Being a Catholic in 2016

I’ve wanted to write about this kind a thing for a while but I feel like talking about things like religion openly is a bit stigmatised and can open some heated debate. But that is exactly why it should be spoken about, so the air can be cleared a wee bit and we can be comfortable talking about our religion (should you have one or not) in a progressive way, u know.

Disclaimer here that I’m definitely not any kind a Saint and I don’t think that I am. If there was such a thing as Catholic a the year I would’ve been right out a the running a good time ago. However, I get a lot from my religion and would consider myself a “practising Catholic’ and I just thought it would be cool to write something about why it can be difficult to practice a faith as a young person in 2016 without being all preachy.

Just before, I mentioned the idea of being a “practising Catholic”. I feel like we need to be a bit cautious a that term. Religion is different things to different people and they should be left to practise it however they like. However, like if you asked somebody to define what made a practising Catholic they would probably say somebody that actively goes to mass on a Sunday, maybe reads the bible and carries about rosary beads but it’s soooo much more than that man! Sure the things I’ve just mentioned could be seen as important in Catholicism but it’s not the be all and end all. For me, the concept of being a “practising Catholic” is about putting faith into action. So cool, like we hear about selfless acts in the gospel on a Sunday but what are we doing about it? I think its about taking what we learn in mass and in our spare time about our faith and putting it into practice every day – but without it being a task. It sounds difficult but I think if you are really invested in a religion (which not everybody is and I totally understand that and wholly welcome it everybody should be doing their own thing) then it doesn’t seem like a task, but it’s enjoyable.

I’m not going to sit here and claimed that I have welcomed my faith all my life, cos that would be nonsense. I’ve went to chapel since I was a wee girl but when I was about 15 my Dad told me that the decision was mine now and I didn’t have to go with him if I didn’t want to – so I stopped. I stopped for a year or two and genuinely felt a difference. I don’t want to say I felt unhappy cause I didn’t, but I did feel like something was missing. So I started going back when I was 17 and found there was something more to gain from going to mass out of my own prerogative rather than having to go with my family out of obligation. That wee hour or so in mass on a Sunday brings me so much peace I can’t even put into words like I don’t want to sound preachy but its class! Its nice to be reminded what its all about and sit in a place of worship with other like-minded people like you. When I started going back to chapel I realised there was so much more to it than showing face on a Sunday, and the whole concept a putting faith into action as often as possible really appealed to me. I’m not going to sit here and make out that I do brilliant things every day and I am this entirely selfless and giving person because I’m not, none of us are – but its good to try and give the best of yourself as often as you can.

I think there’s this idea that people who go to mass are old and it’s a dated concept, and its this sort of idea that makes people want to stop going when they become teenagers. I’m quite fortunate that in my parish theres a lot of young people, but I know that’s not the same everywhere. It’s a big deal to stick your neck out when you’re in secondary school or uni and say that you’re religious. In light of the endless acts of violence and persecution towards Muslims and Christians and every other faith understandably makes some people look at the concept of religion and think “patch that.” This combined with the conflicting ideas of the Church on things like abortion and gay rights means that there are so few young people practising their religion – its painted to be complex and exclusive in the media but for me it’s not at all.

I’m not going to sit here and make out I have the answers for everything, because I don’t. I wish I knew why the Church won’t wholly progress on  the views that they have on abortion and gay rights – I wish I did, because I don’t agree with them. But that’s where I find comfort in my faith, in the hope that one day I’ll be able to understand why what I think and what the Church thinks doesn’t always correlate and why there’s badness and violence in the world. On paper, any religion is complex but it doesn’t have to be. I’m fully aware that with writing this there’s going to be people reading it and squinting their face firing it intae their group chat thinking what an absolute ridneck for this lassie but this why I’m saying what I’m saying – to try and shake this stigma that if you’re under 50 and go to mass and actually enjoy it that it’s questionable cos it isn’t! I work in a pub and I remember somebody coming up to me a few months ago and saying “Here, fuck the Pope. You hate aw that don’t you?” Well like, aye I dae a wee bit but when you live in the west a Scotland you’re almost used to it. To an extent, we almost can’t be entirely angry at the degree to which religious ignorance and hatred is rife in the West of Scotland – cos it’s kind of all that we know as a society. People are born into this community where there’s discrimination and violence and intolerance and because they’re born into it, they are conditioned to think that its normal. We don’t have to keep breeding it, we can stop it! Not everybody has to be into faith but its all about welcoming and accepting other people that are x

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Refugees Welcome

Hi again. I’m very conscious of everybody getting absolutely scunnered with me not knowing when to shut up but in light of all this carry on with Theresa May during the week I felt like I had to write something.

