This year has been a year of exceptions - we have a sign in our yard "Another Catholic Voting NO" and we wear buttons - and I walked out of church last week in protest.
Nevertheless, I am not a protestor at my core. Nor is my lovely wife, Jo.
So, we had to have a conversation this morning. Should we go to church? Where? I knew that if I went to church today, I would again have to walk out. We discussed a couple of issues:
1. The parish council managed to get the prayer moved to the end of the service, so those of us who might choose to walk out would not miss out on Communion. But did I want to change everyone's Sunday time with their God into a political protest? That was not my goal. I made my statement last week. Others may choose to do so this week. I don't want this effort to turn Sunday Mass into a political protest. I just want the institutional church to know that laypeople are not unified behind the institution on this issue. I think they got the message - from me at least. Hopefully, I have been able to convince others to deliver the same message in their own ways over the next few weeks.
2. October is census month. Mass attendance is counted during the month of October and these numbers are used to compile statistics about Mass attendance, active Catholics, etc. etc. We don't want to be counted. We want to send another message - that such political activism may drive people away from the Church altogether.
3. Last week, no one knew why I had walked out until my commentary appeared in the paper. The combination of both actions - the walk-out and the commentary - has accomplished my goal. Continuing to walk out for the next three weeks would simply be rude, and Jo was reluctant to send that message.
So...we will not be attending church. Not until the end of the month at least and most likely not until after the election.
We are also considering other options.
More on that later.