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Sun Apr 14, 2019, 10:35 PM

Recovering Catholic Vent.

I went through 8 years of Catholic elementary school. By the 5th, 6th or 7th grade I was hating it. Way too restrictive and by that time (1969 - 1970 or so) I was very interested in the anti-war movement and the women's liberation movement. When I started public high school in 1972 I began to experience the diversity of ideas that I wanted. Just being able to wear jeans and t shirts was such a relief from that regimen. I gravitated to the hippie/stoner clique. I drank, got high, smoked cigarettes and had experiences with the opposite sex. More importantly, I got even more interested in politics. I put on an award-winning anti-war play and participated in a Roe v. Wade decision celebration in 1973, when I would have been 15. I wrote for the school paper and wrote anti-war and pro-choice articles. But there was a disconnect. I continued to attend church with my parents, although I did so reluctantly. It was partly out of habit and partly not to disappoint them more than I already was doing. The whole Catholic complicated dogma and life-long guilt trip irritated the hell out of me but I still went. Then a priest from the parish visited my sister at our house when I was not home and apparently took a tour of my bedroom. (Yes, creepy.) The next Sunday's sermon did not mention me by name but was all about me. All about how seemingly nice Catholic girls have cigarettes on their nightstands and posters of sleazy rock stars, marijuana leaves and horrible people like Gloria Steinem in their bedrooms. I felt totally violated and embarrassed. I just said "fuck this" to my parents and refused to have anything to do with church again other than the occasional Christmas for a couple years.

Was invited to a palm Sunday mass today and politely declined. Just had to get this off my chest. Maybe someone can relate.

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Recovering Catholic Vent. (Original post)
Kath2 Sunday OP
Prof. P.E. Name Sunday #1
PoindexterOglethorpe Monday #2
gopiscrap Monday #3
WinstonSmith4740 Monday #4
Collimator Monday #6
WinstonSmith4740 Monday #11
3catwoman3 Monday #17
caraher Monday #12
WinstonSmith4740 Monday #13
Collimator Monday #15
TlalocW Monday #5
lindysalsagal Monday #7
logosoco Monday #8
harumph Monday #9
OnDoutside Monday #14
ismnotwasm Monday #10
3catwoman3 Monday #16
Laura PourMeADrink Monday #18

Response to Kath2 (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2019, 11:18 PM

1. Been there, saw that

12 years in Catholic schools, even was asked by my clerics to communicate with the Great One when I was 13 to see if I was ready to join the ministry (!), and then service in Sam's military in a Catholic country did it for me (couldn't reconcile the egregious inconsistencies). Retired from organized religion after that.

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Response to Kath2 (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:07 AM

2. I only went to Catholic school for kindergarten and first grade.

Then we moved away from the city and to a small town where we all went to public school.

By the time I was fifteen I was have fights with my mother about going to mass. By then I simply no longer believed, but she, at that point, couldn't see any other way of living, other than as a nominal Catholic which included going to mass.

I'm one of six, and none of us as adults were churchgoers. Even mom stopped going some years before she died. She did tell me once that she absolutely did not believe in an afterlife of any kind, that when you were dead, that was it. Everything stopped.

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Response to Kath2 (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:20 AM

3. Good for you

I am a victim of Catholic School also I can so relate but in a different way will write more about it tom orrow

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Response to Kath2 (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 01:04 AM

4. Never went to Catholic school.

Did do the whole Catechism thing though, and was treated like a second class citizen because I was a "public". Damn nuns even called us that in class.

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Response to WinstonSmith4740 (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 01:22 AM

6. You, too?

My family had five kids and couldn't afford (or maybe my parents didn't consider it) Catholic school. We lived three blocks from the church, though, and in a very Catholic neighborhood.

The families on the street with four or fewer kids sent theirs to St. Anthony's Elementary. Our family and the one with nine kids went to the public school three blocks further away. Walking home from school, we would pass St. Anthony's and the uniformed students would taunt us with calls of "public", pretty much knowing that we were Catholics because the Protestant kids all lived in the other direction away from the public school.

The year my brother won the Catechism Award for students preparing for their confirmation was the first time that a "public" had won it. The award was normally given out during a huge Mass celebration when the 2nd graders received First Holy Communion and the older kids had their Confirmation. It was a Big Deal.

The Sunday before the big May Day Mass with all the ceremonies my brother was called into the Principal's office during Sunday School. They handed him the award there in the office and that was that.

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Response to Collimator (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:23 PM

11. Yeah, amazing wasn't it?

Here's my favorite war story. When I was about 6, and my sister was 9, a priest came to the house to question my dad as to why we weren't going to Catholic school. (I'm a boomer...this was about 1954-ish) Dad stated his reasons...the public school was literally across the street from us, the education at the time was better (Catholic schools had 3 kids/desk and book. All my cousins went to Catholic school...their math skills were atrocious & their grammer was awful. Science? What's that? But they did know the Stations of the Cross.) My dad's driving goal for us was a solid education. Nuns used to hit kids back then, too, and he and my mom were responsible for our discipline, not them. And BTW, they never hit us. So when he finished, the priest actually said to him, "Well, you're not a fit father if you don't send your kids to Catholic school." I will never, NEVER forget the look on dad's face, the color coming up in it, and my mom trying to hustle us out of the room. My dad stopped her, and told her he WANTED us to hear this. He turned on that priest, and as mom used to say "Laid him out in lavender". I don't remember the whole thing, but I do remember "...how DARE you come into my house and call me an unfit father in front of my children? Step outside, turn that collar around, and we'll discuss this like men." The priest couldn't leave fast enough.

