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I remember my mom mentioning this a lot when I was a child. "Oh, here comes my 'Catholic guilt'." Or other such phrases.

 

I thought I had a vague idea of what she was speaking, but now I'm not so sure.

 

She was not Catholic, her dad was a lapsed cradle Catholic, and her grandparents were a nun and a priest who fled to the Americas to be together.

 

Anyway, what is Catholic guilt? What makes it different from other guilt?

 

Just curious ;)

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:bigear: I'm always curious about this too.

 

DH and I are cradle Catholics and we've never experienced this "Catholic guilt" that I've heard about. Maybe out parents/churches were lax and didn't instill the proper guilt :tongue_smilie: or maybe it's a myth.

 

 

This is kinda what I am curious about. I was wondering if practicing Catholics could shed some light :D.

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OK, this made me LOL! The long arm of Catholic guilt. :D

 

I'm going to jump in and say for some of us raised in the faith, it's more of a cultural touchpoint because we seemed to have more rules that we could violate than some of our peers in the neighborhood. Hence, more potential guilt.

 

ETA: I think being born in the early 1960s, I was at the tail end of the Catholic guilt era.

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It's early and I just woke up, but I will attest to Catholic Guilt being an actual thing! It is that weighty, horrifying feeling of guilt bordering on paranoia that manifests over just the simplest, most human mistakes. I think it's a result of parents and/or teachers (catholic school; nuns, priests, etc) using shame and guilt tactics to keep children in line, weekly confession starting very young, etc.

 

I'm not knocking Catholicism at all; I think that some people are predisposed to harbor more guilt than the average person, and those are the people who actually would qualify as having Catholic Guilt.

 

(when I fully wake up, I might be able to explain it better.)

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It's early and I just woke up, but I will attest to Catholic Guilt being an actual thing! It is that weighty, horrifying feeling of guilt bordering on paranoia that manifests over just the simplest, most human mistakes. I think it's a result of parents and/or teachers (catholic school; nuns, priests, etc) using shame and guilt tactics to keep children in line, weekly confession starting very young, etc.

 

I'm not knocking Catholicism at all; I think that some people are predisposed to harbor more guilt than the average person, and those are the people who actually would qualify as having Catholic Guilt.

 

(when I fully wake up, I might be able to explain it better.)

 

 

:iagree:

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It's early and I just woke up, but I will attest to Catholic Guilt being an actual thing! It is that weighty, horrifying feeling of guilt bordering on paranoia that manifests over just the simplest, most human mistakes. I think it's a result of parents and/or teachers (catholic school; nuns, priests, etc) using shame and guilt tactics to keep children in line, weekly confession starting very young, etc.

 

I'm not knocking Catholicism at all; I think that some people are predisposed to harbor more guilt than the average person, and those are the people who actually would qualify as having Catholic Guilt.

 

(when I fully wake up, I might be able to explain it better.)

:iagree:When I was a Catholic I had a lot of "Catholic guilt".

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:lol:. I have no idea how to put this into words! Maybe someone more articulate than I can share. Let's just say, it's something I've experienced, and I know my dad has as a k-12 Catholic school kid. I am also both a sorta-practicing Catholic and a cultural Catholic. I do believe those are nearly two separate subgroups at this point, and maybe that's what brings on some guilt. A lot of traditions are tied into the Catholic Church. I never remember my Great Grandma and Grandma going to church (my dad doesn't anymore for that matter), but they were more faithful to all the other traditions and had a giant rosary on the wall- that I inherited, lucky me. My mom's side of the family goes to church faithfully and one aunt sees every moment as a teaching moment for Catholicism. But they don't seem to strictly practice some of the same traditions.

 

Maybe because we go though reconciliation and should be going to confession regularly to confess our sins (and many of us don't do that as often as we should- or like ever:tongue_smilie: in my husband's case.) What is and what is not sin is fairly clear. So if say, you're a college aged teen boy: you are basically a good kid, you do something kind of stupid that you know is a sin even though you really know better, you feel kind of guilty about it, you know you could probably go to confession and ask for forgiveness and advice but you don't get off your butt to do it, you feel a bit more guilty...etc.

