I am torn

Aten’t dead still.

Much to the annoyance of some – of that I am very sure.

Manic week.

Let us progress.

Tallulah is going in for the further adventures of Catholicism.

This is causing me great woe – not because I think she shouldn’t be Catholic. We are way past that and she is now officially dunkinated and the proud possessor of two rockin’ godparents.

Jesus is her friend.

No, it is because I thought now she had her membership card, things might get a little easier.

But they haven’t.

The next sacrament on our list is confession. They call it something politically correct now like reconciliation or group hug or whatever, but in essence it’s still nuns glaring at you while you kneel on pencils and think about that time you peed in your brother’s tea in 1976.

This would be fine if it were just Tallulah who had to confess and do all the Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been three millennia since my last confession.

But they want me to join in too.

And I am finding that rather a strain, frankly.

I am really very good at church related activities, considering. I do lots of leaping out of laundry baskets and smiling in tights, flicking holy water to the left, flicking holy water to the right, genuflect and release…

…but I think this might finish me off – which, after this week might be a thing devoutly to be wished, but still. It’s rubbish.

Everyone at the church is lovely. Really they are. People are welcoming, and kind and nice and all that. I like them.

But I just feel so wrong about it all, and the fact that everyone is so kind and nice and lovely means that I can’t just yell ‘Oh bugger off! and refuse outright to join in and just sit in the car park sulking and eating biscuits while everyone else tells Jesus how difficult it is juggling jobs and kids and grade three clarinet, and they feel guilty because sometimes they look at their children and think ‘goodness, if only I’d bred dogs’.

I would love, love, love, to take comfort in the bosom of Jesus.

But I can’t.

I have too many issues with the church from a miserable penitential childhood experience of being flogged about the brain with catechisms, to a healthy dose of political rage against the machine when it comes to the amount of atrocious things done to innocent people in the name of religion which I find hard to reconcile with harvest festival and close harmony singing.

And, I am busy.

I mean, stupidly busy.

There are singing lessons, and maths lessons, and mass without kneeling on pencils. There are doctors and dentists and hair dressers and children who want to have tea with other bloody children, even though they see them all day at school.  Oscar wants to start Beavers, and he needs swimming lessons, and Tilly has just won through to a Young Tycoons of the Year competition at school and needs to run a business for the next month with two friends and make over £100 in four weeks – which she cannot do alone.

And then there are these lessons, in confessing, which I have to get Tallulah to every week on a Monday night at 6.30 for an hour, and which I also have to attend.

On the same night as other commitments.

Which I could probably sort of juggle, even though it would mean a lot of extra driving and petrol costs.

But even so, there still remains the problem that I do not want to be confessional.

That’s what the blog is for.

I know it’s not about me really. We stay downstairs and the helper guides us through our child’s journey through the sacrament, but it’s still too joiny inny to make me comfortable.

And my only other option is to pull out altogether, in which case Tallulah doesn’t get to continue, because that’s the way they do it and I’m the only one having a bad case of the heebie jeebies about it.

So I feel terrible if I go, and worse if I don’t, and worse that I make my daughter feel worse if I don’t.

The lovely lady who introduced us to the system told us it was there to make us feel relaxed and chilled, and part of God’s family and our journey through the sacraments.

I just feel like running away and hiding under a duvet.

Is this normal?



11 responses to “I am torn

  1. Don’t be a hypocrite. If you don’t believe it or don’t like it then don’t do it. But explain why. xx

  2. Frankly, it would be far more worrying if you felt any other way. Which is not really in the least a helpful thing to say in the circumstances but I can’t think of anything else.

  3. No. No no no. Do not do it. They’re just trying to get their claws into you and make you join in their delusions.

  4. Hun you need to only do what you feel happy doing…i have never been to a confessional in my life thsnkfully and dont intend too.I believe Godloves us all no matter who we are and what we have done…you know alot of my life i stil only snippets of yours but just be kind to yourself.though I could say God may be trying to speak to you as you are feeling uncomfortable but I know you wouldn’t want to hear that..and you may think i am crazy but your life has a plan and an amazing person you are hope you can find a way through this trickyness..

