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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Catholic Guilt

Wednesday is grocery shopping day around here. That's because we've clipped and filed the Sunday paper's coupons and matched them to the store's sales, which start on Wednesday. So today, in what little spare time we have, Sister St. Aloysuis and I went through the coupon file to throw out expired coupons and make sure we use the ones that are about to expire. The ones, as she puts it, that are on 'death row.'

I always feel a little bad when I throw out a coupon that I've clipped and never used. As though I'm somehow throwing away seventy cents ( if I throw out a thirty five cent coupon...because our store doubles). When I said this out loud, Sister St. Aloysius remarked, "Catholic guilt."

You might well imagine my queasy feeling when I hear this phrase, in no small part because on more than one occassion some grizzled middle-aged man or woman has approached me out of the blue, poking their gnarly fingers in my face and exclaiming, "You're responsible for my Catholic guilt!" I realized they don't mean me, personally. At least I think they don't. I think they mean some nun or nuns they had in grade school that I manifest to them. I think that because I've also had grizzled middle-aged people say to me, "You look like every nun I every had!"

Anyhow, it started me thinking...what IS Catholic guilt exactly. I googled it and came up with this: Catholic Guilt.

Oh well.

My first thought is the psychological effect the Cathechism has on youngsters when they discover that every thing they do is a sin.

Now I realize this isn't literally true, but look at it this way. When you go to public school (pathetic spiritually deprived) and you talk to your neighbor (the kid sitting next to you, for the spiritually deprived), you may get in trouble (or not, considering the state of things) but you were simply talking to your neighbor when you should be paying attention.
But in the Catholic school you are sinning against the fourth commandment. Not only do you know you're sinning, you even know which commandment you're breaking.

AND....if your neighbor is listening to you and giggling with you, you've sinned twice! Because you are responsible for the sins you've caused in others.

AND....if you're just waiting until Sister turns her back to talk to your neighbor but she never does turn around (because, believe me, she knows better than to turn her back on the likes of you!) you've sinned anyhow, because you fully intended to sin against the fourth commandment on the first opportunity you got.

That's one heaping pile of guilt.

I think there is more to it than that, however, once you become an adult.

But first I would like to hear your thoughts on how you would define Catholic guilt.

Please respond by Wednesday since I won't have time to read anything on store day. It's going to be quite a trip this week because we've decided to take Sister Mary Fiacre with us. We feel guiltly leaving her home.

6 comments:

Angela Messenger said...

Catholic guilt, huh....I'm reading far too many blogs every day when I could be finding the Lord in the pots and pans! This blog is too funny! Are you like the Curt Jester's sister or something?!?

Sister Mary Martha said...

I might be the Curt Jester's Sister, but I'm not his sister.

Maybe you are finding the Lord in the blog...but then...you should probably....be out spreading...the word.....
Sister Mary Martha

Kelly said...

I think they mean some nun or nuns they had in grade school that I manifest to them. I think that because I've also had grizzled middle-aged people say to me, "You look like every nun I every had!"

I hate that. I also hate it when I see a bumper sticker, for example, that reads "I Survived Catholic Education"

I'd like to see one that reads: "I Thrived on Catholic Education!

By the way, Sister, you look like every nun I've ever had...except when they lost their veils.

(And I feel guilty a bit about saying the "hate" word but that's my problem.)

Hey, as long as I've got you on the horn, Sister? When you comment on other blogs, make sure there are NO spaces in your "homepage" address. That way, people can just click on the "homepage" link and bring them right here!

When I tried to get to your site from mine, I actually had to enter your URL BY HAND!

Of course, I offered it up.

AND....if you're just waiting until Sister turns her back to talk to your neighbor but she never does turn around (because, believe me, she knows better than to turn her back on the likes of you!) you've sinned anyhow, because you fully intended to sin against the fourth commandment on the first opportunity you got.

Yes but...even is she did turn around would it matter? Doesn't she have eyes on the back of her head? :-)

Have fun shopping, Sister!

Sister Mary Martha said...

Don't you realize we have to have eyes in the back of our heads because we don't have ears?

Poor whiney girl....

Catholic Mom said...

Well, just in case you want a serious comment on Catholic Guilt, I wrote this post back in April. Hope your shopping trip went well! I realized when my oldest was about eight he didn't know what a nun was. And he had attended Catholic schools! However, all the nuns in his school dressed in polyester pants, flowered blouses, and sensible loafers--not much different from his grandmothers.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Catholic Mom, some children now think I'm with the Taliban.