 

Sorry, that's probably not the best explanation!

 

ETA: I like LauraGB's explanation too! There's a reason why nuns are characterized as superstrict knuckle whackers. I didn't go to Catholic schools, and I think most of them are different now anyway, but my dad was in the generation that did. Also, he thought Sister Act and the musical made from Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up were hilarious and very true in many ways.

Edited by prairiebird
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I'm going to take a guess here. I am a cradle Catholic, but raised by atheist parents who were Catholics only in name. So I go by their history to try and answer this.

 

years ago, before Vatican II, at Mass, the priest would go onto the pulpit and basically yell at the congregation that everything wrong in the world is their own personal fault. This was the sermon, which has been replaced with the homily by Vatican II. I was not raised in the sermon area, but have heard of them.

 

Btw, the movie "The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain" (or something like that) has a great sermon in it. Great here would mean very typical of Catholic sermons although I'm pretty sure it wasn't Catholic in the movie. By doing a google search, it was a Baptist reverant. But it was very typical of Catholic sermons.

 

On top of those sermons, priests were pretty much in charge of every single decision, including but not limited to how often a couple should have marital relations. And the woman wouldn't dare say no to her husband, that would send her straight to hell. Every detail of your daily life was controlled by Church teachings. If you were to eat one extra piece of cake, not only would you feel guilty for the extra weight on your hips, but also that it would send you straight to hell. Gluttony is one of the capital sins after all.

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I'm going to take a guess here. I am a cradle Catholic, but raised by atheist parents who were Catholics only in name. So I go by their history to try and answer this.

 

years ago, before Vatican II, at Mass, the priest would go onto the pulpit and basically yell at the congregation that everything wrong in the world is their own personal fault. This was the sermon, which has been replaced with the homily by Vatican II. I was not raised in the sermon area, but have heard of them.

 

Btw, the movie "The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain" (or something like that) has a great sermon in it. Great here would mean very typical of Catholic sermons although I'm pretty sure it wasn't Catholic in the movie. By doing a google search, it was a Baptist reverant. But it was very typical of Catholic sermons.

 

On top of those sermons, priests were pretty much in charge of every single decision, including but not limited to how often a couple should have marital relations. And the woman wouldn't dare say no to her husband, that would send her straight to hell. Every detail of your daily life was controlled by Church teachings. If you were to eat one extra piece of cake, not only would you feel guilty for the extra weight on your hips, but also that it would send you straight to hell. Gluttony is one of the capital sins after all.

 

Okay I think I'm getting the picture :D. It sounds like spiritual guilt that could be placed om you regardless of denomination. I'm betting Catholics just have a longer history...hence the coined phrase.

 

The above part I bolded, because it is definately not just Catholics who practice this (and I'm not sure how common it still is with Catholics). I had to deal with this in a AG church a few years ago :glare:. It's a throw back to what protestants know as the "shepherding movement." Yuck!

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Anyway, what is Catholic guilt? What makes it different from other guilt?

 

"Catholic guilt" is mostly just a catch phrase, and I find that the people most likely to use it are those who are no longer practicing Catholics. They tend to mean that they feel guilty about things that they intellectually believe are morally fine, or feel guilty for little or no reason.

 

In the 40s and 50s the catechesis (religious education) of Catholic children tended to be very rigid, very black and white and intentionally guilt inducing. I think the notion was that you should scare the children into being good. To me, images like this one (from a catechism I own but chose not to use) are designed to be emotionally manipulative and guilt inducing:

 

BaltimoreC-1.jpg

 

I could find you more examples from this text, like information about how our sins made Christ suffer, encouraging children to think about their own sinfulness when they see a crucifix. Not the sort of thing I like to encourage, myself.

