Growing up Catholic in the 1960's i saw many changes in the church. The following are just a few of them.
*Takes deep breath*
I present to you the whirlwind tour of the Catholic faith as taught to me in the 1960's by some pretty mean and intimidating nuns.
There are two types of sin. Venial sin and Mortal sin. Yea, there is the original sin we are all born with but basically, there are only two.
A Venial sin is an offense against God that will not hinder your chances of getting into Heaven when you die. An example is:
Mother: Patrick, did you break our neighbors basement window?
Patrick: No mother, it wasn't me. It was Jack who broke the window.
A Mortal Sin is more serious and thus certain conditions must apply for a mortal sin to be committed. Three conditions need to be present. They are,
The sin must be deliberate, with full knowledge that it is wrong, and it must be a grave matter. An example is:
Prosecutor: And I will show that the defendant willfully, knowingly, with premeditation, murdered the victim.
Patrick: No, it wasn't me. It was Jack who did it.
With this knowledge, you are now ready to understand the Catholic psyche and all our idiosyncrasies.
I was taught that divorce was a mortal sin and if you got a divorce you would go straight to hell. No passing go, no collecting $200.00. Unless you
were the winning spouse in divorce court. Apparently, half of the population is destined for hell for the big D reason alone. Some say marriage was
hell on Earth so what could the devil really do to you?
I was taught that babies that died before they were baptized went to a place called Limbo. Parishioners than had to go to church and pray for their
lost souls and offer up indulgences to help the babies get to heaven.
I was taught that if you had a mortal sin on your soul and you died you went straight to hell. No questions asked. That was a heavy responsibility as
a child. Knowing that you had your soul's fate in your hands, I made damn sure that I looked both ways when crossing the street so I wouldn't wind
up in hell holding a mortal sin getting creamed by a car.
I was taught that intercourse was strictly for procreation. Any other reason and you went right to the hot spot. And I don't mean the G spot.
I was taught that premarital sex was a mortal sin and if you
participated in this heinous mortal sin then you would go straight to hell when you die.
I was taught that people who had venial sins on their soul when they died went to purgatory, a sort of waylay station to heaven. These people would
have to stay there until enough people prayed for them or offered indulgences (otherwise known as money in an envelope) to help these poor saps get
into the kingdom of heaven.
I was also taught that you could begin paying off your purgatory time while still on Earth. Not by prayer, but by an extra envelope in the Sunday
collection plate. The more money, the less time in Purgatory. Sort of like paying off a retirement home mortgage.
I was taught that you couldn't eat for at least an hour before you accepted holy communion. Then they changed it. I guess I missed that amendment of
the bible. Sounds awfully like the old standard wait an hour after you eat to go back into the water swimming.
I was taught that God was everywhere, knew everything, was all powerful, and all loving. But damn, don't question the nuns about it.
I was taught that my confirmation was me standing up as an adult and accepting Christ as my God.
I was taught by the nuns that we all had a guardian angel that
looked after us and reported back to God and the nuns when we did bad things. One day, the nuns even told us to introduce ourselves to our guardian
angel. We all looked to our right and said hello to our guardian angel. Expecting an answer, the class all continued to stare to the right in hopes of
hearing a return greeting. All except Angelo who sat in the back. He was already carrying on a conversation with his guardian angel like he was an old
friend. (Yes, the same Angelo that got stung by all the bee's)
I was taught that if I asked questions about bible stories such as Adam and Eve and Noah's Ark, I would get whisked down to the principals office in
a heartbeat. When the nuns did not have an answer, you were in big trouble for it made it seem that the nuns didn't know everything there was to know
about the Catholic religion.
I was taught that God was three people, God the father, the son, and the holy ghost. The holy ghost got updated to holy spirit around 7th grade. I
asked if God was three people before he sent his son Jesus to earth to save our souls. I was whisked off to the principles office.
I was taught that Catholics could only marry other Catholics. If you married outside of the church, it was a mortal sin giving you a red eye ticket to
hell, and you were excommunicated from the church meaning you could no longer receive the holy sacraments. (Many of my neighbors and friends were
destined for hell for sure on this one.)
I was taught that an angel came to Mary and Joseph and told them that they were going to have the Christ child. They were not married to one another.
That line of questioning earmarked another trip to the principals office for me.
I was taught that going to confession and telling the priest your sins and then saying a few Hail Mary's and Our Fathers and our soul would be set
free and clear. Now if we died, we would go straight to heaven. This is why most Catholic children did most of their sinning on Friday knowing full
well that on Saturday we would be whisked off to confession to get a new clean slate. I figured that I could take the chance of several mortal sins
and a full line of venial sins for a day or two. Again, just keep the ever watchful eye out when crossing the street.
I was taught that it was your obligation to go to mass every Sunday. Then it was changed to Saturday afternoon as long as it was after 4PM. I missed
that amendment to the bible as well. If you didn't make it to church, you would receive a mortal sin.
For us Catholics, God works in mysterious ways indeed.
[edit on 00/00/0000 by xtap59]