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Gave Up Catholicism For Lent, Forgot To Take It Back

By Pilar ~

I was raised in an Irish Catholic home. I don't recall having much belief in any of it. I got in trouble once for saying Mass to my stuffed animals. My parents wouldn't say it but it was because GIRLS CAN'T BE PRIESTS. Church was boring and the stories were the same thing. I just didn't "get" it. Catholic school was good only for making me smarter than the public school kids.

Dingle Irish Catholic ChurchImage by bhenak via Flickr

When I was a teenager, I told my parents the Bible didn't make any sense and they flipped out on me. It was so strange to see normally rational people flip out like that. So I lied and said I didn't understand some of the names and terms like Nebuchadnezzar. They totally calmed down after that.

My Catholic school shut down because it was in a small town and no one had money for tuition. My parents sent me to catechism classes, which devolved into nonsense, especially when it was time for sex ed. I'll never forget when the teacher wrote "Sex, You, and Reality." It was a lot of dumbness about platonic love and waiting until marriage. None of it was realistic.

After I left for college, I went to school a few times because I felt like I had to.

Then my mom got sick with cancer. She was going to die. I sat with her for four months. Every few days the priest would show up to give her Rites for the Sick. My family had never gotten over Vatican II, so I knew they just watered down the name from Extreme Unction. My grandfather asked me all the time if she'd gotten her last rights. He's a total ahole.

She seemed to get a lot of comfort out of it, but I sure didn't. In fact, it only made me angry. She told me she wanted to be cremated, but later dad convinced her to be buried (remember the Vatican II BS). That made me really angry. I know that they were a married couple making a decision together, but knowing that my father had a real fear that my mom would go to hell just for being cremated freaked me out. Normally he's rational and smart. Besides, no god would put my mom in hell for putting up with all our sh*t over the years.

She was in fact buried in a Catholic cemetery dedicated to the souls of aborted fetuses. They just had to work their politics in through my grief.

That was my first step to my breakup with the church.

Later I moved to Portland, home of the Archdiocese of Portland. I started hearing about men who had been molested by priests. At first I didn't believe it, because I reflexively sided with the church. This is absurd because I'm a rape victim myself and I know how painful it is when people blame the victim.

I still went to church sometimes, but only because I wanted to get married in the cathedral like my parents. Parish members get a steep discount.

But then the stories were too many to discount. I started to doubt.

Then the archdiocese severed my ties to church or religion by declaring bankruptcy.

That was it. Now, I was able to side with the victims. The church was a behemoth that wasn't interested in protecting children once they were out of the womb and safe from the threat of abortion. They would rather plead poverty than provide money for the people they harmed to get help.

It's only gotten worse over the years. The church's stand on women, gays, condoms and every other backward idea has just reaffirmed that there is really no god, just a patriarchy that uses the threat of god to keep people in line.