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Catholics do not believe in the Protestant thing of "once saved, always saved" and feel strongly that it really *DOES* matter how we choose to live our lives. Jesus offers us the hope of salvation but it's not enough to simply accept Him as our Savior. There is no salvation except through Jesus but faith alone is no guarantee that we will be saved. So when we Catholics sin, it creates a much stronger feeling of guilt because we don't have this blithe assumption that our faith in Christ alone is sufficient.

 

Does that make sense?

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Oh for the love of crackers, that image is ridiculous! I wouldn't be showing that to my kids either! If my dad grew up with that 24/7 though, no wonder he'd feel guilty even taking that second piece of cake! (And this is not knocking you at all for sharing this- makes me understand some things a bit more.)

 

I'm using a bits of a Catholic homeschool curriculum with the kids now and it's no where near as creepy as that!

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I find the term Catholic guilt to be just a wee bit... offensive is too strong. Maybe a bit mocking? Flippant? I don't know. It just doesn't sit right with me.

 

Anyway. Here is a pretty good article that explains things well.

 

That was a pretty good article :D. Just so you know, I wasn't trying to be rude at all. I was just curious if there was a difference between "Catholic guilt" or conservative "Protestant guilt."

 

Sounds like guilt is guilt. I do see that there was a bit of a backlash against shaming...but Catholics aren't the only religious group guilty of that.

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Wow. That went straight to catholic bashing quick.

 

Catholic guilt is most likely a result of years of will formation. It is the ever present thought process of "is that right, good, kind - it is Christ-like".

 

I don't know anyone who associates it with shame or some horrific brow beating sermons.

 

Most just associate it with a strong sense of trying to be a good person and knowing we could have likely been better people in whatever situation is bothering us. Sometimes it is worth listening to. Sometimes it is a bit hyper sensitive and guilt isn't really necessary. It's an intuition to give consideration to.

 

I think some of you are confusing catholic guilt with scrupulosity, which is actually something the RCC says parishioners should avoid and seek spiritual guidance to deal with.

 

Personally, I don't think catholic guilt is necessarily a bad thing.:)

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Oh for the love of crackers, that image is ridiculous! I wouldn't be showing that to my kids either! If my dad grew up with that 24/7 though, no wonder he'd feel guilty even taking that second piece of cake! (And this is not knocking you at all for sharing this- makes me understand some things a bit more.)

 

I do want to point out that this isn't an issue of doctrine, but an issue of catechesis or teaching. The trend was to purposely instill guilt and fear in order to get children to behave. Catechesis has moved far away from that, in my experience.

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"Catholic guilt" is mostly just a catch phrase, and I find that the people most likely to use it are those who are no longer practicing Catholics.

 

I disagree. It's been my observation that guilt is felt more strongly by those Catholics who are serious in their attempts to live by the doctrine of the Church. My relatives who are "progressive" (aka "cafeteria") Catholics do not feel guilt when they go against Church teachings, but I do. You can't feel guilt over something you don't believe is wrong.

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You know, I have never experienced the infamous Catholic guilt but I never went to a Catholic school or was raised in a Catholic home. I remember hearing a quip from a guy who went to a Catholic school. His joke was that he had a nun talk about hell like she was born and raised there.

 

What Catholics do think a lot about is the next life AND the consequences of sin, old sins have long shadows. Another poster, in another thread, remarked on the ripple effect of sin. Every action we do is of significance. Some might look at that as karma. It's not paranoia but awareness. I would hate to see a highlight reel of my life and all the wrong that I've done and will continue to do.

 

Our SOUL is our main priority, our body in the here and now is nothing. It's like carrying a hundred dollar bill (our soul) in a 10 cent pocketbook(our body and earthly desires). Perhaps all that admonishment comes from the fear that people were throwing away the $100 in pursuit of the cheap pocketbook.

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Catholics do not believe in the Protestant thing of "once saved, always saved" and feel strongly that it really *DOES* matter how we choose to live our lives. Jesus offers us the hope of salvation but it's not enough to simply accept Him as our Savior. There is no salvation except through Jesus but faith alone is no guarantee that we will be saved. So when we Catholics sin, it creates a much stronger feeling of guilt because we don't have this blithe assumption that our faith in Christ alone is sufficient.

