The Good News

The Good News

Dear Friend in Christ Michele,
I believe that the Church warped my mind. I distinctly remember my first anxiety attack occurred when considering what had been inculcated in my mind by the Church: I could not divest my mind from the belief that I was a sinner doomed to spend eternity is excruciating torment, an image so expertly and vividly crafted by Catholic priests.

This ordeal, and two years in a Catholic High School I detested, has caused me to have a cynical view of the Church. For me, the Church was not a source of peace and comfort, but rather it was source of mental pain and suffering.

What am I supposed to do now?

God’s Blessings,
Damaged by the Church

Dear Damaged,

I am so sorry that you were taught a one-sided view of the afterlife, and likely many other aspects of the Catholic Church. Yes, we are all sinners. But the other half of the story is the Good News of the Gospel: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the Cross as payment for our sin, and three days later was raised from the dead, so we may also be raised. Our salvation is offered through the grace of God, so that we may not be doomed to spend eternity in excruciating torment. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sin and our invitation into life everlasting. We understand good works to be the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who have the blessed hope of redemption.

Ok, enough of the short theology lesson. I do not know how you can remain a member of a church when you feel cynicism towards it? And I’m not totally sure why you would want to date someone on a Catholic Dating Website …unless you know in your heart that although you were harmed by the Church, the Church itself is based on truth and love. Priests, religious, lay…all of us all fallen. All make mistakes. It sounds like your job is to forgive what was done to you and learn about the life and ministry of Christ and his Church, and to not lean on the understanding you had as a child.

If you were hoping to date someone who is Catholic so you can find sympathy for your story, I would imagine in the end you may find sympathy but have a hard time finding a partner. If you want to keep faith as a part of your life, then I would suggest working through your difficult experiences with someone who can be a mentor and counselor. I know that God is very saddened by what happened to you, and He is waiting for you to follow the path back to Him. You may consider approaching your local parish for resources, looking for a good Bible Study, finding a spiritual advisor, attending classes for people considering becoming Catholic, or spending time in prayer asking the Lord to show you what He has in store for you.

Again, I am so sorry that your spiritual life was misdirected at such an early age. But now, you have the choice to release the damage and step into healing that is only offered through the person and presence of Jesus Christ.

God Bless,

Michele Fleming, M.A.