Hah! Get this, get me!
From Tim Stanley at the Telegraph:
This speaks to me. There’s often a presumption – because of our line on sexual morality – that Catholics are prudes and bigots who wouldn’t know a good time if it booked them a room for two with Monica Lewinsky at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The reality is quite the opposite. Catholicism is a community of sinners seeking grace, taking strength in each other’s company – a sort of Alcoholics Anonymous for screw-ups. As such, I’ve never known an environment more compassionate and comfortably eccentric.
I converted to Catholicism not because I was full of religious chauvinism or intellectual conviction but because it offered hope to someone who was very alone. I was burnt out and mostly drunk. I had struggled to find a church that would help me; all of them seemed either compromised or hopelessly idealistic. Slowly I was drawn into the Catholic community. Here was a place where monks drank beer, priests smoked like chimneys and filthy jokes were at a premium. It wasn’t hypocritical, just human. And behind the humanity was a concern with encountering the divine – made possible by a very practical, step-by-step approach to salvation. Go to Confession, make penance, take Communion at Mass, buy the priest a pint afterwards. As soon as I understood Catholicism, it became second nature. I converted and my soul was saved. I suspect that my life was saved, too.
Since then, I have never once doubted the Truth of the Church’s teachings, but I have struggled to be faithful. If I skip Mass it’s usually because the petty minutiae of the rest of my life distracts me. Things go wrong, hope is lost and it feels like Jack Daniels is the only man who understands me. But something wonderful always draws me back. A few weeks ago, I visited my favourite priest in his rectory. I saw the light glowing under his kitchen door, tasted the smell of Marlboro Reds on my tongue and heard a babble of mad voices discussing what’s wrong and what’s right about this Argentine Pope. I opened the door and walked in to love, knowing that I was returning home to my tribe. The tribe of screw-ups.
And if you don't get it right in this life, there's always purgatory to clean things up.