 

Does that make sense?

 

Yes, it does. I see that.

 

I'm wondering where the line is between guilt/shame (in the clinical sense, not the common tongue sense).

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I disagree. It's been my observation that guilt is felt more strongly by those Catholics who are serious in their attempts to live by the doctrine of the Church. My relatives who are "progressive" (aka "cafeteria") Catholics do not feel guilt when they go against Church teachings, but I do. You can't feel guilt over something you don't believe is wrong.

 

But do you use the term "Catholic guilt"? I only ever hear this particular phrase used by lapsed or ex-Catholics, as meaning a sense of guilt that is sticking around and that they can't get rid of, although they'd like to do so.

 

Now, yes a practicing Catholic will probably have a more sensitive conscience than a lapsed Catholic, but I don't hear them use the term "Catholic guilt." They tend to consider the term slightly offensive or misplaced.

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Okay I think I'm getting the picture :D. It sounds like spiritual guilt that could be placed om you regardless of denomination. I'm betting Catholics just have a longer history...hence the coined phrase.

 

The above part I bolded, because it is definately not just Catholics who practice this (and I'm not sure how common it still is with Catholics). I had to deal with this in a AG church a few years ago :glare:. It's a throw back to what protestants know as the "shepherding movement." Yuck!

 

I know people who have been sucked into and escaped from "shepherding" churches, but I don't know what an AG church is. Could you clarify? Thanks.

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Our family attended a very legalistic, independent church for a few of my teen years until my parents WOKE UP! So, we had legalistic guilt....you are dying and going to hell because your skirt wasn't at least three inches below your knee, hell was knocking at your door if you were female and even owned a pair of pants, going to hell for owning a bathing suit, going to hell because you went to the movie theater no matter how innocent the flick - Lady and the Tramp is apparently very damaging to your soul- etc. Unbelieveably oppressive and the pastor, assistant pastor, and youth pastor would try to catch the teens doing something awful, such as attending a movie, and then haul them in front of the church on a Sunday morning to confess their sins to the congregation.

 

The collective sigh of relief from my brother and I when our parents realized that their relationship with us was being completely destroyed by this environment and chose to leave, was deafening according to mom!

 

So, I would never think of it as "guilt" assigned to a single denomination but just literally, oppressive, spiritual guilt used to control people instead of getting about the business of loving people and living as a role model to others.

 

Faith

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I know people who have been sucked into and escaped from "shepherding" churches, but I don't know what an AG church is. Could you clarify? Thanks.

 

 

AG is Assemblies of God. The AG specificly denounces the Shepherding movement, but each church is considered it's own seperate individual. So although you cannot believe in the practice (at least vocalize during the ordination proccess) once you are a Pastor of a church you can do what you like.

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That was a pretty good article :D. Just so you know, I wasn't trying to be rude at all. I was just curious if there was a difference between "Catholic guilt" or conservative "Protestant guilt."

 

Sounds like guilt is guilt. I do see that there was a bit of a backlash against shaming...but Catholics aren't the only religious group guilty of that.

Of course you weren't being rude. I never thought you were.

 

It is just one of those things that makes me the nut-job I am. :D

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But do you use the term "Catholic guilt"? I only ever hear this particular phrase used by lapsed or ex-Catholics, as meaning a sense of guilt that is sticking around and that they can't get rid of, although they'd like to do so.

 

Now, yes a practicing Catholic will probably have a more sensitive conscience than a lapsed Catholic, but I don't hear them use the term "Catholic guilt." They tend to consider the term slightly offensive or misplaced.

 

The only time I've heard the phrase used has been among devout Catholics. And it's usually in the context of "my Catholic guilt wouldn't allow me to _____" :)

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Okay I think I'm getting the picture :D. It sounds like spiritual guilt that could be placed om you regardless of denomination. I'm betting Catholics just have a longer history...hence the coined phrase.

