Are you familiar with Captain Subtext from Coupling? Watch this video. Captain Subtext and the Truth Filter go on until about 1:30.
Having a subtext filter is especially helpful in dealing with the passive-aggressiveness that my mom threw at me. Here's what my mother said to me tonight, slightly paraphrased:
"You know, there are a lot of Catholics out there who take birth control and who like gay people, and they still come to church. They don't abandon their faith."
And with Captain Subtext's Truth Filter:
"You know, despite your ideological differences, you can still come to church. I'm worried that you have abandoned your faith."
Gee, thanks, Mom.
I told her, also slightly paraphrased:
"Look, I'm not abandoning my faith. I'm not abandoning my practice."
She interrupted, trying to sound clever, "Oh, but you're abandoning Catholicism."
"I'm not even abandoning Catholicism! You think I am, because you haven't checked it out yourself to see what it's all about. And until you do see for yourself that the beliefs are the same, don't tell me that I'm abandoning my faith."
"I don't think you're abandoning your faith," she backpedaled.
"Oh, whatever," I said, rolling my eyes.
"I'm not comfortable with it."
"You're not comfortable with it because you don't know what it's about. You refuse to come see that there is nothing wrong with the messages we get."
Subtext: "I dare you to find something objectively wrong in the mass I attend."
Seriously, would she rather I go to church in bad conscience? Would she rather I listen to some judgmental hate-thy-[gay, female, non-Catholic, etc.]-neighbor sermon and conveniently dismiss it and/or contradict it in both word and deed? How hypocritical. That's not the function of church.
Would she rather I continue to worship as a bad Catholic, picking and choosing what messages to live? And what the heck is so anti-Catholic about saying the freakin' NICENE CREED every single week, plus apostolic succession and sacraments and all that?
Yeah, Mom, I dare you to find something objectively wrong in the mass I attend. I dare you to find something counter to the Gospel. I dare you to find something counter to loving God and loving one's neighbor as oneself. I dare you to tell me that what those gay, female, and married priests say is a bad or wrong message.
I dare you, Mom. Bring it.