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Marc: One of the Cool (Bad)Catholics

We sometimes like to call ourselves "good Catholics.” However, there comes a time in every Catholic's life where someone comes along and puts your Catholicness to shame. This other Catholic may be more pious or more learned in scripture, you name it. Whatever it is that they do, they're better at it than you are and they put your inner Catholic to shame. This Catholic may be an older woman, donning a mantilla and fingering her worn rosary beads each weekday during 7am mass (when the rest of the world is sleeping). This Catholic may even be a tattooed trucker who crosses himself and offers a prayer of thanksgiving before tucking in the "get a free t-shirt if you eat this within an hour" 72 ounce steak. 

No matter how comfortable we are in our faith, there's always that one person that comes along and makes us realize that we are not so awesome at being Catholic after all. This other person doesn't necessarily scare us into being better Catholics with "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" sermons. They have a more ingenious way of mortifying our pride and showing us that we pretty much can't hold a vigil mass candle to them when it comes to matters of faith. This other person teaches us by example. They are probably more vocal at defending the faith. They probably have a faith that is more steadfast than ours. They are better at taking care of the poor, sick, and needy than we are. They are probably better at resisting temptation. They are probably more charitable, humble, or kind than we are. They have probably experienced many of those moving religious experiences, conversions, etc. that we've only been able to read about. 

We know that there are plenty of Catholics that pretty much stink at being Catholic a lot more than we do...but these guys don't bother us as much as the "better" Catholics. You see, this "better" Catholic makes us take a good look at our lives and reevaluate a few things. This Catholic makes us realize that we still need a lot of improvement. This person makes us ask, "What can I do to make myself a better Catholic? What can I do to better live my faith?"  This person makes us realize that we're doing something wrong...that we're letting something like pride or fear hold us back from realizing our own potential. This "better" Catholic makes us leave our comfort zones...makes us becomes better. As much as we sometimes envy this other person and wish that we were as good at Catholicism as they are, we must grudgingly admit that people like this are the people that truly help up us strengthen our faith and live it more authentically. Darn these people. 

It is with great honor, that I present the Catholic Science Geek Cool Catholic award to Marc over at BadCatholic. Don’t let his humble “about me” description fool you.
The "better" Catholic that started it all...
(well, as far as this blog goes at least)
“Well, I'm 18, I like Modest Mouse, I wash a lot of dishes and get paid very little an hour for it. I'd like to write a column, perhaps for a newspaper, perhaps for a magazine. Anyone interested?
There’s a lot more to him than this. Trust me, I’ve been following his blog for some time now (first as a lurker, then as an “Awful Catholic,” and finally as a fellow blogger. He is wise beyond his 18 years and can school a heretic with the skills of Saint Anthony and the wit of Saint Lawrence. I don’t remember when I first started lurking on his blog, as I was getting acquainted to the Catholic blogger universe. However, I remember how his blog stood out and how it quickly became one of my favorites.  His blog also got me thinking about my own blog, or lack thereof. I had had plenty of ideas and experiences that I wanted to share with the world.

I wanted to be a witness to a faith so beautiful and misunderstood, but I was afraid to get a blog rolling. What if my humor was inappropriate? What if I unintentionally posted something heretical? What if I didn’t know enough about faith and religion to blog about it?  What would everyone else think about me as a blogging Catholic?  I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think anyone would want to read anything I wrote…and I had the sneaking suspicion that my writing was garbage. I certainly was nowhere near as holy as some of the blogging religious out there. I was also afraid. There aren’t too many scientists out there that willingly and publicly associate themselves with a particular religion. On top of that, religion normally doesn’t come across as one of the most entertaining or enjoyable blog topics. Yet, I was being called to it. I was being called to reach out to others and spread the good word.

The Bad Catholic blog helped ease a lot of my fears. The things Marc blogged about, were the things I thought about…things that were relevant to the younger Catholic crowd out there. After I had spent enough time stalking the Bad Catholic blog, I caught some of his enthusiasm…some of his courage, and just took a dive. I just went for it. I forgot my fears and just started typing, and I’ve been typing ever since (whenever they let me out of the lab). This blog has become a sort of therapy for me over these past few months and I am thankful for Marc and the other blogging Catholics who helped me ease into this rewarding experience. Between this blog and the rosary, I have gotten out of the “I think I’m a good Catholic” slump and have made quite a few steps in improving myself.

Marc, you made me feel like a crummy Catholic a few months ago when I first stumbled across your blog and realized just how little I was doing to spread the good word. Imagine how humbling an experience it was for me, a 25 year old PhD student so confident about my get shown up by a young whippersnapper who had done more for Catholicism in one blog post than I had done during my brief stint as a CCD teacher. Yet, I cannot help but feel thankful for that wake up call. Thanks in part to the faith you've shown and your extremely amazing writing skills (and accompanying wit), I started this blog. It's been a very rewarding experience and it has had a huge impact in my day to day life.  You're probably one of the coolest (and youngest) Catholic bloggers out there and you've proven yourself to be a true defender of the faith. Between your posts and your clever comment responses, you have proven yourself more than worthy of this Cool Catholic award…even if you are a “Bad Catholic.”

Behold! The glorious Microsoft Paint creation that is ...
The Cool Catholic Award
Bravo Marc, may you and others continue to show me up in all things that I may, in turn, become a better Catholic.

Pax Vobiscum