 

The above part I bolded, because it is definately not just Catholics who practice this (and I'm not sure how common it still is with Catholics). I had to deal with this in a AG church a few years ago :glare:. It's a throw back to what protestants know as the "shepherding movement." Yuck!

 

There is actually a term for that-the shepherding movement. Huh. Yeah, that's badness.

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I don't find the image disturbing at all and neither have any of my children.

It's page 24 of New St Joseph 1st communion catechism. Lesson 5, which covers Our Own Sins. Actual, original, venial, and mortal.

Geez. It's a visual explaining that MORTAL sin affects our relationship with God and our eternal life/soul. The book goes on to explain what makes a sin mortal. It's actually very difficult for even adults to commit mortal sin and it is never accidental either. The likelihood of a child doing so is nearly nil. In fact, on the very same page It says, "Children do not often commit mortal sin. God protects them in a special way. But big people sometimes commit mortal sin."

 

Even so, it also goes on to say later in the same book (lesson 9) that even such a terrible sin as a mortal one can be forgiven and Jesus is eager to forgive us and for us to heal our relationship with Him.

 

Oh and I am not a cradle catholic. I'm a convert. My dh isn't religious and he has no problem with it either.

Edited by Martha
Stupid auto correct put in the wrong words!
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From a cradle Catholic: I have no idea. Neither does my dh, another cradle Catholic. In fact, I've discussed this many times with Catholic friends, and they have no idea either. I wonder if it's more of a cultural thing?

 

Although, a little guilt can sometimes can be a good thing.

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I don't find the image disturbing at all and neither have any of my children.

It's page 24 of New St Joseph 1st communion catechism. Lesson 5, which covers Our Own Sins. Actual, original, venial, and mortal.

Geez. It's a visual explaining that MORTAL sin affects our relationship with God and our eternal life/soul. The book goes on to explain what makes a sin mortal. It's actually very difficult for even adults to commit mortal sin and it is never accidental either. The likelihood of a child doing so is nearly nil. In fact, on the very same page It says, "Children do not often commit mortal sin. God protects them in a special way. But big people sometimes commit mortal sin."

 

Even so, it also goes on to say later in the same book (lesson 9) that even such a terrible sin as a mortal one can be forgiven and Jesus is eager to forgive us and for us to heal our relationship with Him.

 

Oh and I am not a cradle catholic. I'm a convert. My dh isn't religious and he has no problem with it either.

 

I've now gone back and read all the posts. Interesting perspectives. Anyway, :iagree:. I know that picture well. My children have all seen it, and none of them have found it disturbing. Now this might be due to the fact that I don't find it disturbing. I think it depicts how very serious sin is while at the same time showing that God's mercy is freely available for everyone. Sin is no laughing matter. I don't use fear to parent my children, but occasionally if fear keeps them on the right track, I'm not opposed to that.

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I do want to point out that this isn't an issue of doctrine, but an issue of catechesis or teaching. The trend was to purposely instill guilt and fear in order to get children to behave. Catechesis has moved far away from that, in my experience.

 

What carp. The purpose is to instill a proper respect for the consequences of sin. To create in them a strong sense of how important it is to consider how our words and our acts impact not just ourselves, but our relationship with others and God. When you sin against your parents or a sibling, you can see the sadness you cause and you react to it. That picture does nothing more than give a visual that our sins cause God to be sad for us as well and we should feel sad then too.

 

For all the whining the days about how supposedly terrible guilt and shame is, I think people who are shameless is far worse. And there are a lot of them in society these days.

 

And yeah, catechesis has moved away from teaching about sin and consequences and proper faith formation. That's way my children don't go to RE. It's an embarrassment to call it religious education.

 

*end rant*

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Geez. It's a visual explaining that MORTAL sin affects our relationship with God and our eternal life/soul. The book goes on to explain what makes a sin mortal.

 

 

But I think the image is drawn to be scary to children. I think there are kinder ways to express the same information. I guess I feel as though that image is slightly disturbing to me. If it is disturbing to me, it may be worse for my children. And if it scares my kids, I think they might be likely to remember that image as disturbing rather than teaching, and they may be more apt to dismiss their religion as they grow into adults.

