The other day I was having a conversation with a friend and I was talking about doing things or not doing things and always feeling bad and guilty. She replied with it’s because you were raised as a Catholic. I found her comment very interesting and have thought a lot about it. It does really make sense. When I was growing up we were raised as strict Catholics where we practiced daily with prayers before supper and bedtime and church every saturday. We went to Catholic schools and really didn’t know anything about other religions or ways of life. I never really even questioned the ways of our church and religion until I was into university. This was after my eldest sister refused to go to church, pray or participate in anything to do with Catholicism.
I began to search through my own beliefs to see where they lined up with the Catholic churches. I found that I had a lot of Christian views as well as Catholic beliefs but looking back I always felt horrible anytime I did anything wrong, or didn’t go to church or didn’t pray properly or was sleepy in church! I was constantly feeling guilty and ended up trying to hide anything that might go against the churches preachings!! I feel now that a lot of those guilty feelings and even now still is because the Priests in our church are so strict in their ways and make it seem like you cannot do anything against what they say.
I stopped going to church when I went away to school although I tried to go when I was home because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents. But I developed some negative feelings because the Priest would preach every sunday about bringing people into the church because their religion was low on church goers. I remember thinking that I felt like a Catholic, even though I didn’t pray every night or go to church every week, but I felt guilty by the priest because I was no longer going to church every week.
When Dave and I were deciding where to get married, I knew it wasn’t going to be in a Catholic church. Dave is not Catholic and I didn’t want him pressured into promising to raise our children as Catholics, take a marital course beforehand, and promise to practice the Catholic religion himself. I felt a lot of guilt with this decision and thought my parents would be disappointed, but they supported us in our decision and understood when we explained that we believed in a lot of aspects still of the Catholic religion, but didn’t want the added pressures and guilty feelings.
We also chose not to baptize our kids, which was hard because I always pictured myself doing it. I am slowly becoming at peace with my religion and our choices and wonder if I am the only guilty Catholic out there! I am strengthen by my upbringing and am so thankful for it, and will always cherish my Christian beliefs. I know my parents probably influenced a lot not just the church and the Priests, but I feel like they need an overhaul to get up to date with the rest of society. Am I crazy or are there others out there that feel similar? I know Religion can be an intense subject, but I would love to hear your comments below.