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Growing up religious.

Started by Papasito Bruno, March 05, 2022, 07:09:32 PM

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Papasito Bruno

I've recently described here on the forum in other threads some of the experiences I had a young child, and even a teenager while going to a Catholic School.

Thinking of these memories has caused me to remember other events and experiences from this time, and so I thought perhaps a thread where we could share similar stories would be warranted as I would love to hear the experiences of others here at HAF who have their own stories to share.




I'll start off with one I story I have that I actually told once to an audience at a small Comedy Bar during open-mike night.

"Going to a Catholic School meant we had to go to confession about every 3-4 weeks. We would go to the Church by grade, and then sit together by homeroom class next to one of the confessionals. As classmates went into the booth we would slide along the pew, and then when you were next in line you would stand up, and wait at the end of the pew until the person before you finished up, and was dismissed by the priest.
This one particular day I was sitting in the pew, and trying to think up sins I had recently committed as a 2nd grader. Kind of makes you wonder what kind of lives they thought us 7-8 year olds were living that we had to go to confession so often.
That day I could't think of any transgressions, and I even whispered to the classmates sitting next to me what they were confessing. This was common amongst us, so they had no issue telling me their sins, however. I didn't think any of them pertained to me so I came to the conclusion that by some miracle I hadn't sinned in 3 weeks!

So when it was my turn to stand at the end of the pew, I turned to the classmate next to me, and told them to take my place as I had nothing to confess. (Kids name was Ralph)

As I started to walk toward the spot in the pews where kids who had already confessed and were saying their penances were kneeling I felt the dry, sharp claws of the Sister on my earlobe as she pulled me roughly to the side.

"I saw you, she said, you didn't go into the booth to confess...what do you think your doing"?
I said, 'I have no sins to confess, so I was going to skip it today".
"WHAT", she said back to me, "YOU, have no sins to confess? A dirty, rotten boy like you must have a ton of sins to confess"!!

With that she dragged me back to the spot at the end of the pew, and told the classmate who was standing there to sit back down, and shoved me in their place....she then told me that I should include lying to a nun, and trying to get out of confession when I speak to the Priest.

I stood there, and when the next classmate exited the booth the kindly nun shoved me toward the confessional. "Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it's been 3 weeks since my last confession, these are my sins", and then I lied and made some stuff up.... "Forgive me for my sins Father".
He then said his little speech, gave me my pentance to perform, and I walked out.

Of course Sister Lovely was waiting for me, and she gave me a horrible look as I walked past her with my head down.

So basically I lied to the Priest while confessing. I always wondered if lying during confessional was actually worse than my normal sins at that age, stuff like saying a swear word, taking an extra cooking, or looking at the girls in class. You know the normal, horrible, evil acts of 2nd Graders.

You think it would have ended here, with me reciting the Lords Prayer, and saying the Hail Mary ten times or whatever, but it didn't. Oh no...Sister Kind-Hearted wanted to make an example of me, so when we got back to our classroom she had me stand in front of the classroom while she scolded me for trying to skip confession, for as she told me in church there is no way an evil, rotten, horrible kid like me isn't going around sinning every day, and she better not catch anyone else being so utterly stupid as I had been that day trying to get out of confession.

She also didn't allow me to go out during recess for the week. While my classmates were outside playing I was in the classroom sweeping the floor, cleaning the erasers, and doing all other types of manual work.

I never tried skipping confession again until I was in High School, but that's a story for a different day.
"Most people would rather be boring than be bored." <br />― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

No one

I may grow old, but I'll never grow up.

Old Seer

The only thing possible the world needs saving from are the ones running it.
Oh lord, save us from those wanting to save us.
I'm not a Theist
https://sites.google.com/site/oldseers

Papasito Bruno

My wife like me was raised a Catholic, the big difference being she was raised in Honduras which is a very Catholic country by tradition, though it is becoming more fundamentalist than Catholic which is weird and scary. I blame the missionaries. >:(

She knew I was an atheist when we married some 30 years ago, although back then I wasn't really a "hard-Atheist", and kept it to myself more or less.

She wanted the kids to have a Catholic upbringing, which I was more or less okay with since most Catholics are what I call "Lazy Religious" (Most of them haven't read much of the Bible for example...like many atheists I have read it more than once and am way more familiar with it than the wife is. Same goes for Catholic beliefs)

I did put my food down when it came to the kids attending a Catholic School, that I was against, but I was okay with them attending Catechism once a week during the school year.

Cathechism was held on Monday's after school for years. My son would walk to the local parish after his Public School classes ended with other kids, and he really didn't mind it that much.

The ladies who ran Cathechism were wanna-be-nuns, and I didn't really care for them that much (My older sister does the same, which makes sense since she is a "Huge Trump" supporter, and a pain in the ass on religious crap)

Anyway, these ladies were mad because most of the Cathecism kids didn't go to church regularly on Sunday. My son was one of them, since his Mom used to work most Sunday's so she couldn't take him, and there was no way I was gong to take him, so he only went to church on Sunday about once a month.