Last year in uni I done a module in Economics, and I had to write an essay on Foreign Direct Investment (I’m gonnae just refer to it as FDI from this point on cos really who’s got the time to keep typing that out and making sure they’ve spelled it right). It made me want to tear my hair out and quite honestly I never wanted to hear about it again. However, the recent claims from the likes of Theresa May about foreign workers alongside the narrow minded approach to the accommodation of refugees in the UK has made me apply the concept of FDI in a different sense – the human investment of foreign workers into the UK economy. People move the UK and find employment – investing their human resource into the economy, just as they are entitled to. Some migrants even start their own businesses from the ground up. This is good for the economy, and for employment levels – so why are people complaning? In fact, why are we even basing whether somebody is welcome into the country based on their economic value?

We could blame this on a few things – Brexit, ignorance,  greed. Some UK nationals seem to think that because your entire family through all generations were born and raised in the UK that they’re more entitled to a job than somebody else whose family may have moved here 20+ generations previous from somewhere like India.. what? This whole concept of migrants “taking our jobs” is dated and embarrassing – nobody merits a job more than another person because of their race or their background. An Indian doctor isn’t given the job because they’re Indian – they’re given the job because they are the best suited candidate for it; because they are skilled and qualified. If you were in a serious condition in hospital and your doctor was foreign, you wouldn’t question their right to have the job that they were in – you would welcome the help of an expert because that’s what they are: experts. Theresa May announced this week that she was going to commence a crackdown on foreign workers, urging big businesses to produce lists of all the foreign workers they employ. So, cool. They’ve lived here for 15, 16 even 20+ generations but because they’re not White UK nationals they’re a different type of citizen. Right.

So what next, like what happens with these lists? Are the Tories then going to phase out foreign workers to replace them with “homegrown” doctors just because they are “white British”, even though they might not be the most efficient for the jobs? A great deal of the UK’s doctors, teachers and skilled workers are foreign and they work to teach and help and manufacture just like the rest of the nation. If we gather these lists and the Tories then commence their crackdown on migrant workers then literally who is going to be left?

Just 11% of UK workers are non-UK nationals. The whole disregard for refugees coming here because they’re “taking our jobs” is another thing. They’re definitely not taking anybody’s jobs, they’re just as entitled to employment as anybody else. It’s not easy for refugees to find work for a few reasons. Especially in the UK with this sort a engrained prejudice about migrants, a lot of these people are facing discrimination and hatred from UK nationals who aren’t welcoming them into the country. That combined with the fact that they’re isolated from the minute they come to the country. A lot of them are homed in areas with other refugees instead of amongst existing British citizens – making it more difficult for them to get involved in their community. Additionally, a lot of them are coming from places were they didn’t have access to education and training like we do. And if they did have access to education and work in their home country, it’s fair to say their last few months there in amongst war, conflict and terror might have prevented them for strengthening their skills to a degree that is deemed “acceptable” enough for them to then merit a job once they have came to the UK – this is why we have to be cautious of ideas about only letting “skilled workers” into the country. Yes it’s an absolute bonus ball if refugees that are brought into Britain have skills and knowledge that they can share with us and our economy – but it shouldn’t be an essential. A lot of them are coming here to learn skills and trades and start afresh and we’re not letting them do that if we are shunning them from the moment they come to the UK because they are not “skilled” enough. Also, the UK have welcomed embarrassingly few more refugees compared to other countries so all this carry on about there being “too many” and that they’re “taking over” is nonsense.

I was absolutely buckled during the week listening to Theresa May announcing all of these plans behind a podium which says “A country that works for everyone”. ?????? Yes. You’re right. If by everyone you mean wealthy, entitled, white, British, middle class people who will be somewhat unaffected by your crackdown on foreign doctors and teachers and workers then you are right. But I highly doubt that if it gets to the stage where you are phasing out these workers, “sending them back” to a country they didn’t even grow up in because their families moved here generations before now will agree this is a “country that works for everyone” when they have to restart in a country they haven’t lived in before, just because they’re great great great great grandparents did. I totally get that it might not get this far, but Mays only been in power a matter of weeks and this is the direction it’s started to go. Even UKIP party members are deeming her latest statements about foreign workers a disgrace – if this was UKIP making these statements it would be another mark on their fascist cards. If this keeps up, this country isn’t going to be “better for everyone” – its going to be an intolerant, divided and even embarrassing place to live if we are a nation which shuns foreign workers, refugees, asylum seekers just because of their race.

If this intolerance keeps growing, who is going to be left? In a few years time, will we be living in a country full of “White, British, UK National” clones? All living each day in our little bubble of blind British patriotism off of our “White, British” ideals with our children growing up totally unaware of cultures beyond our own. This unawareness then developing into the same intolerance showed by figures like Theresa May in 2016 were this all started.. all because the UK are voting in a party that is being granted with the power to whitewash the nation in a way that correlates with the Tory’s narrow minded, exclusive ideals. Patch that.

Refugees Welcome x