Thursday, January 10, 2013

Catholic Guilt.

The concept of “Catholic guilt” has become a cliche, a joke, a truism. But it’s real. For many of us who experienced Catholic childhood religious indoctrination, Catholic guilt is a pernicious and inescapable burden with serious lifelong repercussions. It clings to us, a dark spectre of our pasts, a cruel and vicious voice whispering to us, reminding us of the lessons of our childhood: that we are unworthy, that we cannot do anything right, that we do not deserve to be happy, that we are dirty tainted sinners who must constantly punish ourselves and atone for our sins, and that we are nothing. Nothing. And this voice cannot be reasoned with. It resides in a part of our brains that is immune to rationality. It’s not difficult to apply our reason to the question of whether or not God exists. We simply look for evidence, and, when we see that there is none, we realize that the only reasonable choice is to abandon our faith and to become atheists or agnostics. But Catholic guilt isn’t like that. The irrationality of the messages that we were told as children is irrelevant. Evidence and reason are powerless against guilt and shame that is this pervasive, vicious, and persistent. For those of us who grew up with this indoctrination, faith in God is optional. Catholic guilt, though, is not.
Mirana Celeste


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