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RC having a crisis of faith.

(23 Posts)
cherryberrymum Wed 08-Mar-17 21:45:03

I'm in my 40s. Was a practising Catholic up until 5 years ago when I moved away from my home town and didn't really find a new parish. I always thought I still had a strong faith.

I have two DC now and they are at RC school. I really am beginning to question the role of Priests and Clergy in my Faith. In light of the scandals around the church now and in the recent past I have a serious issue trusting any of them with my children. I don't know these priests and I don't want to teach my children that they are all good people just because they r Clergy! I want my children to be aware they are strangers too.

I'm having a crisis of faith about this issue. Can anyone help or provide reassurance?

Francks Wed 08-Mar-17 22:32:55

It doesn't sound like a crisis of faith to me. It sounds like you are very sensibly wanting to protect your children. There is no link in my mind between being wary about trusting strangers (priest or not), and doubting your faith, but perhaps I've misunderstood. Why do you think you are having a faith crisis rather than just a practical worry about how to ensure your DC are safe?

Rockpebblestone Wed 08-Mar-17 23:00:34

Well, they will now be subject to the same safeguarding rules everybody is who works with children. You have to remember that historically, when abuses were left unchallenged, safeguarding laws were nowhere near as rigorous.

Rockpebblestone Wed 08-Mar-17 23:05:25

And priests aren't immune from sin and wrongdoing, according to Christian belief. No one is. Why would you think that?

cherryberrymum Thu 09-Mar-17 00:36:54

I am Irish. I was brought up with this rule that priests and nuns etc were almost divine beings. They were held in such high esteem. They were pillars of the community and if the parish priest came to visit it was like a royal visit.

My sons school appears to impart the same importance on their parish priest. If he is coming to school they are all warned how important he is cos he's a priest. I don't want him being given that impression.

My crisis is that I don't want any dealings with these people. It makes me so so sad and angry to thing what has been done and covered up! I feel betrayed by them

shitgibbon Thu 09-Mar-17 00:38:22

Your faith is yours and separate from the actions of those who do things that are not in line with the teachings of your faith. I would encourage you to separate your issue with people from your feelings about God if keeping your faith is important to you.

Rockpebblestone Thu 09-Mar-17 07:34:37

Is your child happy at school? Is this something that is leading you to move your child to another school? Or do you think you can, gently, point out that no one is perfect and everyone does things wrong sometimes. People do not have to be perfect for them to be respected for performing a role or duties that are considered important / difficult.

Rockpebblestone Thu 09-Mar-17 07:43:27

Don't get me wrong, I do not say the above to minimise the awful cover ups that have happened. It was just to say that it is a good thing to teach that no one is above reproach because no one is perfect. You can do this whilst still showing respect (as in not being rude or unkind).

This is the same, really, regarding anyone in authority.

cherryberrymum Thu 09-Mar-17 08:01:00

Thank you for your replies. I suppose given I get up firstly in a Catholic Primary then a convent grammar school I find it difficult in my head to separate the Clergy from God. I have been praying recently and find myself wondering if there is any point because the priest isn't there to hear it.

Don't get me wrong! I know the priest isn't god! I guess from school I just physically equate the two. My son is happy in the school and I know from experience it is a good school and a caring school. He's coining to be doing his confession soon and I have an issue physically handing him to the priest. How do I get over this?

CSLewis Thu 09-Mar-17 08:07:12

Hi cherryberrymum, I'm sorry this is stressing you out.

Priests are normal people, just like you and me, and are no more or less likely to be perfect OR sinful than anybody else.

Having said that, you are right, they are 'strangers' to your child, and it's sensible to teach them safe ways of interacting with any adult they don't know - particularly those in positions of authority: teachers, doctors etc.

I think there's also a strong cultural element at play, in that you speak of your Irish up-bringing in which priests were treated as mini-deities. This is a tricky one: priests are fallible human beings like all of us; however, it is true that their role, as distinct from they themselves (Fr. Jack/Andrew/Robbie etc), is worthy of particular respect, because, for Roman Catholics, they represent Jesus Christ. This is why we treat the priestly role with particular respect.

Having said that, I'm sure you teach your children to respect their teachers, not because they're necessarily fabulous human beings, but because they have a particular role of authority in the community. So maybe that might be a helpful way to think about this, in a more general way.

