Letting Go

I am 60 years old.  To say I have been to hell and back is an un derstatement.  You see, I was a Catholic child in the 50's.  Imagine the abuse of little children if you can and you will know what I meant by "hell":  six years old, Sister Mary Discipline standing me up in front of twenty something other classmates and calling me names that ranged from, "Mama's little sugarplum" to "ugly girl" because I was out sick with measles, or whatever childhood ailment ailed us all in turn.  Imagine. Father Whoever preaching hellfire to little children who did not contribute to the "Pope's Poor", those manila envelopes that we carried home with us, to our own poor families, only to be scolded by parents and reminded that "we" were the "Pope's Poor".  Then, dreading waking the next morning for feaar of the tirade that would befall us by the nuns when we returned the little manila envelopes empty, I suddenly got this idea to put in some Monopoly money, tape the envelope shut, and that would be my saviour for the day!  Unfortunately, nuns and priests were savvy to the tricks of kids and I would be singled out again as one who cheated God and would burn for eternity unless I lived to make it to confession.  The kid who collected the envelopes was named, "Dominic" and he was the most popular kid with the priests and nuns, for Dominic's family was NOT poor, and he always had the "siff-siff" sound when you shook the envelope, expressing therefore, that there was two or more paper bills in there.  The envelopes,( when Dominic collected and shook to humiliate us), that sounded like two pennies shifting around, brought a blush to the poor child who handed it over to Dominic, who we all wished would be whipped to Hell by a  Saviour who would miraculously appear and beat him, the nun, and the priest, out of our classroom the way He did the moneylenders at the Temple in His time. But no Saviour ever appeared for us, and we never heard that Jesus loved us.  The God of the 50's was a Punisher, a Tormentor, Who just waited for a child to mess up the day, like eating a piece of salami on Friday.  Our parents would visit with our misguided non-Catholic relatives every Friday night so that the grownups could play Monopoly while us kids played school in my cousin's bedroom.  But there would always be the most appealing looking platter of bolognas and salamis and hams.  My cousin who was my age, dipped her little hand into the plate of goodies with absolutely no conscience or misgivings.  I, on the other hand, would weigh salami vs. hell and then inevitably give in to my hunger pangs and grab the salami and stuff it in my mouth by the pieces, and then think, "oh well, what the hell", until bedtime.  Bedtime was always scarey on those certain Friday nights when I gave in to temptation.  I would lay awake all night. That was the safest way to stay alive. If I closed my eyes, I might fall asleep.  If I fell asleep, I might die. If I died, I'd go to Hell for eating meat on Friday...so I HAD to keep awake until 6 a.m. Confession.  Then, while the rest of the family was snug and sleeping off hang-overs, I would slip out the door and literally run to Confession.  The priest hearing Confession was apalled that I ate salami two Fridays in a row, and admonished me about what was better, a slice of salami, or the endless, eternal body-consuming flames of Hell?!  I cried out for forgiveness and hurried away to the altar rail to say the penance before I might die on the way out of the Confessional.  Now.  I know I am telling the story as humorously as possible, because that is how I deal with the childhood I never had.  NO child should be forced to listen to the punishments that would be weilded out by a Punisher God that would last FOREVER, and then be slapped and spanked by nuns, humiliated by those nuns, terrified of hooded priests who made us know the difference between the pergutory that we absolutely would have to go to for a few thousand years before being released maybe to heaven (purgatory's flames only licked our feet) and the hell of bodily burning forever with no hope of heaven.  Then there was Limbo, that in-between place where if you were not baptised, you floated, not happy, not unhappy, not burned though...it made the kids who were baptised as babies wish they hadn't been baptised at all, then they could float and not worry about flames.  Child abuse, and oh, there is so much more abuse I haven't written about yet.  I've only just begun.  I have been afraid of God all my life.  Even the Muslims have it easier, they just blow things and themselves up and get it over with.  I wish I could sue the menaces who called themselves nuns and priests, sue the Pope who took our money and no poor were ever helped, we certainly were not...can you help me?  my email if you are interested:  7777bunny@live.com, thank you for listening to this little ol' lady.

sotelo sotelo
56-60, F
7 Responses Mar 13, 2010

I am very sorry for your terrible experience, and it breaks my heart that you ba<x>se your entire religion on a few over zealous nuns and priests. God will not damn a child to hell for eating a piece of salami on Friday during Lent. We all make mistakes, and God gives us the chance to be REMADE. He is not an oppressor, he is our Father. Jesus loves each and every one of us, and my heart goes out to you that you were not told that over and over, because that is the truth. God in Himself is LOVE. I am praying for you, God Bless:)

Another example of how the sex abuse that has been going on in the church, as bad as it is, is dwarfed by the abuse of which you speak. Generations such as my parents, subjected to this evil ( what can be wores than hurting innocent children). My son as me about hell recently after a pre - communion class. It was the last time he went to that class. We can try to stop the damage being passed on.

Have you read anything about this? Are there groups in recovery? I have just begun to think about the feeling of dread that I have done something wrong that I wake up with every morning comes from my childhood as a Catholic. That dread is the sea my consciousness swims in<br />
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inquirybeforesnow

"Even the Muslims have it easier, they just blow things and themselves up and get it over with. " I bet you have a great sense of humor? LOL That made me laugh. Nevertheless, Was raised by a Catholic mom who use to try to scare me by telling me I was going to hell if I didn't obey, but I never saw Jesus as punishing so it didn't fly with me. Thankfully, I never had to deal with nuns and whatnot. I think I would have been more of a wreck. Sorry you went through that, but happy you survived it and are strong now

Your story almost seems incredible, yet it is so close to mine. I think you are very courageous.

7777bunny@live.com please contact me at pawkova@att.net

Wow, that's terrible. Hope you've found some peace.