My relationship with the Catholic Church goes back a very long time, to a time before I was even born in fact.
My birth mother, a Catholic woman herself, found herself pregnant and her one rule was the family that adopted me had to be strict Catholics. They were – dad was an altar boy, went to Roman Catholic High, and was a front row regular at weekly mass most of his life. My mother rarely attended church but lived like a nun. I would grow up eventually and learn how odd her behaviors were.
Every Sunday I dutifully attended mass, went to CCD after school to get confirmed, and assumed I’d remain a faithful Catholic all my days.
My first test came when I was 17. I met a man (22) and we were in love. He wanted to move our relationship along, but I could not without marriage. Just six weeks after meeting, we were married. Let’s just say that didn’t work out well.
Raising my children alone several years later, they were preparing for First Holy Communion. The priest said all children with one parent go here, the rest go there. We went “there” because my children have 2 parents. One might be an asshat, but 2 nonetheless.
The pastor says loudly, Ms M., you are in the wrong line, your children have only one parent. I replied Pastor, I know you are celibate but surely even you know I didn’t create these children on my own! There was some laughter, and we stayed put.
I sent my kids to Catholic school mostly out of guilt. I felt I was failing as a parent and needed to compensate. This was a mistake.
I ended up suing the school, Pastor, principal, teacher, and church. It was a personal injury suit related to a complex situation involving my daughter. This came back to bite me many times, in ways I could never have foreseen.
I got fired from a job, basically they lost their contract so had no work for me. I applied for unemployment, had a hearing. They came and said I was vindictive because I filed that lawsuit! I was only named because my daughter was a minor. And my former employers were lawyers!!! I lost (you saw that coming, huh?).
At this point I was about 28, and I became a submarine Catholic, surfacing only for Christmas and Easter. I dropped my lifelong habit of reciting the Our Father and Hail Mary as I lay in bed.
I remarried, in a non-Catholic service. That was 18 years ago – that one stuck!!
Less than 3 years later my father died, of lung cancer but it started in his prostate.
His funeral Mass was the worst day of my life. I have never set foot in church again.
I live in the bible belt, where people are as likely to ask what church you attend as what you think of the weather. I refer to myself as a recovering Catholic.
The lies and broken promises were more than I could bear.
(Please note: this is not an open invitation to try and get me into a church, your church, or any church. All inappropriate comments will be disapproved. Feel free to comment regarding your own journey however.)