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I wonder if it's more of a cultural thing?

 

Although, a little guilt can sometimes can be a good thing.

 

I think it happens with generations of old world catholics raising the next. In our family, both sides were Catholic from before they ever crossed the ocean, and that generation raised the next and so on. I was raised in a pre-sixties doctrine home and went to the same sort of school. I don't think it's really like that anymore; the churches around here seem much more...forgiving ;).

 

And I agree - guilt isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's a human thing. It's one's conscience doing what it does. The whole Catholic Guilt thing goes much, much farther, superseding the already existing ability to be moral and know the difference between right and wrong.

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I'm going to take a guess here. I am a cradle Catholic, but raised by atheist parents who were Catholics only in name. So I go by their history to try and answer this.

 

years ago, before Vatican II, at Mass, the priest would go onto the pulpit and basically yell at the congregation that everything wrong in the world is their own personal fault. This was the sermon, which has been replaced with the homily by Vatican II. I was not raised in the sermon area, but have heard of them.

 

Btw, the movie "The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain" (or something like that) has a great sermon in it. Great here would mean very typical of Catholic sermons although I'm pretty sure it wasn't Catholic in the movie. By doing a google search, it was a Baptist reverant. But it was very typical of Catholic sermons.

 

On top of those sermons, priests were pretty much in charge of every single decision, including but not limited to how often a couple should have marital relations. And the woman wouldn't dare say no to her husband, that would send her straight to hell. Every detail of your daily life was controlled by Church teachings. If you were to eat one extra piece of cake, not only would you feel guilty for the extra weight on your hips, but also that it would send you straight to hell. Gluttony is one of the capital sins after all.

 

I understand that this was your parents' experience and I've heard this from other people too, but it is not the experience of all older Catholics who were active in the church prior to Vatican II. It was not my father's experience, my in-laws' experience nor the experience of my great-aunt - all of whom I've had very deep, intense discussions with. Again, is this cultural or geographical. The family I speak of all lived in America, specifically in the west, and were all very, very faithful Catholics. Yet knowing my father and mil, had any priest ever tried to have that kind of control, he wouldn't have gotten very far. And probably would have gotten an earful. I tend to think American Catholics were more independent (??) than European Catholics. You know American individualism and all. Just thinking out loud.

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What carp. The purpose is to instill a proper respect for the consequences of sin. To create in them a strong sense of how important it is to consider how our words and our acts impact not just ourselves, but our relationship with others and God. When you sin against your parents or a sibling, you can see the sadness you cause and you react to it. That picture does nothing more than give a visual that our sins cause God to be sad for us as well and we should feel sad then too.

 

I'm sorry, I don't disagree with teaching the consequences of sin but I very much disagree with emotional manipulation and intentionally encouraging guilt. It is simply NOT the same to me as encouraging proper formation of conscience including knowledge of the consequence of sin. Our sins don't make God sad, our sins offend against the Truth and against God's goodness. You don't need to layer sappy sweet emotion on this to communicate the Truth, I absolutely believe that it detracts from the Truth, rather than encouraging it.

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What carp. The purpose is to instill a proper respect for the consequences of sin. To create in them a strong sense of how important it is to consider how our words and our acts impact not just ourselves, but our relationship with others and God. When you sin against your parents or a sibling, you can see the sadness you cause and you react to it. That picture does nothing more than give a visual that our sins cause God to be sad for us as well and we should feel sad then too.

 

For all the whining the days about how supposedly terrible guilt and shame is, I think people who are shameless is far worse. And there are a lot of them in society these days.

 

And yeah, catechesis has moved away from teaching about sin and consequences and proper faith formation. That's way my children don't go to RE. It's an embarrassment to call it religious education.

 

*end rant*

 

I get what you are saying.

 

That said...I would put forth that "guilt" and "shame" are terrible motivators for dealing with heart issues. Do they get the job of controlling external behaviors done? Yes. Unfortunately, if guilt, shame, and fear are the primary motivators to not do something, the concepts of love, wisdom, and health have been displaced. KWIM?

