Friday, January 20, 2012

Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti

I'm the first one to admit that I'm not a fan of change.  I never liked the second Darren on Bewitched or the replacement Becky on Roseanne.  I prefer continuity.  Ritual.  Chain restaurants.

The unknown scares me.

When it comes to faith and religion, which by nature is heavily contingent on the unknown, Joe and I opted to raise our children as Catholics.  We were comfortable with the faith.  It was how we were raised, and both of our fathers attended the seminary.  I am named after my Aunt Marianne who was a nun at the time of my birth.  Sure, we knew the Church was far from perfect, but there is no entity under God that is.  Not even this awesome blog.

So when the Vatican sprang a whole new arsenal of mass rituals and responses on its flock, I was not pleased.  One of the comforts of the Catholic Church for me has always been the tradition and the sameness. I'm told they are very thoughtful and faith-based changes, but it all still leaves me disconcerted. I don't adapt well to these kinds of things. 

I'm kind of like a ficus tree.  If you change my environment too much, I panic and shed all my leaves.

Before I get all pious and self-righteous, I should disclose that Joe and I are not the most regular of mass attendees.  We're trying to improve our stats, but we are definitely not on pace for a front-row seat with St. Peter.

Which leads me to this weekend.  Daniel will be making his First Reconciliation this Saturday.  This is an extremely important sacrament for Catholics.  Penitents seek forgiveness by confessing their sins to an ordained priest.  The priest, contrary to popular belief, does not directly forgive the penitents, but serves only as a stand-in for God.   

The Crucifix from Joe's late mother.  We negotiated heavily on where exactly in the bedroom this would hang.  We finally agreed on a spot where Jesus couldn't "see" our bedroom.  I have guilt issues.  

So my burning question for the week is: What will Danny fess up to?  I would love to be a fly on that confessional wall, listening to my second grader's version of his moral transgressions.  I really wonder how the priests can keep it together the whole time.  You know some of that stuff they hear is priceless.

I am reminded of my own responsibilities as a Catholic mother.  I feel I should participate again in this very important sacrament and show my children that I, too, am far from perfect.

I wonder if the priests accept reservations?  This could take a while.


  1. I know what you mean by guilt. My mother was devout and I was raised Catholic. I had my kids Baptized is all. My faith has leaked out of the Catholicism bag and into all the other bags as I shopped around in the spiritual supermarket.
    But the best thing I ever heard my mother say a few years into my marriage was 'Your father and I had a great sex life' I didn't know she enjoyed that part of their marriage. It was incredibly freeing, I didn't realize I had guilt issues until then.

  2. Several years ago, the husband and I led a group for people returning to the church. Because I thought I should practice what I preach ;), I made an appointment and went to reconciliation for the first time in 12 years. It took two hours (but he did most of the talking!).

  3. I'm trying...I really am, to learn some of the new terms or words in prayers we've been saying for years now. I have to still use the cards in the pews to help guide me through it...but some know the changes by heart already, na na na na....So us C&E people really stand out. I'm always outted when the Priest says, "the Lord be with you" and I'll say "and also with you" as the pious ones correctly say,"and with your spirit"...then I'm like damn...they caught me again..darn it anywho...I was doing so well too. BTW...can we pullleeezzze do away with the handshake of peace? I can wish everyone peace without shaking everyone's germ infested mitts,paws etc. You're watching the kid in front of you cough and sneeze the whole time,then comes the moment where you have to grab his hand and ....well you get the picture yuck...first thing we do after mass is race home and lather up. And the cry room...people, it's real simple, you have a crying wailing kid, leave them home like we did, really Jesus will forgive you or USE THE CRYING ROOM.
    God I'm going to hell....

  4. You think you got problems? Try raising kids in an interfaith marriage! They go to a Jewish day school and get the Jewish thing all day and then my sister in law takes the older one to Church every few Sundays to Christen him up a bit. We even have children's books on "My Two Holidays". It is exhausting, especially around the holidays!

  5. This is where my childhood choice of not to believe has really paid off. I didn't know the word atheist when I was 10, but I was not a believer. I have let my husband work off his layers of guilt by getting married in the church, baptizing the babies and letting him hold the reins on the REP (it will forever be CCD in my head!). For fun I always throw out the question, " So what mass are you and the kids going to this Sunday? " I do this in front of the kids and the looks I get from him are deadly. Hey, I'll do anything for an hour to myself. We do agree on one thing, showing up for mass is good, but it's not what makes you a good person.

  6. Ask around for the name of a good "it's been a while" confessor. I think they DO take reservations!

  7. You didn't like the second Becky because she wasn't very Beckyish. I mean, she was great in Scrubs. But she was just not a good Becky.

    I can't really comment on the church stuff because last time I was in church for a religious type thing, I was about 8. And that was with my friend's family. I remember I drank orange juice in the basement. But we didn't die, so it probably wasn't a cult.

    (You may have guessed, I wasn't raised within an organised religion.)

    I understand about being uncomfortable with change though - we're going to start looking for a house, and it will (sadly) have to be outside of the neighbourhood we've lived in for the past 10 years. Just thinking about it, I feel like I'm going to vomit.

  8. I remember going to church at a very evan-jelly-let's-call-it-that church as a child during the Vietnam War. One day I raised up my hand to someone and flashed a V with my fingers peace sign. I must have been slightly hippy-ish on the inside. An elder lady saw me do this and threatened to break my two fingers. Somehow this didn't quite sit right in my mind as being a proper response as a punishment, plus by then I already knew of the trouble in the streets and on the campuses across the country, and I was just then learning about my freedom of religion and speech.

  9. Julie - the guilt can be overwhelming at times. And I'm so using it to keep my kids behaving themselves. Bad Marianne.

    Kelly - Two hours??? And you're like super-nice. I'm screwed.

    Maplewood - I'm with you 100%. Just don't tell anyone. I'll feel guilty.

    Rada - "Christian him up??" That's blog gold. So stealing it. I know, but you could have married a nice, Jewish boy and kept things real simple. Instead you found a fella that drinks the Jesus juice. It wasn't like you didn't know. Love, Your Pain-in-the-Ass Traveling Companion sans Caruso Curlers

    Anonymous - You are right. What makes a good person has very little to do with their declared faith. But I have a hard time totally believing people are Atheists. Many of them believe in karma or kizmet or whatever, which I secretly choose to believe is code for "Jesus." (;

    Jamie - Thank you! I'll do some research!

    Skwishee - LOL. Glad you avoided the cult-variety of juice drinkers! I'm so sad for your having to move. Maybe your new neighbors will have a really good snow blower? It helps. Hang in there!

    esbboston - Geez, that experience would have probably kept me out of a church for the rest of my life!