Catholicism, and growing up with it.

Rhodesia.

Rhodesia.

Catholicism and growing up with it, simply means that I was, still am, a Catholic, brought up with two staunch Catholic parents. My Mother was the type of person who loved nothing better than going down to a Catholic Church and praying there. She got great comfort and peace out of this. She was of course Irish as well straight from the bogs so to speak. We were also lucky in that a few kilometers down the road from our farm in the rural area of Selous in the then Rhodesia, was a Catholic Mission, run by German nuns and an Irish priest. They had a school there, ostensibly for coloured people or what we as whites referred to as ‘goffels’. More on that later. It stands to reason therefore, that in my childhood days I was a good little Catholic lad. After all who believes more than little children. Jesus said once, “suffer unto me the little children.” Did he not?

Rhodesia was of course a Protestant country who agreed with freedom of religion. What this meant is, that Catholics were a minority. At both junior and senior school it was the same for me. At junior school we were however allowed to use the Anglican chapel at the school once a month and a visiting priest did the service. We had many Catholics in the area made up of three Riley clans ( all Brothers), and a boatload of children. Then there was the Skea’s, one family but also a boatload of children. To this day, I remain friends with all of them. At senior school a service was held for us in the school library once a month. A visiting priest from the Tegwani Mission (black) did the service , and in my time there was an American who looked like he had come straight from Woodstock, far out man. The older people coming from the out lying areas, detested him, but we as young teens thought he was ‘cool man’.

Now over the ensuing years one is growing up and we were a country now at war (an internal) one. Certain black leaders were encouraging disenchanted young black people to join their revolutionary armies. Somewhere about this time I began to question religion and all that I had been taught prior to this. Actually it began earlier visiting the mission church back home. They had a coloured man who was their groundsman and he always used to sit with us and his family too. Every Xmas my mother made a great show of giving them presents (toys), our old ones which we no longer wanted. Then one year (about 14 years old), I exploded and said to her, “maybe they would appreciate something new for once Mum, even if it’s only a tin of biscuits”? Bye gum, this was blasphemy of the highest order and my Mum was furious and I mean furious with me. How dare I?

The top Catholic or Nuncio in our country at this time was Bishop Lamont. I do understand that priests have a very hard role to play, caught in the middle so to speak, but this priest was something else. No matter what atrocity the terrorists committed he sided with them and always was derogatory about our forces and country. True to form when the terrorists attacked the Elim Catholic mission, raped the nuns and murdered them all and the children, there was silence from Bishop Lamont and it was a, ‘deafening’ one. How could this be? My take on the Catholic church was being seriously questioned. Now my brother was a couple of years older than me and one day in the mission church when the ‘kitty’ came around neither my brother or I put anything in it. Ever sharp eyed my mother noticed it and questioned us on this in the car going back home. I never forgot my brother’s reply and I agreed wholeheartedly with him. “What for, so they can buy the gooks (terrorists) more AK47’s”? You also must understand that some of the people we went to senior school with had already been killed in this useless war. Noel Ridge and John Forbes spring to mind. Eventually it became so bad that our leader, Ian Douglas Smith, deported Bishop Lamont, him not being a citizen. I always remember thinking too little too late? But it had put me off the Catholic Church and Catholicism forever and a day. So religion was pushed into the back seat for me, not that I didn’t believe anymore, just, I was now sceptical, and, still am.

There are of course good priests too. Father O’Donovan our priest down at the mission being one of them. To this day he had the most beautiful speaking voice I have ever heard. At 18 years of age whilst doing National Service I had become deathly ill and when recovered was left profoundly deafened. My mother true to form was doing everything she knew how to try and get it back for me. Religion being at the forefront of all this and who can take offence at that? So here I was at the mission again getting confirmation instruction or something (I forget now). Father O’Donovan was the priest in charge. Now there was another older person also there, a young woman, wearing a really short mini-skirt. When she went to sit down I’m not ashamed to say, that I was having a good old peep. I then looked up straight into the dear old fathers (O’Donovan’s) eyes. Blimey, never, and I mean never have I been so embarrassed, turning about fifty shades of pink. Father O’Donovan smiled and gave me a broad wink. Who wouldn’t like a priest like that? Next up was Father Gough apparently a real hood in his formative stages. This came about as I was about to get married but my wife being an Anglican had to go for instruction before they would allow this. Her very apt, “you bloody Catholics, who the hell do you think you are”? So I told Father Gough I was only doing this to please my Mother so the faster he got it over with the better. Was a very nice priest and got me to think about many things.

