As someone who used to be very much not-Catholic, first as a Protestant child/adolescent and then an atheist adult (a very liberal atheist adult), I have had a lot of misconceptions about Catholic dogma in my lifetime.
As a young person, I thought that Catholics worshiped Mary and/or the pope, that all their churches were named after saints (though I had no real understanding of what a saint is), and that it was silly for them to confess to a priest when they could just confess directly to God through prayer.
As an adult, I still thought all those things, and also that Catholics were anti-woman, backwards-thinking, guilt-inducing prudes. Granted, I kind of thought this of all Christian religious groups, but maybe Catholics in particular.
I certainly never felt any malice toward Catholicism, as it seems that some Protestant groups do. It was more like I felt enlightened, and I kind of pitied Catholics with all the rules they had to follow and the guilt they felt if they didn’t. I remember hearing my Catholic friends talk about their “Catholic guilt,” and thinking that was just so sad. It just seemed like Catholicism was weird.
My, how things have changed. Now I’m Catholic. It’s still kind of crazy to me, and yet here I am, happily drinking in as much as I can about this newfound faith of mine. I now know that Catholicism isn’t weird at all, once you understand the reasons behind the dogma. There is so much to learn, and I find it all so beautiful and fascinating.
I really, really love being Catholic.
However, hardly anyone in my family is Catholic, and many of my friends and readers aren’t either. Obviously, I don’t expect everyone I know to fall in love with Catholicism just because I have. BUT, I’m sure there are people in my life (and just out there in general) who still think Catholicism is kind of weird, or maybe even think it’s awful.
So. I’ve decided to start a new series of posts here, focusing on the many misconceptions there are out there about Catholicism (most of which I’ve had myself at one time or another). Starting next week, I’ll do a (roughly) weekly post, each about one common misunderstanding of Catholicism. (Feel free to send me your questions if you have them. You can leave them in the comments section or email them to me at motherhoodandmiscellany at gmail.com.)
If I don’t get any questions, I’ll just write about the things I know are often misunderstood about Catholicism.
** HUGE Disclaimer**
I am not an expert on Catholic doctrine. I have said it before, and I’ll say over and over, I am no apologist. I’m no expert. I barely know what I’m doing. I’m just a Baby Catholic. A brand new convert.
Literally. I’ve been Catholic barely over a month. In the interest of full disclosure and fair warning, you can read an example of my eloquence (read: lack thereof) in explaining the mysteries of our Faith with this post on the real presence in the Eucharist. I’m not going to win any awards with my ability to drop the knowledge in a fancy way.
But, I have learned a lot over the past year, and I have a great love of studying my new-found faith. I know I will learn a lot through writing these posts, and maybe you’ll learn something too. Or at least you can get a laugh at my fumbling if that’s what it turns out to be! If I don’t know the answer to your question (which is a strong possibility), I’ll do my very best to find it (get ready Husband, Super Friend, Godmother. . .). If I get something wrong, feel free to correct me. I look forward to your comments and questions.
Next week I’ll start with a biggie.
A friend of mine has expressed a desire to talk to me about this, and we haven’t had a chance to get into it. So I’m going to just jump right in and write about Mary. Do Catholics worship Mary? Nope. I’ll explain next week.