I Must Be A Terrible Catholic

As I arrived home today I mentally checked off the items on my daily “to do” list. I entered the house and sat down with my six year old to help him with his homework and to supervise him while he completed it. This is part of our afternoon ritual and I relish in the moment as I get to spend time and interact with my son whom I miss terribly while I am at work.
His teacher sends home a weekly homework assignment sheet and, as I was looking over it, I realized that she stated “remember to go to church on Sunday” at the bottom of the page. Now, before you all work yourselves up about the whole separation of church and state thing, it is important that I mention that my son attends a parochial school so these kinds of “reminders” come with the territory. However, I wasn’t prepared to answer my son when he proceeded to ask me why we don’t attend church every Sunday.
Just to give you a little background, I was raised by very strict Catholic Grandparents in a predominantly Catholic country, Spain. Additionally, I, like my son, attended parochial school and made all my Sacraments. This is why I don’t believe that going to church is necessary in order to have a personal relationship with God. I have had the distinct privilege of witnessing, first hand, how Sunday service is used as an opportunity to drum up money for the church. Many years ago, I even recall the priest asking parishioners to give a minimum of five dollars to the collection. How dare they impose a minimum donation on anyone when some people struggle daily just to stay afloat financially?
I am not an overly religious person but I do believe in God and that is why I chose to send my children to parochial school, so they could have that spiritual foundation. It was also because I am a public school teacher and, unfortunately, am privy to certain aspects of a public school education that I do not want to expose my children to. Overall, I am happy with the education that my son is receiving but I am also apprehensive that he is being made to think that attending church on Sunday is a prerequisite to obtaining eternal salvation.
So I came up with the very best answer for him that I could possibly think of…I responded that God is all around us and that it is not necessary for us to go to church in order to speak to Him. My son kind of shrugged and seemed content with my explanation. I’m sure he does not completely understand because this is a concept that is abstract and difficult to understand. To hear the church tell it, I am remiss in my duties as a Catholic. Ask me if I care? At the end of the day none of us really know what lies ahead for us in the afterlife and, if I am headed towards the “hot zone” I can guarantee you that there will many others coming with me. I know some who will probably go to hell with an EZ Pass so I am not too worried.

© 2009, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. Celebrating Mass on Sundays has given us back peace of mind. I know this might sound strange, but your giving will make you rich. Even when it is very hard, been there and did this) give something … a penny, some of your time … but by giving an hour and sharing this important time with your child is a touching and memorable gift. I will pray things improve for you and you can once more connect back to these roots. Being a Catholic, you and I, we are all of us connected. Things will get easier and you will be greatly prospered. I just feel it.

    Believe me, I seldom talk about my deepest feelings but for some reason, your words pulled this response from me. I only pray you will accept my words in the kind and caring manner they are given. Thanks for listening and May God bless you and your family with all good things.

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words, I greatly appreciate it. I love to give, however, I feel bad for those who give what they can from their hearts and are made to feel like they have not contributed enough. That has always seemed so ungrateful to me.

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