in regard to birth control. When I divorced my first husband after 18 years and four children, I no longer felt welcome in my church. I stayed away longer than did Mary—nearly 28 years. I missed the Catholic Church every day of those years. I tried other religions, but none worked for me.


Finally, I came to peace with my church and healed my resentments by co-leading a group called Landings. Landings was created by a priest to welcome back anyone who has left the church and wants to come back. It’s gentle and nonjudgmental, and the healing I received by hearing other women’s resentments and seeing their tears was miraculous. I wasn’t alone.


I go to Mass every Sunday now. Though I believe abortion is a tragedy and thank God I never had to have one, I am pro choice. My church is an institution and like all institutions, some of its dictums are hard to justify or understand. However, my church does so much good in the world. I must focus on that aspect of being Catholic.


I am grateful to be back. Maybe things will change when women are priests.