Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Catholics are Okay...Okay?

I'm feeling a great deal of anger and frustration today about the recent 'Catholic bashing' happening in the media, and in particular on social media.

I understand that the abuse that happened with the Catholic Church is a terrible thing, of course I do!

But that does not make all Catholics, or everything that the Catholic Church is...bad.
It is not.

I never went to Catholic schools.

My first school was tiny. It was called Tamrookum State School and when I started there were 19 students. Not in my class, in the whole school! It was a one classroom, one teacher school and I loved it! It had grown by the time I reached Year 7, then we had two classrooms and two teachers.

My whole school when I was in Yr 2

High school, however, was a totally different story. When I started there were 10 classes of Year 8s alone! The whole school was around 1000 students. I felt lost, I felt scared, and for the most part, I hated it. I did find a few friends over the 5 years I spent there. But I don't keep in touch with any of those now, and I still now can instantly recall the pain and tears of being teased and picked on by the 'tough kids'. There were plenty of those.

All through these years I went to Mass with my family every weekend.
It was often my favourite social outing of the week because we usually stayed to chat with friends afterwards. I felt a strong connection with 'being Catholic'.

My college graduation

It wasn't until I went to a Catholic teacher's college that I felt I truly belonged.
The friends I found there I still feel very close to.
And then I began teaching in Catholic schools and loved it.
I love the feeling of a Catholic school. It's the perfect place for my kids.

I know some people have had terrible experiences with Catholic schools.
And that's awful.

But you know what?
I'm over the vitriol and negativity.

When I was in Year 3 I went on a weekend "Reconciliation Camp" run by nuns to prepare the 'state school kids' for First Reconciliation. I was extremely shy and didn't want to stay. One of the nuns took me under her wing and looked after me the whole time. I'll never forget her.

When I got my first teaching in Toowoomba (2 hours from home) and had nowhere to live, the nuns took me in for 2 weeks until I moved in with another teacher. It was a bit weird living with the nuns, but they were very kind and generous and I still appreciate their hospitality.

I could go on but my point is...

There is good in the Catholic Church, believe it or not.

Our beautiful church


  1. I grew up in Poland - a very devout Catholic country. Religion was part of life on a daily basis. I never experienced anything bad as a result of it, it's just that I realised later on that so much of what I was taught was pomp and ceremony and fear and guilt and I didn't like it.

    I did love the pageantry and still do, even though I no longer call myself a Catholic, as much as I love all the rituals and traditions associated with other religions, but these days I see it for what it is, show. Real faith and spirituality often have very little to do with religion.

  2. It is a hard thing - the media always focuses on the negative, no matter the topic. And lots of people (myself included) have had bad experiences with the Catholic church. But the same is true for every single relgion out there.

    The community and the charity work that churches put out is so valuable, regardless of our personal opinions/religious beliefs.

    These inquiries (scandals to use media words) are hard on everyone, and my personal opinion is that the leaders of the Catholic church are still hiding a bit, rather than tackling the problem and dealing with it - and that's where I feel the bashing attitude gets started.

  3. I think it's people who corrupt religion not religion which corrupts people and there is corruption everywhere - not just in the Catholic church. What's more people with something to conceal often seek out institutions where they can hide behind the façade of respectability. Look at the current crisis in the BBC in the UK for example!

    I agree with your sentiments: we should take the good from religion and remember that what is bad should be kept in perspective.


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