Which leads us to the essence of this post. I’m battling to regain a spiritual awareness and would really like to achieve this, so am ending with a question which no one has been able to answer for me yet. It says in the Bible, “you, Simon Peter, you are my rock and upon this rock I will build my Church.” Notwithstanding that before the crock crows you will have denied me thrice. Not a great edifice to build on?

The question is. Which Church was this?

 

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About spookmoor

I'm a 61 year old happily married man with three grown up children. I lost all my hearing as an eighteen year old whilst doing National Service and then had a Cochlear Ear Implant twenty years later. I love trying to explain these things to people and bits about my life. I never thought so at the time, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Thus one gets Random ramblings from a man who has seen a lot with a touch of humour underlying all.
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28 Responses to Catholicism, and growing up with it.

  1. Tess Bold says:

    Thank you once again Spook for an interesting read….I to was brought up Catholic….but left it when I was 25…..the church to me ….is truth. Its not one particular church. It’s the truth of the scriptures.

  2. msasa13 says:

    If you think about building the church on the Papacy, it can only be a mistake. Men are fallible, and there have been some incredibly notoriously bad Popes, not to mention rival ones a few times! There have also been some disastrous campaigns, Spanish Inquisition for one. Martin Luther objected to the sale of indulgences, which go entirely against New Testament teaching. So Christianity as demonstrated by the Catholic Church has many flaws. The foundation of the Anglican Church is pretty dodgy too. I cannot think of one ‘Church’ which truly reflects Jesus’ teaching in its entirety. And some churches professing Christianity are downright dangerous.

    So where are we to go? Read the message and try to live it, remembering that there is more material hidden from us than revealed in the New Testament. The core values will always be shaded by whoever is interpreting them, as in a sermon or homily. It’s up to the individual to think, ask for guidance, and then decide where their truth lies.

    Gosh, I have rabbited on! As you observed, their are priests and priests, good bad and indifferent. I suppose our views are really coloured by those we have met. Keep questioning!

  3. Dallas Williams says:

    Aye, my friend Spook you have written a good article. You last line is where my dear Catholic friends have taken a part of scripture out of context. That being “you, Simon Peter, you are my rock and upon this rock I will build my Church.”. Unfortunately too many have left out the earlier part of the conversation which goes something like this, close but not the original Greek, Matt:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

    16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

    17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Now if one goes to the Greek you will find that it is the truth that Peter spoke that the church would be built upon, not upon Peter. As the scripture shows in both the English and Greek Peter was a mere disciple who had received a special dispensation(knowledge) from the Heavenly Father as to the truth who Jesus was, the Christ, the Son of the Living God . Now upon that truth is what the church was to be built, not upon a man who like all of us have our shortcomings and indeed Peter had his share with his denial of the one who he has just a few hours early proclaimed to be the Christ. Another way of testing this is the fact that there are no commas in the Greek so it would show that it was the truth that Peter proclaimed that the church was to be built on. The church itself has been so corrupted by man that it is not recognizable as the one of the 1st Century. Man made doctrines and man made traditions have corrupted the truth of the scripture. Now I leave you with this thought my dear friend and again, a great post!.

    • spookmoor says:

      It’s very hard to distinguish Dallas but thank you for your visit and comment. You Simon Peter you are my rock and upon this rock I will build my Church. For it is the truth that the church will be built upon? You have given me a lot to think about but right now can’t get my head around it.

