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Thursday, January 18, 2007

There was a time

The following poem was written by one of the newest members of St. Pauls - yet another refugee from the RC Church, come to us after the statement by the American Bishops meeting in Baltimore who said, essentially, that if you are Roman Catholic and if you believe in your heart in reproductive rights for women, and that homosexual persons are not "intrinsically disordered" and that priests have the right to marry, you should not come to communion.

The "straw that broke the camel's back" is often the very straw that starts an entirely new journey.



There was a time,

When the walk to the altar

Was filled with apprehension

And dread.



Will they ask the Questions?

And how will I handle it?

Will I wither and die before their stares?

Will I lie rather than face the embarrassment?

Will I turn and walk out in defiance?



All choices born of confrontation.

Do I stand and answer?

Do I challenge their right?

Do I fight for my right?



What do I gain by staying or lying, or confronting?

What do I gain by putting them through it –

By putting myself through it.



I believe that they are embarrassed

For what they are made to do.

They follow blindly,

The edicts of Rome.

Although they may be slow to administer,

They never challenge, never question.





In the end, of course, the choice is mine –

It always has been.

The fear to change was fraught

With superstition

They washed my brain,

All those years ago.



The nuns, the priests, the brothers –

Piling on the guilt, the fear

There God is the only God.

There church is the only church.

There way, the only way - -

To salvation and Christ.



I was being crushed, ground under

By guilt, by shame

Don’t you have the guts to stick it out?

Don’t you have the guts to leave?

How can you abandon your church, your God?

What kind of vile scum are you?



And then the moment arrives.

The straw finally breaks the proverbial back

I can’t do - that one - final - thing.

I can’t stand at the altar Of God

And lie.





I see the truth. Finally.

God isn’t asking me to lie

God is asking me to see the truth

God doesn’t ask such things of men

Men do these things in his name.

Men beat you down.

Men pile on the guilt

Men make the rules – to control,

To justify their own actions,

To reinforce their own beliefs.



And so, I move on

To a place of acceptance.

Where there are no questions,

Of my sexual preference

Or whether I think women have a

Right to choose what is best for themselves,

Or whether I think that priests should have a right to marry



And so, I move on

To a place of love

Where I kneel at the altar of God

And profess my love for him,

Just as I know that he loves me.

Where I take Holy Communion.

And no one questions.





And so, I move on

And I speak to people of the congregation

About myself, about my beliefs,

About all those things that define

Who I am. All those things,

That make me human.



And they accept me for who I am

And what I am.

And they love me for who I am

And what I am.

And I in return love them and

For perhaps the first time in my life

I feel truly happy, truly blessed.


Bill Schatzabel - January 17, 2007

3 comments:

joie said...

Elizabeth-
I would like to read what has come out of this Baltimore meeting. Do you know where I might find these statements?

Eileen said...

Elizabeth - His poem mirrors my experience exactly.

Thank you for sharing this.

Bill said...

Elizabeth,
Thankyou so much for posting my poem. I've been approached by quite a few people who said how much they enjoyed it and even how much it meant to them. Writing as I do, for my own enjoyment, and very seldom sharing it, it comes as a surprise to see the reaction of others to it. Bill