The Catholic Church
I have a love-hate relationship with the Catholic church.
At various times in my life I have seriously considered going over to Rome, but the monolith of the Church and the viciousness of much of its dogma always ends up repelling me before it's too late.
There is much that is beautiful about the church - its history, its art and music, nuns and monks, commitment to social justice, the adoration of Mary, just to name a few. And so many of its practices are genuinely helpful - just consider the rosary, the Stations of the Cross, lectio divina, observation of Lent, confession, novenas, holy pictures....the list is endless. All of those things are capable of capturing my spiritual imagination, and frequently do. And then there are the Saints, and all the mythology surrounding them. Heaven!
But there is much that I despise, much that is representative of the worst kinds of bigotry and that contributes to the suffering of the world. The church's continued homophobia and sexism. Its triumphalism, and the immovable belief in the superiority, not just of Christianity, but of Catholicism in particular. I could never, in all good conscience, be part of such a massively immovable institution.
But I continue to adore many of its individual members, and so many of its professional representatives - the Benedictines, the Franciscans and so many others.