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Re: Calling all Catholics Miss Honeychurch

Posted by Dinah on April 21, 2004, at 23:48:20

In reply to Calling all Catholics, posted by Miss Honeychurch on April 19, 2004, at 12:39:12

I've never understood the association between guilt and Catholicism either. I grew up post Vatican II as well. But I don't know any older people who are consumed by guilt either. In fact, to my rather more puritan Mormon soul (I was raised half Mormon, half Catholic), the Catholics I knew seemed absolutely carefree. They didn't appear to worry about sin overmuch because they knew they could confess and receive absolution. For many their faith brought immense comfort, for others it was more rote and formulaic. But I don't think I knew a single soul who was consumed by guilt.

And I grew up in Catholic schools among Catholic schoolgirls who in my not unbiased opinion could have used a bit more guilt. I'm speaking of the individuals who taunted me, of course. Not Catholic girls in general.

Hmmm.... Maybe not completely correct. There may have been a very few people suffering from scrupulosity, but that is an OCD variant, and I don't think you can blame it on the Catholic Church. And there were one or two people who had some serious problems where guilt would be appropriate, and they turned to religion to cleanse themselves. But that was also true of other denominations. Not specific to Catholics.

Perhaps there is a cultural component. Perhaps it depends as much on what part of the world/country/diocese you are part of as it does on the faith as a whole.

I suppose the Catholic church does place a bit more emphasis on "works" than some Protestant religions, but since it also incorporates clear rituals for the forgiveness of sins, I don't think that in itself would increase guilt.

So, the short answer embedded in this long post is that I'm not sure why Catholicism and guilt are connected in some people's minds.




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