I Can’t Get Catholicism Out Of My System

It wasn’t until I started writing that I realized how much my Catholic upbringing is part of my story.  If you had asked me a while ago, I would have replied that I was raised Catholic, but my current beliefs are a mixture of Catholicism and Native American spirituality. The idea that spirituality is tied to the importance of nature and the harmony of keeping the earth pristine and in balance strikes a chord with me.  I’ve definitely been conflicted with this, even while trying to tell myself I am not.

And yet, whether I’m writing for this blog, or writing my memoir essays, I keep going back to Catholicism and how it is the fabric of my being.

  1. I was raised by a Catholic father and Episcopalian mother.  They argued about religion all the time, although I don’t remember my mother ever going to church. Maybe she did before I was born.
  2. My brothers were raised Episcopalian and I was raised Catholic.  A story for another day.
  3. My mother didn’t show up for my First Holy Communion.  It took years for me to forgive her for that.  Actually, maybe I haven’t yet.
  4. Lots of important stories in my life center literally around the Catholic Church.  I’ve written posts about that on this blog.
  5. All of my children were baptized in the Catholic Church.
  6. My second daughter was baptized Catholic in the hospital soon after she was born which was also shortly before she died.  My first rosary beads are buried with her.
  7. My third daughter couldn’t attend CCD (religious instruction after school – not on Sundays) in 1st grade because I worked.  I offered to teach a class in the evening for other kids who were in the same boat but the Church had just stopped offering that as an option.
  8. So in 2nd grade my daughter wasn’t allowed to study for and receive her First Holy Communion because she hadn’t attended in 1st grade.  Ridiculous and it changed the way I looked at the Catholic religion.  God definitely did not make that decision.  Men did.
  9. When my husband and I divorced, I could no longer receive the sacraments.  My belief in God no longer seemed to count (I understand the rule but didn’t like it).
  10. But I could receive communion in the Episcopal Church.  So I attended that Church because I felt betrayed by the Catholic Church but also felt guilty that I had left the Church.  Which seems silly because the liturgy seems virtually the same.
  11. My spirituality was reinforced in AA because I know that God led me to recovery.
  12. I say the Rosary almost every night because it brings me peace and I believe in the power of prayer.
  13. I fiercely hang on to the concept of heaven, even though we have no idea what it “looks” like because the thought of not being with my daughter who died is untenable to me.
  14. I find myself making the sign of the cross frequently.
  15. I believe in angels.
  16. I think that Pope Francis is beyond awesome and if I could have one cell as wonderful as he is I’d be an infinitely better person.
  17. I’m crying while writing this.baptism

Because Catholicism is in the fabric of my being and will always be in my system.

About Barb Knowles

The things that are important to me are family, friends, teaching, writing, languages and using my sense of humor to navigate this crazy world. Please join me on this blogging adventure...
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29 Responses to I Can’t Get Catholicism Out Of My System

  1. Bea dM says:

    Many people brought up Catholic developed serious issues against it along the way, as it’s a demanding faith that has both good and bad. The history is hair-raising (a European and colonial power structure rather than a spiritual Church) and for some people sufficient reason to leave it. Some of its carved-in stone tenets are forbidding, uncharitable and non-inclusive.But … there’s a great Pope there trying to turn the tide. And youv’e kept some of its positive heritage, like the rosary (similar to chanting in other faiths), the angels who might be called differently by other ethnicities 🙂 Please don’t cry…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barb, God bless you. We can recognize the truth in our hearts.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Everyone I know who was raised Catholic says it sticks with them for life–even those who have left the Church.

    Also, Pope Francis is making a lot of those people who left want to come back. He is very popular.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds to like you don’t want to get some parts out of your system! I know what you mean. Pope Francis is great. Faith in a version of heaven is something I won’t shake. As I live in the area I grew up in, a lot of the beliefs and customs I grew up with are just part of my culture thereby comforting. However I will never ‘confess’ to a man who may or may not be holy. I will also never forgive the church for much of what is has allowed happen. Truly wicked. I also didn’t think I was going to write do much!! Sorry!! Sermon over!

