What's it all about?

Fast approaching 30 I've fallen in to teaching, a career though championed by many amongst my friends and family, I've tried desperately to avoid. Worse still I appear to have missed the heyday when students were keen and wages were plenty. Having left city-life behind to support my partner through a prolonged recovery from cancer, it's clear I've become isolated, not only from my old life, but from the future I hoped it would lead to...

There must be more to life than this..?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Non-Moan no.2 (Week 6)

The Divine Inheritance.
Having been raised in a strict and heavily practised Catholic family it’s fair to say I’ve been burdened with my fair share of catholic guilt. A cross many have to carry. I’ve since completely denounced the faith which was thrust upon me from birth with some vigour. (I’m sure it has nothing to do with facts such as Britain, a country whose head of state and national religion is Church of England, has recently shelled out a ridiculous amount of money, quite literally millions of pounds, for the ‘honour’ of a Papal visit. Or that collection plates are sent round during mass which encourage congregations, including the elderly and those who may be poor, to part with what little money they have, despite the Vatican being one of the richest states in the world). In all seriousness this is not a bashing of the catholic church or it’s congregations so I hope I don’t offend people. Just my thoughts and ramblings really...
In theory I like the ideas and values that Christianity stands for, however in truth, the Catholic Church, like many religions, does not seem to practice, nor encourage such actions.
Judgement, judgement, judgement... That’s all I’ve encountered. As an all encompassed entity it never seems happier then when someone is shunned and extradited from the land of the good and any right to expect some form of paradise upon death.

This guilt however seems to have spilled over into many other areas of my life. This week at work a colleague blamed me for something that was not my fault. I quickly corrected the issue and revealed, unintentionally, that I was not at fault and by doing so, indirectly named the guilty party. Thought he did not seem to care about letting me take the fall, I still felt incredibly guilty for telling the truth. Guilt which when coupled with a nervous energy induces a paranoia I don’t care for. These emotions if looked on logically are quite inexplicable.
This sense of guilt occurs frequently. I remember in my youth at school for a short period we appeared to have a class thief. (That would be a thief who stole items from members of the class and not a thief who possessed particularly good taste). Even though I knew nothing about it, and had taken no part in the stealing of items, I still felt terrible, as though somehow it was my fault and I should be punished.
There are many other anecdotes I could recite, but my point is, even though I don’t class myself as a member of this or any other religion and refuse to step foot in any religious buildings for fear of my body setting ablaze after self-combustion disappearing in to a cloud of dust, I still carry the effect that it has had upon my life.
After much pondering, I wonder, do all religions impose such guilt on their congregations? Or are Catholics alone in this? And either way, is it healthy?


Pearl said...

I'm going to say "unhealthy". :-)

We have a woman at work who assumes guilt, even guilt to which she has no claim; and it's exhausting. HOnestly, people have stopped trying to soothe her about all the things she hasn't done...

I say Go Forth, Handsome and Capable One, and enjoy this short time on Earth. :-)


Belle said...

I grew up in the Seventh-Day-Adventist church. When I first read about "Catholic Guilt" I thought to myself, "That is just like the guilt Adventists always feel."
I no longer go to church, although I am crazy about God - I just think he is the greatest thing around - but church people just wore me down with their condemnation.

I could tell you hundreds of stories of the bad way my fellow church members treated people, but suffice it to say that when they were mean to my husband when he was sick in the hospital; that was the last straw.

Jesus said there will always be evil people in the church, so it shouldn't have surprised me. But the way I see it, God has to put up with them - not me. I hope I have forgiven everyone and love them, but who knows? God knows my heart and I just give the whole mess to him and forget about it.

Oh yeah, guilt. You hit quite a nerve with me didn't you! I no longer have guilt when I do something wrong. I realize that I am not perfect and neither is anyone else. I apologize to people and God and leave it. I learned from Joyce Meyer not to let my feelings rule my life. When I feel bad about myself or anything, I immediately make myself think positive thoughts.

Don't mix God up with churches. He loves you so much - well, I can't find the words.

Drew Benn said...

Awwe thanks Pearl, I fear I'm heading down the path of your colleague, not quite that bad just yet though hehe.

Belle I love your response. You're so right. I do have my own beliefs and I'm starting to be more aware of the whole guilt thing (it's strange though) but I think you've got it very well balanced :)

Many thanks x

Anonymous said...

Of course it is unhealthy, dear heart, and you know that. I am not Catholic and though raised in the Methodist/Greek Orthodox (yes both!) faith have stopped going to church entirely. I am still a very spiritual person and consider myself Christian but couldn't stand the hypocracy of "only God can judge you" yet the church judges everyone! I can't abide my any orginization that takes away a woman's choice to use birth control, terminate unwanted or unhealthy pregnancies, guilt/scare people into a deeper faith, frown on anyone for who they love, etc...the list goes on and on.

I know plenty of Catholics and Christians who have issues with guilt...I am one of them. I honestly believe that this has less to do with the church and more to do with who we are as people. I'm a people pleaser...I hate hurting or letting people down. I would place money on it that you are the same way...that's why casting blame elsewhere made you feel bad. Even though they treated you unfairly by letting you take the fall, you casting blame their way still made you feel bad. You are just a good person, that's all.

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