I’m Just a Soul Whose Intentions Are Good…

I am often amazed by the misconceptions about and the anger that is directed towards the Catholic Church. I first came across anti-Catholic rhetoric from my maternal grandmother. She would tell my mother that she was going to hell for marrying a Catholic, my sister and I were going to hell because we were being raised Catholic, and my father was an alcoholic who was going to hell for having a single beer in the refrigerator. Deep down I think my grandmother could have cared less about Catholics one way or another; I think she wanted to think of new ways to torture my mother. When my mother finally cut her off in order to preserve her own sanity, that’s when the hang-up calls began and we started receiving Bible verses in the mail.

Growing up I thought it was all just part of my grandmother’s “issues”, to put it nicely. I had neighbors and acquaintances who were Protestant, and we never had any problems with them at all. Then I went away to college. I left the “big city” with eight Catholic high schools and at least 20 Catholic grade schools and parishes for a town with two Catholic Churches and no Catholic high schools. I quickly learned that I was now part of a religious minority.

In interesting but civil conversations with some of my new Southern Baptist friends, I learned that Catholics were not really Christians, Catholics worship the virgin Mary, and a multitude of other things that just weren’t true. I was also surprised about how unprepared I was to defend or explain the Church’s true positions on a variety of issues.  In some ways I learned more about the Catholic Church from two semesters of History of Christianity as a Religious Studies major than I did in twelve years of Catholic school (a sad commentary deserving its own post).  I tried to explain the Church’s positions the best I could while at the same time I struggled with my own religious beliefs.

It’s been almost ten years since I graduated from college, and I am still learning and understanding new things about the Catholic Church. I would probably understand even more if I would just sit down and read the Catechism of the Catholic Church cover to cover, but it is just as intimidating as the idea of reading the Bible cover to cover. I tend to learn best through a book here, a snippet there, or a website somewhere else. I’ve gleaned a lot of knowledge from an orthodox Catholic parenting/homeschooling forum I joined almost a year ago.

Lately, though, I’ve been learning a lot from the blog “Visits to Candyland”. You see, there is this woman named Candy out there in the blogosphere, and she really does not like Catholics. She likes to make inflammatory and incorrect statements about the Church on her blog, and she won’t allow any comments that disagree with her. So, out of frustration, a woman started “Visits to Candyland” in order to address Candy’s errors. Now there are two or three other women who help contribute to the blog, including my dear friend Kelly.

I am very curious as to why it is that people are so quick to jump on and misconstrue doctrines of the Catholic Church.  It’s one thing to understand but disagree, but it seems that a lot of people in the world just want to disagree without even bothering to find out if what they are disagreeing with is true.  I am sure it is probably reactionary to the pre-Vatican II declarations that anyone who isn’t Catholic is going to hell (which I am not completely sure if that was official doctrine or not), and the number of misconceptions that Catholics themselves have about Catholicism can only be traced back to the decline of religious education.  Last time I checked Roman Catholicism is the second largest denomination in the U.S. (since the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention) yet it is continually treated with the same skepticism as a small and unusual sect.

So, any of you are curious about what the Catholic Church really teaches then you might want to give “Visits to Candyland” a look.  They also have lots of really good links to websites with more correct information.  Their web address is: http://mdcalexatestblog.blogspot.com/

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One Comment on “I’m Just a Soul Whose Intentions Are Good…”

  1. Laura Witten Says:

    How right you are. My grandparents are also in the “catholics are evil” sect, which goes hand-in-hand with “all Muslims and Hindus are evil”, apparantly. My parents have many misconceptions as well, but have done a good job not teaching us how bad everyone else is. I, for one, believe that Catholics may or may not be Christians, just like a Baptist church-goer may or may not be Christian. I think one of the worse misconceptions about religion is that religion is what saves you, when it has nothing to do with it. I’m a regular church-goer, but know that is not what is getting me to heaven. Only a personal relationship with Jesus can do that!
    I don’t believe that Muslims and Hindus are evil – but perhaps simply ignorant. I don’t have any for friends because there are not any other religions represented in this small town! Talk about ignorant….:)

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