  5. Born and raised a Catholic, I’ve never ever been to confession. Our parish priest in the 60s said he didn’t believe in it for children as “children don’t sin”. Hence in our neck of the woods, you didn’t get to do it. Ever. And then I moved to France, and STILL didn’t go to confession. Anyway, my dad taught us that we say “I confess” at the beginning of every Mass and that’s enough! When my daughter asked to do her 1st Communion around age 9, I was worried when they said this was part of the deal. In the end, they talked about how confession was asking God to help you to be a better Christian. And then on the day, there was no wailing and self-flagellation, and Claire went into a small room to talk to the visiting priest, burst into tears, and he asked her to just say a prayer for him…. and that was her introduction to confession. The End. Good luck 😉

  6. I’m with the others who say ‘no, don’t do it if it makes you feel uncomfortable’. While I can understand that Tallulah wants to continue her progress I can see no reason why you should have to join in too. Taking her to classes is more than enough input without doing all the touchy-feely bits. As you know, I was raised in the catholic church but we had our pre-Confession and subsequent pre-Communium classes in school with no other input from my parents. My great-nieces/nephews (same age band as your children) who are being raised within the church and attend RC schools have not gone through the after-school rigmarole you describe either. Would it not be possible for one of her godparents to step in for these classes. Surely that is what they signed on for, furthering her journey with their god . . . ? Worth asking? If you have to continue personally taking Tallulah to these classes, say firmly that you will not be participating but will be sitting quietly in – insert place of your choosing – reading a book.

  7. There are so many things I want to say here that I’m not sure where to start…but…..the point about asking the Godparents to step in is worth considering…….although I suspect that isn’t what they imagined they had signed up for…….you seem to be on this journey even if you don’t want to be….which is curious in a way…….and you need to speak up (to a person in the flesh…not blog buddies) and say exactly how you feel … the ‘kind, nice, lovely people’ will have to accommodate you if you say you aren’t a joiner-inner and explain that you will be driving her to the door but sitting outside reading or painting your toenails or whatever.
    I too am a cradle to grave Catholic, who no longer goes to Mass, and who does struggle with the whole circus of it all really…..but this I do know…..hiding under the duvet ain’t gonna work….talk to everyone concerned and stand firm.x

  8. Brilliant blog post. A perfect depiction of coercion, with gloves on, to be sure. Best to explain to your daughter what and how coercion happens and how creepy it is, however it happens. So she won’t be either a victim or a perpetrator of it later in life. That’s the lesson of the day. Then perhaps ask her, would Jesus have set up such rules and rigmarole for being a disciple of his? “Blessed are those who come for six weeks on Monday nights at 6:30pm and make their mothers come too . . .” The Gospel is way simpler and easier to understand than “The Church”–any “Church,” actually.

  9. If it is true that they really will not let your daughter continue if you refuse to do what they consider to be ‘your bit’ then I am appalled. I think you should tell them how you feel. And point out this is not how Tallulalh feels. And that they shouldn’t take your beliefs or lack of them out on her by stopping her preparation. As Kathy says there’s nothing in the gospels about how ‘Mummy must come too’. Quite the reverse at one point if I recall correctly.I’m not quite sure why they would want to coerce parents into this unless it is in case the child has questions in between the sessions but surely to goodness if this is the case they can give her a contact number or she can bottle up her question until Monday comes around again.

  10. Be happy in yourself if this does not make you so be honest lovely xx

  11. Yes, it’s completely normal. It’s also completely normal for ‘them’ to say they want you to join in. If you graciously thank them and opt out, I cannot imagine them ‘outing’ Tallulah. They’re so lovely that they will welcome into their spiritual family and make do without you.

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