Why this Blog?

collage of Catholic items from 1950s ex.Baltimore Catechism, pre-Vatican II Missal for children, etc.This blog is  the result of two unrelated incidences. The first was a nightly news program reporting  the death of another World War II veteran–leaving America  one step closer to losing the final first-hand accounts of that historic event.

The second was a comment by my son who told me about his First Confession. How he sat across from the priest. Face to face. In a comfortable chair. In an airy, well-lit room; a poster with the words to The Act of Contrition hanging on the wall. He said he made the Sign of the Cross and told the priest the one or two sins he was most sorry for.

It was the one or two sins that got me. 

Yes, the confessional booths of my childhood are gone—turned into alcoves with statues and vigil candles. Most people confess face-to-face now. But confessing only one or two sins? What happened to the Examination of Conscience listing mortal sins in bold-face type on the left page and venial sins on the right? What happened to memorizing the protocol of what we said and what the priest said, when we talked and when the priest talked, and of the obligation to recite every prayer word for word and confess every sin and the number of times we committed them?

It’s not that I wanted a harrowing experience for my son. It’s that I realized that he would never know what it was like for me; that the faith I handed down to him looked and sounded much different than the faith my mother handed down to me.

Some boomers laugh about their Catholic upbringing. Others take issue with it. But all of us can relate to growing up during two simultaneous historic events–the secular baby boomer revolution and the sweeping changes of the Second Vatican Council. I don’t want to lose the first-hand accounts of that experience. And I don’t want to stay in the past as Mother Church continues into the future–always the foundation of never-changing truth and insight about God’s love for us.

New posts appear every Friday (like fish sticks in Lent) but comments can be added all week long. My hope is that we’ll all come away with a new appreciation of the unique place we hold on the American Catholic timeline of history.

[Disclaimer: Positive and negative experiences are acceptable if written in a respectful way. This blog will not entertain irreverent, hateful language or offensive content. It cannot provide counsel for serious grievances and therefore will not post them. Derogatory statements or accusations will not be posted.]

Originally posted April 2014

 

 

4 thoughts on “Why this Blog?”

  1. This makes me laugh. As a person who was”imported” by bus to another parish who had a Catholic school. My parish church was small so it did not have a “confessional”. I was able to see the sacrament of Confession performed in two different ways. At school, where I did my “first confession” I remember sitting there examining my 7year old life. I was remember how I fought with my brothers and sisters, but this was a first Communion! Surely, I could not go into that confessional with just that sin……so I made up another. I lied to my Mom…if you knew my Mom, when we were little you could not lie to her. She would know and Jesus would know and all the angels and saints would know.
    At my parish, you just went into the sacristy and confess. Mostly I liked my parish priest at that time and he was on to me cause I would come in and kinda talk to him. He could see who I was and he would say things that would make me laugh.Wow! I miss him, cause he made being Catholic mean something to me. At confirmation, we would be soldiers of Christ…..I like being Joan of Arc. I knew secret hiding places and I would hide as many Catholics as I could……they would have to like living in the creek.
    Yes, I liked being a Catholic back then and I liked the rituals. I think that is why I cannot go to a Catholic church now. There are no ritual, like tuna noodle /fish friday.

    1. Josie, Your reply make me laugh as well. I love your Joan of Arc plans. And you aren’t alone with missing the rituals. That’s what’s so confusing. Many boomers can’t stand the thought of the rituals. Yesterday at the end of Mass, our priest and deacon (we didn’t see that coming in the 1960’s did we?) were actually joking with each other before leaving the altar. How different than the solemnity we experienced back then. That’s why I wanted to begin this blog. I really want to know and discuss what Catholic boomers are thinking. Thank you for adding this comment. Please add more whenever you want.

  2. After reading about confession and how different it is today versus when we were kids, made me thinking about times I had gone to confession. Going to confession was an uncomfortable thing for many of us. I would get so scared before I entered into what seemed like doom. A dark scary small room that you could only kneel in.

    All the school kids lined up on the side of the church waiting for our turn to go into the dreaded room. One person would leave and you were in line to go next.
    Wondering if I would be punished more if I had forgotten to mention something I had done wrong, my brain was thinking of all the sins I committed. With sweating palms and heart racing I was next and went in. Such darkness until you heard the sound of that sliding wood door. Then your eyes could see a bit better but only the silhouette of the priest.
    I start off by saying “Bless me father for I have sinned my last confession was a month ago.”
    I was in third grade at this time. I remember thinking that I was unsure of how long it had been since my last confession. Thoughts went through my brain as a young kid. Do I confess now that I may have just lied about when my last confession was, or just save that sin for next time? Or is it really a sin or just a innocent misunderstanding of time on my part. When I went home and asked my mom, she told me not to worry so much, to tell the priest that I could not remember exactly. I didn’t know you could change the script.

    Remembering another story, there was a time that I had went on a Saturday afternoon by myself. I cried coming out of the confessional. Others at church that looked at me as if to say, what just happened in there. I knelt down as most of us do to say our penance and quickly got up and left the church. I ran home crying. My mom was upset seeing me crying coming from confession. She asked what had happened. I said I told my sin that I was the most sorry for was fighting with my brothers and sisters. Then the priest gave me my penance, he told me to say a rosary for each of my brothers and sisters. My mom over ruled the priest and his penance. She said that he had no idea that I had 8 sisters and 5 brothers. She gave me the penance that time of saying 3 hail Mary’s and 3 Our Fathers for each one. I was so thankful and never used fighting with my brothers and sisters as my most sorrowful sin again.

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