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Guilty Catholic

Guilty Catholic

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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.

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Comments (11)

  1. Shaunacey Peplinski Thursday - 27 / 09 / 2012 Reply
    It sounds to me like you are not Catholic anymore. So maybe you don't have to consider yourself a "Guilty Catholic" anymore? I am sure lots of other non-practicing Catholics will relate with you on this post though. I try to be a practicing Catholic, go to church Sundays, daily prayer and believe all the Church's teachings. But I do feel guilty daily when I don't take enough time to pray. But its because I know it saddens God that I won't spend time with him. It is very hard to practice religion is this society. But I know I am doing the right thing for my family by raising my children to know and love God through the Catholic faith.
    • Nina Thursday - 27 / 09 / 2012 Reply
      Thank you Shaunacey for your comments. I do agree with the statement of it being hard to practice religion in this society. It may not have been relayed, but I would still consider myself a Catholic, but not a church going Catholic. I know a lot of people consider those that don't go to church as non religious, but I don't think that is necessarily true. That was kinda one of my points is that I want to be a Catholic in my own way, which does include praying, believing in God and raising my family with Christian beliefs. Anyways I know you are doing the right thing for your family as well, and also believe it is important that children know and love God. Thank you again!!
  2. Jen Thursday - 27 / 09 / 2012 Reply
    Thanks Nina...very brave post :) I am a Christian and feel that it's not about all the "do's & don'ts" of religion but about having a relationship. I agree that if we step outside of our religious "box", we will find many, many scriptures where God invites us to have a relationship with Him. He loves & accepts us and recognizes that we are not perfect. I can't find anywhere in the Bible where Jesus judged others. So when we feel judged by our church, is that really a healthy relationship? Just wondering...:) Thanks for posting....Religion raises alot of questions & possibly rustles alot of feathers...! But it's something we can talk about & find peace in knowing others feel the same :)
    • Nina Thursday - 27 / 09 / 2012 Reply
      Thank you Jen, After re reading I can see that it could have been taken different ways! It is truly an amazing subject that a lot of people are passionate about. I hope I didn't offend anyone, because that definitely was not my intent. I think it is good to talk about it and it helped me to come to peace on a lot of things!
  3. Jen Thursday - 27 / 09 / 2012 Reply
    Hi Nina....I think your article was perfect !! You shared what was on your heart and where those feelings came from. If others take offense, those are their issues :) You did a great job bringing forward something that is on other's minds but don't talk openly about....I'm really happy for your post. I want to be able to tell anyone who will listen that we don't have to feel guilty....we just have to continue to grow in our faith & build a relationship with God who patiently waits for each of us....:)
    • Nina Thursday - 27 / 09 / 2012 Reply
      Aw thank you Jen, I agree with you and hope for the same :)
  4. Kristen Friday - 28 / 09 / 2012 Reply
    Hi Nina, I too was raised in a catholic household and attended church on Sundays. When I was in high school I started questioning a lot of the things about the Catholic religion. I didn't understand what gave the priest the right to be closer to God than me (that's how I felt.) I didn't understand why I needed him to forgive me for my sins (through confession) and why I couldn't just talk to God myself. After University, I started attending The Bridge in Kanata with my husband (boyfriend at the time). It really opened my eyes to how my relationship with God really should be, open and honest. I didn't need a priest to relay my messages to God, I could talk to him however and whenever I wanted, it didn't have to be in formal prayer. I find a have a much closer, personal relationship with Him now and this has really helped me come to terms with all my negative feelings towards the Catholic church. I do not concider myself Catholic anymore but am very much a Christian. I try to attend Church every Sunday, not because I feel I HAVE to anymore (like I did with the Catholic church) but more because I really want to. The Pastor at The Bridge is AMAZING and he does a really great job of helping you understand how you can have a great relationship with God and be a good Christian.
    • Nina Friday - 28 / 09 / 2012 Reply
      Thank you for sharing Kristen. It's amazing how much we grow and change spiritually throughout our lifetime. I really appreciate you telling your story. It's nice hearing that someone went through a similar transition/experience. I love that you are at the point where you choose to attend church now because you want to as opposed to feel like you have to.
  5. Kimberly O'Brien Friday - 28 / 09 / 2012 Reply
    I grew up Catholic as well and when I was first interested in my husband who was Protestant, I asked my mom if it was okay to go out with him. Now I wonder what I would have said if she had said no and laugh about it. I am so happy with him and I feel incredibly blessed to be living in a Christian home (which has very little to do with attending church on Sundays). We need to remember that there is a difference between religion and God. As another commentator wrote, it's about relationship with an intimate and loving Father. The New Testament is a love story - Jesus came to bring freedom, to serve, to give of himself unto death because He so loved the world.
    • Nina Friday - 28 / 09 / 2012 Reply
      I agree Kim, thank you for telling your story as well! I think I still have some spiritual growth to work on and am actually looking forward to it!
  6. melody lachance Saturday - 29 / 09 / 2012 Reply
    Hi Nina, I too was raised in a Catholic family, and in turn raised my children with the Catholic faith. They attended Catholic schools, made all their sacrements, but we didn't attend church regularly. To me church is a personal thing, there is no right or wrong. Religion is about being considerate, respectful and caring towards all this world has to offer. So many times I would go to church and later meet the same people who were chanting and singing the praises - to see them being cruel. To be a good Catholic (or any faith) you don't have to go inside a building - you can pray when and wherever you need to. Over the last few years my faith has taken a "shit kicking" just due to watching loved ones suffer, taken away from us and wonder why. But when we sit back, what do we do, we pray to god (or a higher being) to help us get through it. Religion (or non-religion) is just a part of who we are. Good topic Nina.

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