So, lovely morning. Dropped the kids off at school and there was a new display complete with the Psalm text "I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me." Which struck me as rather cool and uplifting. I can't say I am into praising the Lord - I've never understood why the Lord would want praise from us anyway. "Ya-da, ya-da, ya-da" he's probably thinking. But I do very much like the implication that each and every child is wonderful. Not just the children either but us too.
Perhaps I should start every blog with a text from Psalms?
Or not. Though what with the Pope arriving on his state visit, it seems appropriate to bring God into the conversation.
I am a bad Catholic.(That'll be One Our Father and three Hail Mary's). I haven't been to mass for months. And months. I still, however, consider myself a Catholic - when you have been brought up with tales of bloody martyrdom and discrimination, it is impossible to do otherwise. All my children are baptised and the eldest has made his communion - I have in effect made a contract with my church and placed my children within it.
And make no mistake, the church needs me and women like me - Catholic matrons holding babes in their arms, and small children dressed like brides and grooms by the hand.
I should be bringing my children to mass every Sunday rain or shine. And I'm not - why is that? Partly it's been practicalities, three small children are impossible to keep quiet and still. Oh, and one of them has rugby - that's a really good horribly secular reason right there - let's hope God's a rugby fan then shall we?.
Part of me wants to attend mass every Sunday like my mother before me, like my grandmother before her. I want to sit in a holy place, and bow my head and find peace and serenity. I want that community back.
But I don't go, and that's a lot to do with that contract I signed. Because Catholic though I am, I find myself not wanting to look too closely at the small print drawn up by old illiberal men - at the Church's conservatism on homosexuality, contraception, and women priests.
As an educated, intelligent woman, am I supposed to believehomosexuality a sin?
Am I seriously supposed to pretend I don't have contraception stashed in my bedroom drawer?
Am I supposed not to mind the patriarchal nature of the church?
As for the record on child abuse scandal, the word "shame" doesn't begin to cover it. So here I am - the future of the Church. A woman of faith (fragile though it might be) but left unmoved by Benedict's arrival. The visit is supposed to have as its theme that "heart speaks unto heart". Attention has focussed on what he will have to say about atheism and secularism. This particular bad catholic is hoping Benedict might say something she wants to listen to, something that might even take her back to mass on a Sunday morning.