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I think it happens with generations of old world catholics raising the next. In our family, both sides were Catholic from before they ever crossed the ocean, and that generation raised the next and so on. I was raised in a pre-sixties doctrine home and went to the same sort of school. I don't think it's really like that anymore; the churches around here seem much more...forgiving ;).

 

And I agree - guilt isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's a human thing. It's one's conscience doing what it does. The whole Catholic Guilt thing goes much, much farther, superseding the already existing ability to be moral and know the difference between right and wrong.

 

The bolded part - that what I'm thinking might be the difference. My fil's family came from Germany, but other than that my family wasn't from old country Catholic roots. Their Catholic roots started in America.

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I'm sorry, I don't disagree with teaching the consequences of sin but I very much disagree with emotional manipulation and intentionally encouraging guilt. It is simply NOT the same to me as encouraging proper formation of conscience including knowledge of the consequence of sin. Our sins don't make God sad, our sins offend against the Truth and against God's goodness. You don't need to layer sappy sweet emotion on this to communicate the Truth, I absolutely believe that it detracts from the Truth, rather than encouraging it.

:iagree: and I agree with everything you have posted in this thread.

 

IRL I have never heard a practicing Catholic use the term "Catholic guilt".

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It's early and I just woke up, but I will attest to Catholic Guilt being an actual thing! It is that weighty, horrifying feeling of guilt bordering on paranoia that manifests over just the simplest, most human mistakes. I think it's a result of parents and/or teachers (catholic school; nuns, priests, etc) using shame and guilt tactics to keep children in line, weekly confession starting very young,

 

Wow.

 

We were raised Catholic, and my dh went to school all the way through grad school at Catholic schools, and neither of us would ever buy into that.

 

Maybe things are different elsewhere, but the people we know use the term as a joke, referring to Catholic guilt whenever we're tempted to do something that is a little naughty. I had a close friend who was Jewish and we used to joke around about our Catholic and Jewish guilt.

 

For us, it is just giving a name to that little voice we all have in our heads that tells us we are about to do something we shouldn't do, or if we are regretting something we did wrong in the past.

 

Unless that "something"that we did was truly horrific, I seriously doubt that our "Catholic guilt" would be horrible or crushing!

 

I'm sure there are some fanatics out there who raise their kids to feel terribly guilty for the long-term about every little tiny thing they do wrong, but that's not a Catholic thing, it's a crazy, controlling thing.

 

Cat

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But I think the image is drawn to be scary to children. I think there are kinder ways to express the same information. I guess I feel as though that image is slightly disturbing to me. If it is disturbing to me, it may be worse for my children. And if it scares my kids, I think they might be likely to remember that image as disturbing rather than teaching, and they may be more apt to dismiss their religion as they grow into adults.

 

Oh for crying out loud. It is a happy kid with a smiling Jesus vs a sad kid with a sad faced Jesus.

 

I am understanding to how it would make them feel sad.

 

But to call it scary and disturbing is rather extreme to me.:confused:

 

Do you also refuse to let your child view the crucifix during mass? Or explain that the Eucharist is the blood and body of Christ? Surely THAT has got to be more scary and disturbing than a cartoon picture of a sad faced Jesus on a tshirt?

 

These are the very basics of the faith. And this book is typically not used until 1st grade, normally in 2nd grade.

 

I'm finding it hard to comprehend how a 7 year old could be prepared for first communion or how they could give a proper confession if their parent has instilled fear and avoidance of even a tshirt cartoon picture of a frowning Jesus image.:001_huh:

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Wow.

 

We were raised Catholic, and my dh went to school all the way through grad school at Catholic schools, and neither of us would ever buy into that.

 

Maybe things are different elsewhere, but the people we know use the term as a joke, referring to Catholic guilt whenever we're tempted to do something that is a little naughty. I had a close friend who was Jewish and we used to joke around about our Catholic and Jewish guilt.

