The Examination of Conscience: Anticatholic Guilt

I have been Catholic for several years now, and I’ve begun to have some guilt. This isn’t the ordinary “catholic guilt” that is highly reputed throughout popular culture.  I have anticatholic guilt.

You see, I’m a convert to Catholicism from Protestantism, but a form of Protestantism that is full of anticatholic sentiment.  You know, the kind of protestant that doubts many Catholics are saved; the kind of protestant that thinks that if any Catholics are saved it is only by being unfaithful to Catholic teaching.  So as a faithful anticatholic, I contributed my fair share to Catholics leaving the church for protestantism.

Here is an example of the behavior I engaged in.  I was in a band for much of my college life.  One of my band mates was a fallen away catholic and, around easter one year, he began expressing desire to go back to the Catholic Church during the Easter season.  I inquired as to why, hoping to lead him in a Socratic way away from this decision that I thought worse than attending no church service.  He said that he just thought he would really like to engage in the sacrament of reconciliation.  I said something dismissive, again trying to manipulate.  He then seemingly dismissed the issue.  I don’t know if my friend has ever come back to the Catholic Church.

There are a number of cases like this where I subtly tried to influence people away from a religion that I ultimately didn’t understand.

This all results in what I call anticatholic guilt.  I’m deeply troubled by the prejudicial and irrational behavior of my youth in this regard.  I have discussed this in confession, but I can’t shake the feeling that there is some deep trouble in the world for which I cannot  make reparation.  That is, I’m not sure there’s any way for me to make this up to the people I’ve wronged in this way, and this deeply troubles me.

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Peace be with you.
-JS