The Church ladies decided to change Cathechism from after-school on Monday's to Sunday morning, and then after the Cathecism class was over they all had to go to the 10:30 mass.
My son was not happy about this, and basically said he would only go to class and then church if I went with him to the mass.
I wasn't happy about this either, and the first several weeks were brutal. I had to take him to class at 9am, and then meet him afterwards for mass.

The kids from the Cathechism class would all sit together in Church, but then a miracle happened. Some of the parents complained as they wanted their kids to sit with them during mass as a family, so the Church ladies agreed to let the kids sit with their parents and family during the mass rather than as a class.

This was bloody perfect.

I would meet my son after the class, and then we would walk together to the church in full site of the evil Church ladies. The church itself is quite large, so he and I would walk to the front of the church, grab a Church Bulletin, and then sneak out the other side. (This is the same church I attended as a child so I know it quite well)

I would park my car back way around the back of the Elementary school, so he and I would make our way to my car, and then head out to breakfast instead of going to church.

Now I told my son that if either his mom or one of the church ladies ever asked him if he actually went to Church or was skipping to tell them the truth, but they never did...of course when we got home from breakfast I would put the Church bulletin on the kitchen table, so when the wife came home later she would think we actually attended mass.

My son and I did this for two years!

After the second year he made his confirmation, and then all of this crap was over!

This was a secret for over 12 years until one time my son mentioned the whole thing to his mom. She was a little mad at me to say the least. In my defense, my son told his mom that I had instructed him not to lie if he was directly confronted with skipping church, thought this did little to cool her off.

Neither my adult son or daughter are religious to this day, and neither of them ever go to church, so I think I did a good job with regards to letting them grow up thinking for themselves.

In fact I don't think the wife has gone to church in over two years either! She said she feels strange going alone which I think is partially true, but I also think she enjoys just relaxing at home, of course she still claims to be a Catholic.  ::)

I mentioned this story to someone I know recently, he is also a hard-core Catholic, and goes to church all the time. He said I should be ashamed for doing what I did, but I told him that quite to the contrary, both I and my son cherish the time we spent together having breakfast every Sunday, and even now the son will joke around, and say, "Hey Dad, wanna go to Church"?

By which he means go grab breakfast together. :)
"Most people would rather be boring than be bored." <br />― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Anne D.

I love your stories, Bruno. But I'm so sorry you were treated so crappily as a kid.

I actually have some really nice memories of church from growing up. I think I've probably said this before on another thread, but I can't find it.

My dad was Catholic and my mom Protestant (Presbyterian.) When they got married, she agreed any kids could be raised Catholic so long as my dad took us to his church (she knew my dad wouldn't take us; he wasn't a churchgoer, although I saw him faithfully sending a check to his parish church each month).

So my mom took us to her church, a small, old Presbyterian one. I have only fond memories of being there. Sunday school was a benign experience, lots of craft projects. It seems like there was always a potluck dinner going on in the basement. No fire and brimstone sermons. No urging of evangelizing. Old-school WASPy deal.

If we visited my grandma (mom's mom) in her tiny town, we'd go to my grandma's old small Methodist church. Again, only fond memories, singing during the service, eating casseroles ("hot dishes") in the basement, craft projects during Sunday school, sitting underneath the quilt while my grandma and her sewing-circle friends sewed quilts in the church basement. No fire and brimstone, just happy community.

Every couple of months or so, in my grandma's town there would be a chili dinner at the Catholic church, along with a craft bazaar. My grandma and the other Methodist ladies would cook chili with the Catholic ladies in the Catholic school gym. It was an Event, and I loved it. Yummy chili and wandering around to look at the crafts. No idea which church the money that was raised
went to. That's kind of weird now that I think about it. :)

When we visited my grandma, we would usually go out to her friends' house in the country to see their latest crop of kittens and visit. At some point, I learned from my aunt that they were Pentecostal holy rollers. I'd asked why all the ladies in the family wore dresses and hair coverings. But no one ever talked religion that I remember. We just "visited" (ate and chatted).

Every fall, we'd go to my dad's church's fall festival. Cake walks, raffles, a dunking booth, and other assorted games. I always really looked forward to it.

There was some sort of schism at my mom's little Presbyterian church when I was in late grade school, and they booted out the minister, who my mom really liked. So we went to a new slightly bigger and newer Presbyterian church on the other, "nicer" side of town. It was fine. I didn't like it as well as the old church (the kids were kind of standoffish), but the place was still a source of comfort. Liberal minister whose sermons were mostly about trying to be a good person and treat others kindly.