    Like

  5. Val says:

    I’m not Catholic, but have and have had many friends who are and have often felt that I understand the catholic soul. Two things come to me. The loss of your child. That must have been terrible and I’m not surprised that you’re crying – that’s going to a constant even without the catholicism undercurrent. Hugs. The other thing: while you may very well be drawn to native american spirituality, remember that there are many native americans who were converted or whose families converted, and they are able to practice their indigenous beliefs through the filter of Christianity or Catholicism, so maybe there is a way for you to honour both of those religious and spiritual needs?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Barb Knowles says:

      Such excellent points. It does bring up, though, questions about colonialism and pushing one culture on another. And, for instance, I have read several articles that I believe to be true (although I can’t remember where they were from, so who knows) that the druids and other cultures had prayer beads before rosary beads were used. But to get back to your point, I think I do honor both traditions. I just have to accept cognitively that I God ensures the importance of both. I love your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. TrewwGriTT61 says:

    Many times in life, the Traditions of our youth still help us through the MOST difficult times! We remain strengthened by family beliefs we have learned! Blessings and Peace to you and your family.Recall God’s great LOVE for you….it NEVER ceases!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: I Can’t Get Catholicism Out Of My System | A WORLD OF THOUGHTS

  8. Ann Coleman says:

    Religion is such a powerful force in our lives, for both good and bad. Ultimately, I think it’s okay for each of us to decide what we believe, and why, but as you know, that’s easier said than done. Peace to you as you struggle with this!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. George says:

    I understand, Barb. I was raised and still practice The Catholic faith but it’s sometimes hard to do. I went to catholic grammar and high school and was an altar boy for quite a few years. But I don’t agree with everything they say and some of their nan made rules. But you’re right, when you grow up with it, it stays in your blood and never leaves. Good luck trying to reconcile it. It can be a lifelong struggle.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Garfield Hug says:

    I am like you in that I was born and raised a catholic but totally hate catholicism now. To me, it is now all fake in that it has lost its reality of the the faith. It is fuddy duddy and I am now more open to other religions that do not teach blind faith. I believe the usefulness of the tenets of Buddhism as like all religions it teaches us good. Except Catholicism taught me how aloof the Catholic church is as I heavily debated with my priest. I am sure the real forgiving God is not speaking through the different characters that preach the Catholic faith in the way delivered. Chin up. I too felt betrayed. To me, the Catholic church needs rebranding. Else it loses it flock. It lost me as I started asking valid questions that they could not and answer. I am a lost sheep 😢

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      My realization that the Catholic Church is such a part of the fabric of my life has drawn me back to it, not away from it. Even the tears I shed (not sobbing, but tearing up) writing this post were a sign of how important and embedded this faith is to me. I haven’t lost my faith, but rather found it again. I have never lost my spirituality nor the peace that comes with prayer. But I am drawn once again, to Catholicism. Thank you for your comments. I don’t want you to be a lost sheep 😦

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      • Garfield Hug says:

        Oh then I am truly glad for you Barb. I am looking for my shepherd. Till then….I am lost till found 😦 have a good night and thanks for letting me know. I need to find my answers 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        Don’t get me wrong. Not all of my questions have been answered. But I think that those are between God and me. The traditions of the Catholic faith resonate with me now, although I felt…..kicked out in a way. It’s hard to explain. But it is definitely in my system for good. I would love to keep this conversation going. If you are interested, my email is on my public profile. Have a good evening and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Garfield Hug says:

        Thank you for taking the time to write. I will look for your email. Work is brutal. Will find the time to chat with you Barb 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  11. mitchteemley says:

    Not Catholic, but I’m making a film for a Catholic organization and have a lot of respect for them. And, yeah, Pope F rocks!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t really have anything good to say about the Catholic Church so I’ll say nothing at all. At least here. But if your beliefs give you solace then I am all for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. theprotestingprotestant says:

    Help me out here… You can’t receive communion if you’re divorced? I’ve had this discussion before with one of the priests at my church. His response was that you can and should receive communion even if you are divorced. It is only if you have been remarried after a divorce that you are not allowed to receive communion…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. inexperiencedhomeschoolingmom says:

    I just wanted to let you know that just because you are divorced, that doesn’t mean that you cannot receive Holy Communion. If you are divorced and you get remarried without getting an annulment from the Church, then you are not allowed to receive Holy Communion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      Yes I’m remarried. But I did think that you couldn’t receive if you were divorced. I’ve joined a new church (hint, hint this will be a blog post in a day or two) so don’t want to spill my beans in this reply. Thank you for reading this post and commenting!

      Like

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