More questions from a woman (“L”) answered

Mr. O’Dea,

Thank you for answering my last two questions, but like I said I have more.

My next question:


I am rather curious about your Catholic faith.

What does being Catholic mean to you?

[My response: It gives structure to my life and thinking. Ultimate meaning. A set of moral precepts to provide a rough guide to ethics.]

How much of an impact does it have on your life?

[My response: A lot. I think about ethical issues a lot, from a Catholic perspective. I am very interested in religion and naturally religious. But I am not very spiritual or mystical. My faith and practice tend to be mainstream. To give a mundane example of the effect of Catholicism on my life, there are various sex acts that I enjoy, but choose not to do if possible because they are contrary to Catholic morality.]

What is your favorite part of being Catholic? (ie Mass, confession, communion ect)

[My response: I suppose I am impressed by how much the Catholic Church has contributed to culture, especially perhaps visual culture. And I am pleased that people take the Catholic Church seriously, even if they don’t like it. And that they find it mysterious and intriguing. That said, it has not been a good time to be an ordinary Catholic in recent decades. And yet young people continue to become nuns and priests, with great hope and enthusiasm. Being a Catholic has not brought me much social satisfaction though, apart from occasionally getting a tasty fish dish for Good Friday in college (we Catholic kids got something special at a college at university once, which was nice of the college people, because it was a secular college.) But more seriously, sometimes there is a pleasant fellow-feeling with other Catholics – although I don’t find them generally better people than non-Catholics – as a rule.

At times there is the negative of always being slightly an oddity in an historically Anglo-American Protestant culture. Very occasionally I have felt that something I am reading or watching is more-or-less anti-Catholic. More recently, having traditional Catholic views on marriage and life issues has made me feel that society as a whole views me increasingly as some kind of extremist.]

When do you feel closest to God?

[My response: As I said, I am not the mystical type. Sometimes I feel what CS Lewis called “Joy”. Sometimes I feel that God is nearer than usual. But, as a scientist, I tend also to be sceptical of subjective feelings. I have a feeling or intuition that God has guided me, in a broad sense, in my life. But I don’t like to make too many such claims.]

What and when was your most meaningful religious experience?

[My response: I am not sure that I have ever had such a thing. Some people are “religious geniuses”, which can have its own problems. But I am definitely not a “religious genius”. I suppose I believe or at least hope that my being taken to Lourdes as a small boy might have given me graces to lead a full life despite being born with a moderately serious congenital condition. But a sceptic would disagree of course.]

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by "L" on July 23, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you.


  2. Posted by "L" on July 23, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I hope your health problems aren’t too serious.
    Is it a heart defect?


  3. Posted by RichardP on July 23, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    “L” – judging by the poetry and verse he composes, Julian’s heart is just fine.


    • Posted by "L" on July 24, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      That was an interesting article you linked to.
      I can now sort of understand why Catholics have icons. I was raised to view the use of icons as some sort of idolatry.


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