Proud to be Catholic


Some people just don't understand my family.  You know how we siblings put each other down in our familial teasing.  Some people think that's terrible.  They don't understand that's how we show love.

You know how everyone in the family makes fun of Mom's lack of cooking skills.  Some people think that's disrespectful to our mother.  They don't understand that our love for her is all embracing, including burnt food.

You know how your spouse is so "pollyannaish".   Someone could deliberately insult him, and he'd say, "Well we all have bad days."  Some people find that annoying.  I find it endearing.

The Catholic Church is a family.  We members of the family jokingly talk about nuns with rulers, and priests and nuns who aren't up to date with the latest cultural mores.  Some people don't understand that it's our love for the church, is what allows us to joke about her.  This is what happened, yesterday.

In my writer's group, we read out loud.  One member told a story about her husband.  Her husband teases her with accusations of "Catholic guilt."  Another member's story told the tale of parochial school where the nuns' talk of sin making her see sin everywhere.

The lady next to me said, "Thank God, I'm not Catholic."

I told her I was proud to be Catholic.  She apologized and said she didn't mean to offend me, she was just reacting to the Catholic stories.

Later, upon reflection, neither of these Catholic stories were damning Catholics.  "Catholic guilt," is a term meaning you recognize sin.  If you got drunk, you should feel bad about doing that; that's Catholic guilt.  As for the nuns, wouldn't you expect nuns to teach about sin?  The speaker could easily have replaced nuns with doctors, making her see germs everywhere.  They're just stories,  no moralizing intended.

It reminds me of how some people think Catholic pray to saints.  We do say, "Pray to St. Anthony."  But we're thinking, "Pray for St. Anthony's intercession with God."  The same with worshipping statues.  Just because we have statues of saints to remind us of their virtuous behavior to emulate, doesn't mean we think of them as God.  I also have a statue of a dolphin, a bust of Ben Franklin, trophies, and other secular memorabilia.

I guess it's a family thing, and if you're not in the family, you just don't understand.  The rock group, the Lovin Spoonful, said it best, it's like  TRYING TO TELL A STRANGER ‘BOUT ROCK AND ROLL .     

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