Her World
March 16, 2023
Friday March 17th: Love of God and neighbour
March 17, 2023

Losing my religion

By Leslie Attong

If you’re around my age (don’t ask) there’s absolutely no doubt that you’ve heard that song by REM. The lyrics that have always stood out to me are…” That’s me in the corner…losing my religion”.

There have been so many times that I’ve been at the crossroads of “losing my religion”. We may be one of the largest religions, but do Catholics truly see each other? Do we look in the corner for those at the fringe of Mass, of our community?

It has always struck me the ease with which we allow people to leave the Church. There’s no real interest in who comes, who goes or what happens in between the ebbs and flows of life.

Once the perfunctory rituals are performed, at the age-appropriate times then what? Are we still more interested in what people wear to church than if they actually come?

I’m always tickled when I see pronouncements on “appropriate church wear” getting more attention than conversations around the attendance of our young people, or people who still identify as Catholic but attend other churches.

Can we refocus? Can we understand that there are people who stand in the corner, hoping to be seen, hoping to be embraced by community? Can we embrace each other, instead of jostling each other in the car park?

And yes, there are groups, there are enclaves, but many are guarded heavily by those who sit at the helm…and the embrace isn’t always encompassing if you aren’t already known.

So, when former Catholics lose their religion, I’m not surprised. When you ask them about the lure, behind the praise and worship, it’s about the community, it’s about people knowing your name, it’s about pastor knowing when you’re no longer attending and reaching out.

Although I’ve not made the switch – and maybe never will for many reasons – I’m certain that many others are at the crossroads. The question is what we are going to do to stop them from crossing over, or are we just going to accept it as par for the course?