I became an atheist b/c I don't believe in God, but I have tons of lovely church memories. The sense of community and comfort I felt as a kid in my church community is something I really do miss. Anyway, that's my super rambly, disjointed "growing up religious" story.

billy rubin

i have no particular religious upbringing. mother was raised fundamentalist southern baptist on the prairies of oklahoma. my father was an episcopalian altar boy in new york city. they compromised and attended a presbytarian church when i was a kid, but i never did more than sunday school, and only until we moved overseas when i was a child. so i grew up knowing more about huinduism and buddhism than i did about christianity

no issues with religion for me. it was never a part of my life until i was an adult, and then it came and went.


more people have been to berlin than i have

Papasito Bruno

Thanks for sharing with us about your religious up bringing, Brother Billy and Anne....I do have some nice memories as well.
I loved going to mid-night mass on Christmas Eve. My sisters and I, along with our parents would get all dressed up, and get to the church early so we could get a seat, as the mass was so popular a lot of people had to stand the whole mass.
The church choir would be performing prior to mass starting, and the church itself would be decorated and lit up so beautifully. It definitely got me into the Christmas spirit...when I was a bit older my friends and I would make mid-night mass a date night. Again we would get all dressed up, and then after mass we would head back to my one friends house who basement had a little kitchen, a bar, plus a pool table. We would cook up a fancy breakfast of omelets along with wine, and other "Stuff" and stay up all night listening to music, and just hanging out....good times.

Anne your lovely post reminded me of going with my Nana and Grandpa to their old church in Detroit when I was a kid.I would have a lot of good times playing games, and eating at the little fairs they would hold there during the summer and fall.
The chorus is known as[url =https://www.holyredeemerdetroit.com] Most Holy Redeemer Church[/url], and at one time it was considered the largest Catholic Parish in all of N. America. (In the link there is a cool airial video of the parish.
It is located on Junction street in Detroit, which is the same street my Grandparents house was located on. My Mother went to school at Holy Redeemer, and she would walk there to school everyday, plus her and my father were married there.

I still drive by it occasionally when I am in the area, unfortunately my Grandparents home is no longer standing, but I still stop and reminiscence.

One of my cousins was married at Holy Redeemer Church, and I got to serve as an altar boy during the ceremony, I was probably about 14-15 years old. It was really cool. The priest who performed the ceremony was an older man who knew both my parents, especially my Mother quite well.

He spoke with me quite a bit before mass, and was apparently impressed with my knowledge of Catholicism, and how well I had performed as an altar boy.

After the ceremony he was speaking with my Mother and Father and told them that I should consider going to seminary...can you imagine?

So a couple weeks later my Father drove me back to the Church, and he and I and the Father went out for lunch in Detroit, and he spoke at length about me considering going to Seminary.
My Father was ecstatic about the possibility as was my Mom. I was honored that Father thought so highly of me, of course he didn't know me as well as the Priests from my Church, which probably would have changed his mind.
I told him I really didn't see this as a life choice for me, and although I would think about it, I didn't see it happening.

On the way home I spoke directly to my Father for the first time in my life, and told him that I was not going to go seminary, and didn't want to speak of it again, and would he please explain this to my Mother as well.

That was it, my parents never brought it up again, and the Priest unfortunately passed away about 6 months later. I wish I could remember his name, as he was a nice man.

I've never really spoken of this before, in fact I never even brought it up to my friends at the time...strange as I hadn't thought about this for a long time.









"Most people would rather be boring than be bored." <br />― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Anne D.

PB, Holy Redeemer is gorgeous. I'm trying to imagine you as a priest. Hm.

Billy, how did your parents meet?

billy rubin

Quote from: Anne D. on March 28, 2022, 12:59:56 AM

Billy, how did your parents meet?

oklahoma. the melting pot of the five civilized tribes.

my fathers family were cherokees up in the northeast, and my mothers family were chickasaws in the south. mostly honkies, but the reservations were why they were there.

my father was educated as a wellhead geologist and was working for sinclair. my mother was a secretary in the office, which is how they met.

my fathers family had been in oklahoma for a hundred years after the cherokee removals and the new york city stuff was an odd sabbatical away from the west. my grandfather was a a telegraph operator in panama while they built the canal, and then worked on the railroads inoklahoma until he tried to get rich in new york.

1929 redirected all that, and in the meantime my mother was growong up in the dustbowl working the cotton scales at the farm on the chickasaw allottment from her mother. less civilized in south oklahoma. more war paint than up in the cherokee.

lots of red dirt on both sides.


more people have been to berlin than i have

Anne D.

Very interesting story--thank you for sharing.

billy rubin

everybody has a story, anne


more people have been to berlin than i have

Gnostic Christian Bishop

I will not call growing up religious an oxymoron, but FMPOV, a child does not grow up till intelligent and moral enough to reject Christianity with it's vile God and even more vile homophobia and misogyny.

Regards
DL