      • Dallas Williams says:

        Be sure to read the Vs 15 that goes with that statement, it helps to understand what Jesus was saying. Not a professor but have studied for many years using the Greek and Hebrew as well as trying to find any thing in Aramaic which was the common language of those living in that area during Jesus time. The government workings were conducted in Greek even though the Romans were the government at that time. The Jewish priest of course spoke and wrote in Hebrew which is what the old testament is written in. I have used the Lexicons which give the Greek/English side by side as well as the Hebrew for the old testament. Take your time and study and think.

      • spookmoor says:

        Will try to and once again many thanks.

  4. Lawrence Kirstein says:

    Yo! Chispoko! Here is a quote;Let’s imagine that a king made a decree in his land that there would be a blanket pardon extended to all prostitutes. Would that be good news to you if you were a prostitute? Of course it would. No longer would you have to live in hiding, fearing the sheriff. No longer would you have a criminal record; all past offenses are wiped off the books. So the pardon would definitely be good news. But would it be any motivation at all for you to change your life style? No, not a bit. But let’s go a little further without illustration. Let’s say that not only is a blanket pardon extended all who have practiced prostitution, but the king has asked you, in particular, to become his bride. What happens when a prostitute marries a king? She becomes a queen. Now would you have a reason for a change of lifestyle? Absolutely. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the lifestyle of the queen is several levels superior to that of a prostitute. No woman in her right mind would go back to the previous life.

    As long as half-gospel continues to be taught, we’re going to continue producing Christians who are very thankful that they will not be judged for their sins, but who have no significant self-motivation to change their behavior. That’s why so many leaders have to use the hammer of the law and suffocating peer pressure to keep people in line. But what is the church called in the New Testament? The bride of Christ! The gospel message is in effect a marriage proposal.
    Bob_George Bob George

    Classic Christianity , Harvest House, 1989, 72-3.Let’s imagine that a king made a decree in his land that there would be a blanket pardon extended to all prostitutes. Would that be good news to you if you were a prostitute? Of course it would. No longer would you have to live in hiding, fearing the sheriff. No longer would you have a criminal record; all past offenses are wiped off the books. So the pardon would definitely be good news. But would it be any motivation at all for you to change your life style? No, not a bit. But let’s go a little further without illustration. Let’s say that not only is a blanket pardon extended all who have practiced prostitution, but the king has asked you, in particular, to become his bride. What happens when a prostitute marries a king? She becomes a queen. Now would you have a reason for a change of lifestyle? Absolutely. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the lifestyle of the queen is several levels superior to that of a prostitute. No woman in her right mind would go back to the previous life.

    As long as half-gospel continues to be taught, we’re going to continue producing Christians who are very thankful that they will not be judged for their sins, but who have no significant self-motivation to change their behavior. That’s why so many leaders have to use the hammer of the law and suffocating peer pressure to keep people in line. But what is the church called in the New Testament? The bride of Christ! The gospel message is in effect a marriage proposal.
    Bob_George Bob George

    Classic Christianity , Harvest House,
    So Chispoko, Christianity has never been about a denomination, but the Gospel of the kingdom, which Jesus preached about. The passage you quoted was where Jesus asked His disciple who they think He (Jesus) is and Peter answered; Mat16:16,17,18″Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, ” Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”~ The context of the passage is, “Who is Jesus” Peter gets it right and Jesus says, on this revelation; “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus will build His church, not on a man, “Peter”. Jesus never went on from there to pray in the name of Peter, or Mary, or John. It’s all about our Savior, Jesus Christ. Hope this helps, shamwari.

  5. Louise says:

    I too married into the Catholics….my in-laws both devout Irish Catholics…one from Balley Bay and one from Donegal. I also had to do the conversion thing to make the in-laws happy, plus got married in Sby cathedral for them……..my family were not religious at all. Over the years, I have come to despise ”religion” and people who practice religion. There aren’t many of them that I would call Christians. But, even though in my youth I queried the existence of God, Jesus and all the bible stuff, I do now believe that there is a God and I do believe in Christ. I also like the quote (maybe misquoted by me…I don’t read the bible often)…”’where two or more are gathered in my name, I shall be there”. My parents ran the Halfway House at Gwanda many years ago in the 50s and Father Odilo was a frequent guest and patron of the bar! He told my mom that it was ok not to go to church….God was everywhere, including the loo…….and she should feel free to communicate with him there and he would hear! That’s the right attitude! I don’t think the Catholic religion is worse than any other religion…..and don’t scream and yell because of course I know all about the abuse of the boys by the priests……and those rotten sods should be made to paid for their sins, by a long and nasty stretch in prison…but the Catholic religion as opposed to other religions, not the people who run the shows!…How about all the cults that have made their followers do dreadful things and commit suicide? And the Baptist missionary who scared my 4 year old son to death by telling him that when we die we are no more and that we will not be his family in Heaven? He was seriously disturbed by that thought. They are all wrong and should not be followed blindly.No-one needs wicked humans to show them the way……..we can find what we are looking for if we seek it ourselves.