We stayed with the church, but let's just say neither parent had the time or the tolerance for the dogma.

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Response to WinstonSmith4740 (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 03:51 PM

17. Bravo to your dad.

It has been a long time since I last heard that “laid him out in lavender” phrase - probably read it in a novel.

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Response to WinstonSmith4740 (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:28 PM

12. I went to Catholic school and remember talk of "publics"

What a weird term! It came off as if "publics" were these wild, barely-civilized children we might at best pity for their being only marginal members of the fold. Used interchangebly with "CCDs." Anything out of order in a classroom was "probably" done by "the CCDs."

I'd almost forgotten about this Catholic caste system.

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Response to caraher (Reply #12)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:32 PM

13. Having a flashback here!

It came off as if "publics" were these wild, barely-civilized children we might at best pity for their being only marginal members of the fold.

SO TRUE!! It was used as though we were barely human, much less civilized. Never heard of CCD, though. What did it stand for?

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Response to caraher (Reply #12)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 02:04 PM

15. Of course I can smile about it now.

However, I remember experiencing a mini-inquisition because my mother was Notary and there was a sign on the house that read "Notary Public". Of course I don't remember the exact words, but the word "public" on the house was equated to "Protestant". And that word was flung at me in stern judgment by a schoolgirl who probably hadn't yet heard the word, "heretic", but understood the underlying concept.

On a more positive note, a decade or so later, some of the little girls on the street come to see me and sang "Ave Maria" after my dog had been hit by a car. It was on the same porch where my age-mates had knelt to pray for my soul. . . Either the next generation of Catholics became more tolerant or my dog was much more popular than me.

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Response to Kath2 (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 01:11 AM

5. In college

I signed up as a math tutor for the local high schools through a program with my university, and one of them was a Catholic school. I'm not normally one for being weirded out by an atmosphere, but it felt different than my public school buildings growing up. I didn't have too many students show up so I would sometimes sneak a peek at the essays turned in by students that the teacher left on her desk, and I remember one of the assignments was, "How Would You Talk a Friend Out of Getting an Abortion." Doing quick reads of them, they all pretty much followed the same talking points in the same order, obviously parroting whatever the teacher told them. Nice little robots.

TlalocW

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Response to Kath2 (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 08:25 AM

7. Religious indoctrination is abuse. You are smart to leave, but you'd be smarter to get a therapist

who can really release you from the years of shaming and blaming: It will poison your whole life if you don't de-program. It's a cult. Consider yourself a chronic abuse victim and seek help. I'm not kidding.

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Response to Kath2 (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 09:36 AM

8. I can relate to this on many levels!

I am younger than you (I started kindergarten in 1970) and my single mom did not have the money to send me to Catholic school (although my sister did go in the 8th grade. maybe my mom was hoping to "save" her?). And I was able to get out of going to church before i turned 15.

My single mom was on birth control pills and told us that it was against the church (much as her short marriage to my non-Catholic father was!). So to me she opened up the door to get out of there. To this day she is 84 and goes to mass almost daily. I am glad she finds something there, but nothing about the place moved me (maybe the art and architecture! ). I tried but my heart and mind never could go there.

My sister and I were also cigarette and pot smokers, listening to rock music and having fun with our bodies, how we clothed them or danced. We are both in our mid 50s now and I am still waiting for us to be the bad rebels we thought we would become. So far we are just good folks who love our kids and grandkids! And we kept them away from church!

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Response to Kath2 (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 11:19 AM

9. I'm not a "good" Catholic - but still Catholic

I too went to Catholic school but never experienced that kind of intrusive meddling or abuse. To a person,
the nuns and priests were tough - but kind and caring - and never inappropriate.
Some parishes were more decidedly conservative than others. It's a mixed bag of about 1 billion people, some
terrible, some good, some wonderful.

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Response to harumph (Reply #9)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 01:27 PM

14. You're probably a better Catholic than many of the "Holy Joes".

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Response to Kath2 (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 11:29 AM

10. My Mom was a convert. I got baptized when I was 12

It never really took. I was a meh. I find good and bad in just about all religions, They’re all about the same to me. I admit an affectation for the Catholic Church, with it’s schizophrenic history and it’s angst and it’s intellectual tradition, it’s major part in the rise of modern western civilization with all the good, the bad and the very ugly.

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Response to Kath2 (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 03:43 PM

16. What that priest did is Category V creepy.

The Unitarian Universalist congregation that have I participated in since 2011 has a hefty percentage of former/recovering/recovered Catholics.

I was apparently a religious rebel from a fairly young age. One of my mother’s favorite stories about me is when I was about 8, and asked, when we rotely recited our bedtime prayers, if we couldn’t please say “Ah, Ladies,” instead of “Ah-men” all the time.

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Response to Kath2 (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 03:56 PM

18. wow, what a story ! I can still remember the mean priest telling us girls not to french kiss

with a boy or he will immediately have his hands all over you. This was years ago - and just last month, in the CT paper, it told that many are coming forward now against this priest for sexual abuse.

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