 

For us, it is just giving a name to that little voice we all have in our heads that tells us we are about to do something we shouldn't do, or if we are regretting something we did wrong in the past.

 

Unless that "something"that we did was truly horrific, I seriously doubt that our "Catholic guilt" would be horrible or crushing!

 

I'm sure there are some fanatics out there who raise their kids to feel terribly guilty for the long-term about every little tiny thing they do wrong, but that's not a Catholic thing, it's a crazy, controlling thing.

 

Cat

 

Sorry, I loved this line! :lol:

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I get what you are saying.

 

That said...I would put forth that "guilt" and "shame" are terrible motivators for dealing with heart issues. Do they get the job of controlling external behaviors done? Yes. Unfortunately, if guilt, shame, and fear are the primary motivators to not do something, the concepts of love, wisdom, and health have been displaced. KWIM?

 

It makes me think of the Act of Contrition that Catholics say... "Oh my God, I'm heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love....."

 

Imperfect contrition (fear of punishment) vs. perfect contrition (for the love of God). We strive for perfect contrition, that is the ideal and the goal, but being human we don't always make it, but with God's grace we grow and mature in our faith walk. I want my children to do the right thing because it is the right thing, but I know full well they sometimes do the right thing only because they want to avoid the consequences. Not perfect but working towards it. As an adult, sometimes it's the same for me, but I keep improving.

Edited by Ishki
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Do you also refuse to let your child view the crucifix during mass? Or explain that the Eucharist is the blood and body of Christ?

 

I'm not who you are quoting, but those things AREN'T designed to cause emotional manipulation, and that image is, and I have a major problem with that. It wasn't my language, but I could see labeling that sort of emotional manipulation as "disturbing."

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I'm sure there are some fanatics out there who raise their kids to feel terribly guilty for the long-term about every little tiny thing they do wrong, but that's not a Catholic thing, it's a crazy, controlling thing.

 

Cat

 

Agreed!

 

But the guilt thing is real - that's why the term has been around for so long. Obviously not for everyone, for a lot of people. In my own case, during confession at 10 years old, all I really had to confess were things like telling my sister to shut up or that I thought my dad was really mean for doing (insert something mean), and then after a ton of Hail Marys and literally praying to God for forgiveness for that, how in the world does one handle the really big things? As I said earlier, I think some people are just predisposed to take it all much more seriously than others.

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For us, it is just giving a name to that little voice we all have in our heads that tells us we are about to do something we shouldn't do, or if we are regretting something we did wrong in the past.

 

Unless that "something"that we did was truly horrific, I seriously doubt that our "Catholic guilt" would be horrible or crushing!

 

I thought I should clarify these few sentences from my last post. I think most people would define the "little voice" as their conscience. I would assume that most of us have one of those, but for some reason, when it's referred to as Catholic guilt or Jewish guit or whatever, it is somehow a terrible and crushing thing to have. :confused:

 

Cat

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priests were pretty much in charge of every single decision,

 

So, back in the early 1900s (which is as far back as I know of), on the East Coast in the US, the priests were often one of few Catholics in a parish with a higher education. I know my grandfather, a small business owner, had the priest go over his books, because he had a college degree, and my grandfather didn't. So they were there to provide a higher education point of view and share it with the parishioners.

 

No doubt the results varied by the personality of the priest.

 

This oversight was long gone for my parents' generation, who were born just before the Depression hit. Yet, Catholic guilt was a concept for them, mostly in an off-hand, seldom mentioned way. So, I don't think it was necessarily the priests who brought that on, but again, it would vary by locale and individual personality of those involved.

 

Around here, Catholic guilt didn't refer to good old healthy guilt, but an overreaching/overreaction on the part of either the teacher/student. Usually when I hear its use, it's in a teasing manner among Catholics, not some type of putdown.

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Too funny! I was thinking about this early in the morning after watching the 1st episode of The Abbey. One of the gals mentioned how she felt so guilty and unworthy to be in the church. I know some lapsed Catholics who refuse to go to any church because of the guilt associated with the RCC-not saying the church imposes this, just how they feel.

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