I know that we are taught to not discuss sex, religion or politics in polite company or at the dinner table, but since I already spoke about politics then I decided to discuss my childhood religion.
My parents were Catholic, although my Mom converted when she married my Dad, and was not a church going person in her youth. I think being a family of 8 or 9 children soon wore out my Grandmother, and church going was far down the line of Things We Have To Do.I was babptized (without my permission by the way) and had a pretty wealthy Godfather. I never noticed any of his influence in my life other than a dollar at Xmas. I think I had a Godmother, but as she was of my parents generation and not around too much, she does not count. I was enrolled at 5 to walk half mile to the Farm Grange Hall to listen to the nuns go on about how god loved us and to parrot all the little religious mottos. Why did god make us? Etc. I just did as I was told, and collected my gold stars in the check list booklet. I did like the candy treats every Friday for just showing up. We went to religious indoctrination every Friday for the next 8 years after I started school, and duly got First Communion and Confirmation at 15. I thought my white communion dress made my skin look sallow. Prior to communion of course, was the confession. What in hell did I have to confess? I was a normal cheery little girl who got picked on by my older brother, who swung my cat around by the tail just to make me go running to Mom tattling on him. Then he used me for Judo practice. I should have been confessing that I wanted to stick a knife in his guts, but instead only could come up with the lame, ” I swore twice since my last confession”, Others in my class remembered that when the priest came to teach us on Friday, he would lose his temper and hit the boys with a ruler. The bad thing about church attendance was that I would get so hungry on Communion days that I would be nauseated by the time I finally got food. We never catered to the children, and my Mom never thought to bring a snack for us, but maybe by the time we paid our little $2.00 in the envelopes, and bought the Sunday paper, we were too poor for eating snacks. I started to question the whole business of going to heaven when I heard the priest say at my Mom’s novena, that he hoped she would get there to enjoy salvation at the right hand of god. What ? This shaman does not KNOW for sure that my Mom who was totally a good compassionate woman was going to heaven? That totally sucked, so for the next 30 years I had very little to do with the Catholic Church, either in attendance or tithing. My husband at the time agreed, as his family actively disliked all the history in Europe of the Church’s misbehavior and corruption. Now as I watch a billion people make fools of themselves over the new Pope, I wonder at their sanity. They can’t see that nothing has changed in how women are treated, how power at the top totally corrupts, and how the priest predators are still running around loose. If there was a smidgen of compassion for gays, women, or Jews in the Catholic Church, I would say let them live in fantasy land. But there is not that component of compassion for their fellow man (and woman) so we continue to suffer the interference of religion in our government and heartbreak in families. Since I can’t believe in the Catholic god any longer, I just can’t believe in any ones’ god be it Hindu, Muslim or Hottentot.