CSLewis Thu 09-Mar-17 08:10:42

Sorry, you posted while I was still writing very slowly. Why don't you ask for a brief chat with the priest, and explain how you feel? I'm sure he'll do whatever he can to make you and your son feel comfortable for his First Confession.

cherryberrymum Thu 09-Mar-17 08:12:52

CSLewis. That's a good way of thinking about it. I'm embarrassed as a professional individual I have such difficulty separating the two God/priest. But yes thinking of them as teacher equivalent does help. The priest doesn't play as big a role in the school now as he did when I went there so I may be worrying about nothing.

I think the root of my problem was not separating the two so that's what I need to work on.

Thank you to all who replied. That's helped me get things a little straighter in my head.

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Thu 09-Mar-17 08:21:25

Please talk to the priest. You may find that he is of the old school and believes the publicity that says he is semi divine and can do no wrong. It is more likely that you will find a tired and overworked man who is doing the best he can, aware of his limited resources and leaning hard on God's grace. I'm C of E and don't come across many RC priests but the ones I have met have fallen into two distinct camps.

ollieplimsoles Thu 09-Mar-17 19:18:10

I'm sure you teach your children to respect their teachers, not because they're necessarily fabulous human beings, but because they have a particular role of authority in the community. So maybe that might be a helpful way to think about this, in a more general way.

With respect, I wholeheartedly disagree with this way of thinking when it comes to children.
I would never teach my child that a priest has a 'role of authority'
I understand you are RC op, but have you considered ironing out some of the more troubling things you were taught as a child as you bring up your own children?

This was very telling as well:

He's coining to be doing his confession soon and I have an issue physically handing him to the priest. How do I get over this?

How old is your son?

cherryberrymum Thu 09-Mar-17 21:25:52

Ollie he is 5. Our school Dona whole big display of mummy and daddy presenting their kids to the priest. I am having major difficulty with this part of it.

ollieplimsoles Thu 09-Mar-17 21:41:36

Absolutely no disrespect intended- o know this is your faith. But what does he have to 'confess' to at 5 years of age?

You can chose to iron out these traditions and take your children's religious education into your own hands more if it doesn't sit well with you. Perhaps you want to teach them differently about priests than you were told? Handing them over to a priest to confess sins at 5 seems a bit much, and doesn't sound like how you want them to associate with priests.

Is it a compulsory part of their school life?

cherryberrymum Fri 10-Mar-17 08:04:07

I don't think it's compulsory, he goes to a Catholic Primary because I do on the whole agree with their ethos and academically it's a fantastic school with a zero tolerance bullying policy so it's a peaceful caring environment and has a warm cosy feel about it. I imagine if I said I didn't want him doing the first confession he wouldn't have to but I'm not sure I'm ready to pull him altogether. I just ave an issue with how it's done.

ollieplimsoles Fri 10-Mar-17 08:29:41

I'm not sure I'm ready to pull him altogether. I just ave an issue with how it's done.
Thats fine I can understand that.

What about not 'handing him over' to the priest, maybe staying with him if its that you are worried about.

Or taking him to church for his first confession if you don't like the way the school does it?

MrsDoylesladder Fri 10-Mar-17 08:37:04

Are you in Ireland? I'm an Irish descent Catholic in England and the scenarios you are describing don't match with my experience if catholic education here? Convent school? Where is that in England in 2017? My older sister went to a convent secondary school in 70's but it was comprehensive by the time I went. Catholic secondary schools round our way aren't rammed with nuns and priests.
If you are in Ireland get this thread transferred to Craicnet.

MrsDoylesladder Fri 10-Mar-17 08:40:19

Confession for us was called Reconciliation. There was no "handing over". Each kid took turns for a private chat for a minute or two with the priest on the altar in full view of everyone. It was "be good for your mum and Dad/respect your teachers" sort of thing.

MrsDoylesladder Fri 10-Mar-17 08:44:20

We also had kids in the Reconciliation group that didn't go to dd's school so perhaps that is an option. Or don't do it. A handful of kids in dd's class are non- Catholic and don't have to receive the sacraments. Not aware of any ostracising or rubbish like that.

cherryberrymum Fri 10-Mar-17 09:57:16

MrsDoyle. My initial queasy was regarding priests and my religion. I assume u have Priests in England to!!! Am I to understand from your post that all Irish posts should be in Craicnet????? I posted in Philosophy/Religion as that is the relevant topic!!

MrsDoylesladder Fri 10-Mar-17 10:55:24

I just wondered if your concern about the excessive influence of priests might be better in craicnet. I don't much like them either as a cohort but have met some good individuals. Actually going to a new parish because we don't like the new priest at ours. Unfriendly and self serving.

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