Why Catholic culture at Cambridge makes me wish I were Catholic
Catholic culture at Cambridge is super helpful. Did you know that they have an oven at Fisher House? That you can use for pizza?
This is a sad tale. A tale of love and longing. A tale of Catholicism.
I’ll preface this by saying that I am not, actually, Catholic. Or indeed any religion at all. But I do have a case of Catholic envy. That is, I think Catholics are pretty cool, and I kinda wish I were one. Catholics are uniquely placed to succeed at Cambridge.
Their religion properly prepares them for this strange world in a way that my Anglican upbringing never could.
For starters, supervisions are not a terrifying prospect to them when they first arrive. For me, the idea of being in a room with someone deeply learned in ancient texts, who will proceed to listen to me babble and, while promising not to judge you, secretly judge you, and then prescribe penance/homework for your sins/ignorance was quite possibly the most alien and daunting thing I had hitherto considered.
What for me was an event looming ominously in my fresher future, for the Catholic Cantab, was akin to just another round of confession. Their Catholicism had prepared them for Cambridge in a way that I could merely dream of.
Now, Catholics get a lot of flak for the whole “Catholic Guilt™” thing. However, I’d like to suggest that this is yet another example of Catholics being built for success in this academically intense environment.
How many times have you been overwhelmed with feelings of regret for having fun when you probably ought to be doing work? Or been unable to even think about beginning an essay as the shame of knowing you’ve left it just a little bit too late has stalled you into an unending cycle of procrastination?
Catholics don’t have this. They are immune to academic guilt. It’s small fry in comparison to the weight of original sin that we all carry. Once you’ve repented over the fall of man, guilt over an essay hardly seems worth getting out of bed for for.
Catholic culture at Cambridge is also super helpful. Did you know that they have an oven at Fisher House? That you can use for pizza? Like, before I got here, I never thought that I’d be excited over the prospect of using an oven, yet here we are. My gyp room has precisely one induction hob and a toaster.
Forget spiritual nourishment. I’d consider converting purely on the grounds that my newfound devotion would provide me with physical nourishment beyond the realm of fried eggs and toast. Also, they have a bar which is really cheap. What’s not to love?
I’m not alone in this desire. When I asked other similarly Catholicism-deprived individuals, I received a range of answers, many in the affirmative. Anna-Marie said that “I sometimes wish I were Catholic so I could understand Blaise Pascal. I just feel that I’d understand his philosophy better if I were Catholic”. Noble, philosophical intentions.
And on top of this, most Catholics are really nice. I can say, hand on heart, I’ve never met a bad one.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for the blatant atheism, then I would be down Fisher House like a fishmonger on a Friday. I’ll continue to admire from afar.