05. April 2005 · Comments Off on Growing Up Catholic · Categories: Good God

Okay, I’ll say it…I have issues. I’m going to throw them out here, take a look at them, probably delete them by morning because that’s what fallen Catholics do. We go off on mad rants and then we shut up like good little Catholics and hide our shame in prayer in dark corners of chapels and churches. Some of us drink heavily, some of us used to drink heavily. Some of us never set foot in a church again and some of us go back from time to time because we miss the warm, familiar, meditation of the mass. Some of us have read books by Father Joseph Girzone and for a brief time we may actually believe that it’s OUR church not their church. Some of us find other religions but never feel quite right because we’re taught from the get go, we’re the one true church, any others are simply shadows. Some of us find good and loving people that finally teach us the difference between religion and spirituality. We never had a problem with God…just some of the folks who said they worked for Him.

If we went to catholic schools anytime in the 60s and 70s we may have had the last of the ninja nuns. Brandishing their samurai yard sticks and hurling their erasers of death they terrorized us little urban terrorists with rulers and threats of kneeling in the corner for hours on end. After one particularly long kneeling marathon…I wasn’t sure if I would ever walk again but hey…I was six…everything was a big deal at six. If we really screwed up, we got sent to Father or Monsignor.

Sister Mary Beatyanow and Father Killyalater. Characters out of comedy sketches for a lot of folks. Part of the freak show of the memory reel for others.

Something else we do. We make excuses for our leaders and our church. Because if a man or woman of God caused us pain, we either had it coming or it was good for us. “Offer it up.” That’s what we were told. Any sort of pain, “Offer it up.” Suffering adds to your holiness. That’s a hell of a setup isn’t it? If we beat the shit out of you it’s good for you. If something bad happens, it makes your spiritual side stronger. My favorite message? You must have done something to deserve the bad thing that happened. You know, when the pedophilia “thing” broke, I wasn’t even suprised…all I could think was, “Damn, we got off easy.”

Guilt. Fear. Shame. Peer pressure. Peer banishment. Good old fashioned beatings. Bloody knees and knuckles. And that was just in grade school. If you graduated to the “Teen Club” where the really cool kids got to hang out on Friday and Saturday nights (parish gym and a record player with lots of dark corners and a priest chaperone who couldn’t smell the beer from the vodka on his breath…woohoo) you got to go through an initiation ceremony that the folks at Abu Ghraib would have enjoyed. Good clean fun. To this day I’m pretty sure that if it wasn’t for me and Danny, a gal we knew would have been gang-raped by the football team with “coach father” cheering them on. We simply couldn’t pass the climb up the slippery pole test even after they dried the Wesson off for us…at least not until the gal left.

So yeah…I usually keep my mouth shut about the Catholic Priest Pedophilia “thing.” It’s not something I think about on purpose. I’m usually okay with it on the back burner. And yeah, I’ve been to counselling, with a priest no less. They’re not all sadists and perverts. Some of them are even sober. Some of them even have their own personal relationship with God in spite of the church. That’s pretty impressive.

In case you missed it, I’m having problems with JPII’s death. The irony of his being a champion of children while Cardinal Law lives in luxury in the Vatican is a bit much even for my most cynical self.

The weird thing is that I really WANT to be proud of the religion I grew up in. Growing up the way I did though, I don’t get to. Having the church continue to remain silent on this issue is simply unacceptable.

And yeah…I’m going to over-react to anyone who I even think is minimalizing or disregarding this “thing” until the church goes back to being on the back-burner so I can put my freak show back where it belongs. Not your fault, you’re just caught in the crossfire. God knows it’s much easier to go after one of you than it is to go after the church. Your face isn’t etched in my head with a ruler in your hand.

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