Complicated Beyond Belief

Rafaella Marcus began to have doubts about her Catholicism when she was thirteen years old. She shares her experience of losing religion, yet maintaining a different kind of faith:

I grow older still and I realise that though I myself do not believe in the mass, that I utter the creed and the Our Father as a formality only, that formality is important to people around me. I wonder how my mother faith’s makes way for her ready acceptance of my cousin’s coming out, her openly pro-choice stance, her frank (too frank) discussions with me about contraception. When my eighty year old Italian Catholic Nana attends the civil partnership ceremony between my cousin and her wife, loves their children (her great-grandchildren!) with the same unreserved love as she has for any of the others, I can only come to the conclusion that belief is complicated beyond … well, beyond belief. I see now that rules bend for love and that, perhaps, is the grace I was looking for at the age of thirteen on that Saturday evening, in that church.

And I realise, along the way, that it is not God I have outgrown at all, but only the religion I grew up in. Now that I am at least a little grown up, I no longer go to church except at Christmas and Easter, and the transition has been soft and simple and has hurt no-one. … I no longer define my faith – neither an atheist, nor an agnostic, nor a lapsed Catholic – for why would I need to? It ebbs and absorbs the tragedy, it grows as I grow. There is so much more to living well, I find, than simply being good.