Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

There Is No Such Thing as Catholic Guilt???


Thanks to my friend David Gibson, now I can’t blame Catholicism for my guilt complex. To read his post on a recent study showing that Catholics (as well as other Christians) are actually no more guilt-ridden than anyone else, click here.

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  • Larry Parker

    The study was of teen-agers, Therese.
    For those of us who have memories like your photo here (and doesn’t it look like the priest is on a pretend hotline to G-d?), there’s guilt a-plenty still to go around …

  • Barbara formerly Babs

    I am a “few” years older than Larry and Therese and have heard about Catholic guilt from other Catholics. It seems almost a cliche. But as a woman who graduated from Catholic grammar and high schools, I’ve never had a good definition of what it is. I still attend Mass, do spiritual reading and such, so it isn’t as though I’ve dumped my spiritual upbringing, or tried to. What the heck is it and what is supposed to make it “Catholic?” I never hear Prots talking about Lutheran, Presbyterian, or Baptist guilt.
    As for this article, I do believe that in a relativist society, and in a church that poorly communicates its faith, both verbally and in action, I’m not surprised that kids of any stripe don’t feel a whole lot of guilt for cheating, stealing, or any of the other things they engage in.

  • Don Laguilles

    “catholic guilt” is an idea conjured up by (i would most probably think) embittered catholics or ex-catholics who want to put an idea to their rebellion of the many teachings that they have encountered and have difficulty adhering or understanding to it. The word “guilt” in normally a word which notes of something negative. Presupossing and adding catholic makes a compound idea that the church has a by-product that is, again, quite negative. Most other christian religion including Catholicism have similar strive to be good and when there is rebellion against this, they conjure up “catholic guilt”. We were always told to go to church on Sundays, do penance (confessions) and truly repent, be charitable, do what is conscientiously right (no pre-wed sex, no abortion, no excessive drinking etc. etc..) When people are in the process of conscientious approach before commiting sin, those that ultimately decide to go err, justify the action partly because they blame a culture of ‘guilt’….sort of liberation from a constraint (completely ignoring the teachings of our Lord Jesus, the essence and truth of both old and new testament and the tradition of our faith) and go ahead and sin. Justification of this act…is because of that bad bad “catholic guilt”…

  • Lynne

    Well the idea of “grace” as unmerited favor comes to mind. None of us is worthy of salvation because of our “imperfections” but He was perfect and is worthy and asks for nothing in return but our love. Not such a bad deal. I agree that catholisism has been given a bad rap. It was’nt all guilt and entrapment. As if anyone needs an excuse for their behavior. This world is all about choice. Guilt alone does’nt discourage criminal mischief, and all the moral upbringing won’t ammount to much if the temptation is stronger than the guilt.

  • ally cat

    I was raised Catholic, didn’t want anything to do with it at the time, but my mother made me participate, take the classes, the whole shebang. Now my son’s getting baptized next month, with two godparents (my good friends) who were also raised catholic but are largely non-practicing. Why would I raise my son in the church if I didn’t really believe in it the first time around? My only answer is: Catholic guilt. If I didn’t have him baptized, I know I’d regret it for the rest of my life. He can do whatever he wants when he’s older… but for now, I’ll just feel like God would be happier with me for doing this.

  • laike

    I really like this concept!
    My guilt extends years into the past and I would have lots of (albeit small) rocks that have to do with things from adolescence, early motherhood, sibling issues, etc. …
    I don’t have that much guilt about the present (thank you Jesus;-)
    I spent a lot of time in therapy, in 12-step rooms, with a spiritual director, in small healing groups, etc.
    I am, however, heavily involved in dog training, fostering, etc.
    Guilt is a useless state, Therese, so don’t misconstrue my thoughts, but I do ask you to be accountable for the lives which God has entrusted you, human and canine.
    If you are unable to walk your dogs daily, consider asking a neighborhood teen to do so, or get your kids on board, take a drive to a park with a path. I often walk my dogs while the kids play.
    Dogs, like people, need exercise to stay balanced & healthy. Missing once in a while won’t destroy their psyches, but if it’s a pattern, I encourage you to take a look at your responsibilities and/or priorities and rearrange them a bit. Walking is GOOD FOR YOU, TOO!
    I’d venture a guess that if anyone is stuck in a house all day, and only goes outside to relieve a bladder, it probably feels lousy.
    I value your work, however imperfect 😉 No one starts their day planning to do “second best.” We all do what we can to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for our lives. Every now and then, it’s a good idea to “tweak” our schedules.
    By the way, Michael, this isn’t a “Christian-only” site, but those of who are Christians often want to share what helps us in the healing department. Prayer, meditation and spiritual communion with the divine come in handy when things feel overwhelming. I believe you can share what works for you as well.

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