The Disappointment of Catholicism
What Catholicism Used to Teach Me
When I was a child, my parents chose to raise me within the Catholic faith. I even attended a Catholic elementary school. It taught me many very good values, such as "saving yourself," or abstinence, until marriage, following the Ten Commandments, and to be generous rather than greedy, etc. Additionally, the pre cana (pre-marriage classes) proved to be beneficial, as they force young couples to talk about major subjects like family planning, financial planning, and compatibility, all before the couples continue to marriage. As a matter of fact, I have heard that although the divorce rate is high within the United States, it is much lower among couples who were married within the Catholic faith (although I do not have any exact statistics at the moment, so I will be researching to see if this is true). Although I had voluntarily continued to follow the Catholic faith through college, once I was an adult on my own, much of my respect for the religion diminished.
How we Struggled with Catholicism within our Marriage
Upon marriage, we were asked (by the priest) if either of us knew if we had any fertility problems. At the time, the answer was "no," and we were married. What many people in the world might not know is that some priests will not marry couples who answer "yes" to that question, but one subject that pre cana classes do NOT cover is that of what you will do if you find out there are fertility issues AFTER marriage. This is what happened to us.
As in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is technically against the Catholic religion, and I did not care to be "poked and prodded," I wanted to adopt, but my husband felt differently. He desperately wanted to have a biological child. As I had had a positive view of adoption for my entire life, my husband had known people who had an adoption go awry. We both wanted children, so we were at an impasse for our future as a married couple. I was not only struggling with my faith, but also the thought of the possibility of not being able to be a mom. I did not want to spend thousands of dollars on IVF procedures, to possibly end up with no child, or not being able to financially support one, but my husband wanted to do everything possible to attempt having a biological child. This was one of the most difficult times in our marriage.
After much research about IVF, and multiple lengthy conversations with my husband, I agreed to attempt IVF, but before we began the procedures, I made him promise that if the procedures did not work (after a few tries), that we could begin the adoption process. He agreed, and after throughout three attempts at IVF, we suffered two miscarriages, and were left with mounds of debt. We began the adoption process soon after that, but that is for another hub.
The Truth about Catholicism
IVF is an example of how I have struggled with my faith within my marriage, but my husband and I have both also struggled with the Catholic faith individually. It is a shame that this religion that once was my heart and soul has now made a negative name for itself, while we hear more and more about priests being arrested for child molestation, and the Catholic schools paying extremely low salaries to their teachers. It is also a shame that there are some very respectable priests among the religion, who do not even feel right to babysit their own nieces and nephews, because they are afraid that people will mistake them for the child molesting priests. That is terribly sad. There are also many extremely hardworking teachers within Catholic schools, who are unappreciated and underpaid, even though the Catholic religion is one of the richest organizations in the world.
How my Husband Discovered the Truth about Catholicism
When my husband was in elementary school, and also being raised within the Catholic faith, not ONE, but TWO different churches in his area had priests that were discovered (and arrested) as child molesters. One of these two churches was the parish where he had been attending school. Although he was never molested, peers of his were, and this affected his parents' belief in the religion (at the time), as well as his feelings toward the religion, now as an adult. At the time that these particular priests were discovered, my husband's parents chose to put him in public school, where he remained throughout the rest of elementary school, middle school, and high school.
Unfortunately, my husband learned about these terrible priests being part of the Catholic religion at a very young age. It has now truly affected him as an adult, especially within our marriage (as I was also raised Catholic, but had positive views of the religion, until marriage), however, the other "detractor" from the religion, for him, was that practically every time I was able to persuade him to go to church services, there would be parts of the service that the church pleaded for, asked for, and made it clear that it was expected for you to donate your money, and I have heard these words many times at church, "to please be as generous as possible." It is when we hear these words, that we decide not to donate money (also, many people may not realize, which I have heard from lawyers, much of the money for their lawyer fees comes from church donations; that is something for which I, nor my husband, am/is not willing to pay any amount).
How I Discovered the Truth about "my" Faith
As if discovering our infertility, and the fact that IVF is against the Catholic religion, was not difficult enough, I have been a teacher in the state of Pennsylvania for about 15 years. If you know anything about the education profession in PA, you know that public school teaching jobs are EXTREMELY competitive, and getting one usually means you know someone. Therefore, many of the Catholic teachers (and very few non-Catholics) divert to the Catholic schools in the area (at least in my region, because there are MANY Catholic schools). At this point, I have worked as a teacher in Catholic schools and within Intermediate units (which place you in various public school districts to teach your specialized subject, such as English as a Second Language) in the state of Pennsylvania, but my only experience working directly for a public school, as a teacher (I had other jobs within public schools in PA) was in Virginia (it is much easier to get a teaching job there). Out of all of teaching experience combined, I found that it was the Catholic teaching jobs that were the worst.
One big "eye opener," or something that became apparent, for me, was that Catholic schools do not treat their teachers well, and they highly underpay their teachers. Additionally, resources for the Catholic schools are lacking, even though the Catholic church organization is one of the richest organizations in the world.
Realization Number One: I was better off substitute teaching at a public school than working part-time as a regular teacher at a Catholic school.
When I was employed as a part-time teacher, I was driving 55 minutes to/from work each way, and I had absolutely no benefits. Around the same time, Pennsylvania imposed a law that if you substitute teach in a public school district, you could contribute to PSERS, which is retirement. Therefore, I was better off substitute teaching within a public school, rather than working part-time at this Catholic school. After the gas cost was calculated into the low pay, I was probably making the same as a substitute teacher at a public school district (in western PA, substitute teachers only make about $75-100 per day, depending on the district). Additionally, at my school, I was dealing with a "trouble-making" teacher, who was skilled at manipulation, and making up lies about me. Furthermore, it is the Catholic schools who do not provide resources for their teachers, so teachers frequently spend a lot of their low salaries on resources for their students, and administrators and other teachers are still asking you for money every week (whether it is for charity, a co-worker's birthday, or some other event), but if you were like me, working part-time, if you contributed every time someone asked, you probably would not be making ANY money.
Realization Number Two: Catholic schools create positions that are loaded with too many subjects, so they are able to save money, and overwork these teachers. These positions are not worth your time, as they are low paying, and if your administrator is one who does not support the teachers, or have any discipline imposed, then GET OUT NOW! If you believe in yourself, you are a hard worker, and a good person/teacher, you can find something better!
Realization Number Three: Your donation money could possibly be contributed to the lawyer fees of the priests who have been brought up on charges of things such as child molestation. Do you know where your money is truly going? It does not seem to be going to the schools.
My Decision about "my" Faith
My decision about "my faith," or, the faith that was chosen for me, is that I am ready for a change, and I think my family is too. We still believe it God, and we still intend to pray and worship, but we will be seeking a new denomination of Christianity, and when we find the church that feels right for us, as a family, then, we will consider converting our religion. In the U.S., there is a right for all citizens to have "the freedom of religion," but now it is a matter of choosing the right one for us.
What do you believe about the Catholic religion?
© 2016 LouiseTeach