  6. davidac@tampabay.rr.com says:

    Ah. Found it. I have little time or respect for “organized” religions. I respect that some people need the structure and in some aspects I accept that the element of “community” is important. I particularly abhor the Catholic Church. Apart from the financial aspect, I find them to be more a cult than a religion. Now if Jesus was this person the church makes him out to be, why was he sexist? In my tiny mind, men and women are equal but in the catholic church they have only moved on step past chattel. I mean, doesn’t the bible tell us we are all equal. Did I read this wrong? Are all MEN equal but with women….. that is another matter??

    I get the old testament. Setting up the story but the new testament. Please!!!!! If you take what you read literally…. you lose!! The entire New Testament is a “How to”. I see it this way. If I want my soul to live in peace and tranquility after I have stumbled kicking and screaming from this mortal coil… I better be damn sure I have nothing to regret because, when I am gone, I can’t lie to my soul. I see everything I have done in my life including stealing that Fish from the corner store when I was seven.

    So, what it comes down to in my opinion, is living my life is a manner that my soul will have peace (well relative peace, anyway). You know what, I learned the kernel of this core belief from the Anglican Church but I would not attend today because I think they have gone too f
    ar to appease the political correctness that is the scourge of our society today.

  7. My father is Irish and insisted we were raised as Catholics – that all changed when my mother died as he decided to remarry a divorcee and our parish priest refused to marry them saying they would be living in sin. When he went ahead and married her anyway he was told he could no longer have communion and they would not bury him when he died. Shortly afterwards the parish priest ran off with a nun. The hypocrisy compounded by Bishop Lamont’s stance when so many of my friends had been killed in the bush war made me question religion and I realised most are human constructions, administered by humans who enjoy the power of determining other people’s lives. There were a few good priests who stuck to the fundamentals of humanity whose lessons and principles I still remember. I am not a practising Catholic but when my life hits a bump “Hail Marys” become my litany and immediately calm me down and help me focus.

  8. John Munro says:

    Spook, I thought I was the only one with those same doubts and thoughts ! Pleased I am not alone. I recall being denied the ability to partake in the blood and body of Christ in a Catholic Church as I was an Anglican !! Wow, what a wake up call to where we are all supposedly headed irrespective of creed, colour or religeous beliefs.

  9. Craig says:

    Religion (knowing about God) and Christianity (Knowing God) are so very different Spook. Seek and you WILL find…… Keep up the writings shamwari!

  10. Gomer Pyle says:

    Pure Protestant with (in hindsight) shades of Catholicism – were my roots. Will have to mull this over and return to add my five cents worth – in the cool of the day when the head is clear and thoughts are flowing freely …. whilst scratching this lot, there may be a few fleas that are disturbed ….. Good stuff for a discussion ….

  11. Iris Papadopoulo says:

    church/ekklisia/synagogue …just words that mean “a place to gather”.
    God is out there, in you and all around you.
    Don’t label your beliefs. Find your own path that will lead you to spiritual peace.

  12. tester dot test says:

    My cuz lobbed a grenade into the head of the catholic commission for peace and justice. Was “offed” by SB for his troubles

  13. tester dot test says:

    There is no church worth squat. I was raised catholic and now happily atheist. The great thing with being a catholic; be as big a twat as you like as long as you confess/repent all before you toddle off. Not much incentive to be nice is it. I seem to remeber a Fr Gough from my youth – where was he located ?

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