Friday, December 19, 2014

Growing Up Catholic

As stated in my previous post, I was born, raised and baptized Catholic.

My mother's family is Catholic, except my Grandfather, who was a Freemason. My mom even remembers the First Vatican, and her Aunt, was a nun! I've got another family member that is a Priest...so I'm Catholic, Confirmed or not.

I was in Catholic schools from Kindergarten through high school. While I'm at odds with my religion, I am more than grateful for my private school education. By the time I made it to school, only a select few teachers had paddles, and there were only a handful of nuns working as teachers/principals. For that, I am grateful. (;

I was actively involved in my Church, going to Mass every weekend, and I was even a part of my Youth Group...until Confirmation. By the time I got to high school, I was going through a typical teenage phase. I started getting into Rock, Punk, Metal, etc. My clothes went from preppy to black. BUT I was still doing well in school, I had the same friends, I was still a Girl Scout, involved in sports, etc. I just liked the music. With the music came the outfits. My mother didn't care. She rode out that phase with me through high school and college, and now I've settled back into my MidWestern, Country roots. I was looking forward to becoming a confirmed Catholic. I remember almost being done with the process. There were classes, and retreats, to ensure that this is what you wanted (honestly though, we were in high school, and doing what our parents said). We had gotten a new Youth Minister. If I saw her today, I'd recognize her instantly, because she single handedly ruined my Confirmation experience. I remember one night, we were all in the basement watching music videos, and she asked to speak with me. I honestly thought it was to do something, take on more responsibility. I looked one way, but my heart and mind were still pure Dee.

The conversation is now a blur. I've come to terms that some people are just sick, and no help can help them. In a nutshell, I was told that being confirmed wasn't just a show for my parents (but Youth Group multiple times a week?), and that if I continued dressing the way I dressed and taking on these "demonic tendencies," I would not be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven. Like any good Catholic, I looked her square in the face, told her to go F**k herself, left crying and had my mom on my cell in minutes. I never looked backed. I should have been confirmed. I wanted it so badly. I did not want to be associated with people like her.

My second issue with Catholicism? The way my mother's family treated her after she left a 25 year physical, mental, emotional, financial abusive marriage. In short, they were judgmental and abandoned her. Not my Grandfather, the Freemason, but all the Catholics.

Oh, and when the new priest told my then 10 year old sister, that she would burn in Hell for the sins of her parents (divorce, even though the marriage was not recognized in the Catholic church as my dad is/was Atheist). Yeah, kind of had to leave the Catholic Church.

When I would go to Church, even after the Confirmation fiasco, I got dirty looks and rude stares because of my clothes. MY CLOTHES. So, I've spent the last decade bouncing around from church to church, all Christian. I even went to a Universalist Church in college. Now, I'm proud to call Emmanuel Christian Church my home...even though I now live in Kentucky. When I'm home, I go there. They are beyond accepting, and the demographics there are so varied. I feel welcomed. I haven't felt like that since Father Jerry was a St. Jude in Indianapolis.

Religion is always a touchy subject. I'm sure there are plenty more Catholics who would die for their religion. I still believe in the doctrine, but I can't go back to that Church. They hated me during my adolescent years, and I don't believe religion should ever be fueled by hate. EVER. Pope Francis is an absolute savior, and I am so thankful that I get to see him living, practicing and enforcing the Second Vatican, as it should.

I'm sure some will read this and be absolutely convinced that I'm going to burn for abandoning my Faith. I like to think that if God does exist, he's not vengeful or full of hate, but rather forgiving and full of understanding. I still strive to be a good person, to better myself, give back to others, and I make it to Church when I'm comfortable and it's right-not for show.

This probably won't be my most popular post. It's just personal experience. In no way, was this meant to bash the Catholic Church. I specifically put in how much I loved it growing up, for a reason.

Until next time!

xo,
*Dee*

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