Thursday, October 30, 2008

storing tidbits away

At the same time that I was being indoctrinated into Catholicism, tiny tidbits of knowledge were being stored away. These would turn into the seeds of a full scale rebellion later in my life.

As a child in parochial school, I was devout. I am not sure exactly what I was devout about, but I was nearly fanatical. Looking back I realize that I felt no attachment whatsoever to the Catholic God, the Holy Trinity. As far as I was concerned he was just another adult who seemed to be mad at something all the time. There were lots of adults around just like him. Keep on his good side, stay out of sight. I wondered how Jesus managed to not piss him off.

I did feel great attachment to the rituals of religion. The Latin Mass was still said everyday and on special days the Latin High Mass was sung. I think if I walked into a Church today and heard a Latin High Mass being sung I would weep with joy.

Believer or not, those are rituals suitable for a God. Latin, candles, incense, incredible music....remind you of any good rituals lately?

hmmm, ANYWAY, I was most certainly taken with the rituals....all of them. Rosaries following the Stations of The Cross, morning Mass before school, learning the hymns by heart. Everyone knew the responses for a Low Mass, but at age 8 I could wend my way through a High Mass unassisted.
I collected Holy Cards. Those were playing card size depictions of Saints, generally full of arrows or swords, sometimes just standing around with a halo. On the back of the card would be interesting information about the Saint and the bloody end that earned them their official Sainthood. Modern child psychologists would have a field day with these.

I fantasized about becoming a nun. Not the kind that taught English and Geography. No, a Carmelite nun. Vows of silence, penance weeding the garden. That stuff. I liked the outfit.

But at age 7 the first crack appeared in the perfection of the Church. I learned that my very best friend, who lived next door, who seemed like a nice person, was going straight to hell. No way around it, no arguing would help. She was not a baptized Catholic and therefore she was going to hell.

I explained this to her and asked her to at least get baptized, we could fake the rest.
She laughed. Laughed! Obviously she did not understand. I appealed to the nuns. I begged my friend. No help from either side.

This was the first tidbit that I stored away.

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