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.