How Religion Affects Social Life - Religion and Culture
Religion and culture expectation
The pressures of socialization and culture expectation held me to stay in a religion which I never understand. But in the end, I finally realized that if I don’t do anything, the cycle can never be stopped.
I grew up in a Catholic country. My family is Catholic, all from my grandparents down to my brother and sisters. We were Catholic ever since we were born. It is already marked in our head. Ever since we were just conceived my parents are already planning my baptism. We are usually baptized at the age of two months so that we will become a true Catholic. Now, is it fair to people that you changed their lives upon being born and mold them like you are bending an iron? Every Sunday we go to church without fail, my family will always go together, even if I am sick or one of us is sick, it doesn’t matter we just need to go, just like the other family and friends of us, we just need to go there, at the chapel to hear the service which I cannot understand because half of it is Latin and the other half portion of it is English.
It is our obligation to attend mass, my mother will always say that. And she is attributing my bad attitude due to my failure to concentrate on the church. I always get pinched when I am there. I always anticipate going to church only just because after church my mother will buy me a popcorn and balloon. There are many people selling stuff outside the church, and it is a big business, as you might see.
But when I reached the age of seven, I don’t like to go there anymore because I am bored, I cant even understand what the priest is saying, I memorized the response but nobody will explain it to me. I know all the songs, how can I not know my sister and brother sings in the choir, and my brother would play the guitar. My mother list my name in the choir but I don’t like to go, I will run away and go to my cousins house every time there is a practice. My mother will be busy attending to our store and she doesn’t know what I am doing anyway, she will just know it when she goes to talk to the priest on Saturday afternoon, and I know she will scold me again. We usually kiss the priests hand after the mass, so if the priest doesn’t see me he will report that to my mother. My mother and the priest are friends, they play mah-jong (Asian poker) together on Saturday afternoon in the house. Of course my mother also gives a lot of money to the church too as contribution.
Until I was nine years old, my mother will always drop by the church, not every Saturday but every other day this time. She will bring flowers, pray the rosary for an hour and then talked to the priest always. She said she needed to pray more because we need the money to go to private school and for my father who is always out of the house and drinking coconut wine. She said she was sure my father was seeing another woman in another village. I wasn’t listening to her because I cant believe what she is saying, sometimes she becomes paranoid. I am more close to my father than my mother because she always nags my father and sometimes I don’t like her nagging me and telling me things I cant do and she is always checking on me. At a young age I became rebellious already. I kept on asking myself maybe the reason why my father is always out and drinking is because she is always praying and going to the church. I know that my mother always pushes things and spend so much time in the church and not helping me with my studies that is why I resent her. My father will read to us and spend his time with us, but my mother is always outside organizing small prayer session and busy praying the rosary.
I was thirteen when I was forced to go to private school run by nuns. My mother will not listen anyway so I just needed to attend there. Since I graduated on top of my class in my elementary years, I am free of tuition fee in high school. My sister is also studying there so we go home together but we need to stay a little bit further one hour later because we need to attend to church activities. Our priest is an Irish man (exchange priest from other country) and I cant barely understand him, so what’s the use of hearing the mass. So at times I just play volleyball with other students and wait for my sister after the mass, she also sings in the church in high school. When we go home I always tell her not to tell my mother that I didn’t attend the church again. My mother later found out I am not attending chapel service again because my notebook with attendance is blank. And one time during Parents-Teachers meeting my mother found out that I am not really attending one of my class, Religion. I cant even memorize the Rosary. I have lots of questions unanswered and I cant do my homework anymore, I gotta flunk the subject anyway because I am not attending church service too. In short, I was kicked out of the Catholic school and I was back to public schooling. I have a sigh of relief because now I can wear mini skirt. I slowly became the family’s black sheep, because I always question things and I don’t want to join them in any rituals they are doing, I am just tired of attending church service so my mother cant do anything. And they think that I am possessed of the demons.
So when I was in college, I am happy because finally I will be free of church activities, I went to the city and study. My mother will always write me a letter and ask me if I still go to church. I just say yes so that she will not worry anymore. I became more heretic when I study in the university. At times, my aunties and some relatives will check on me at the University and they just let me be on my own, because they cant do anything. I have since become a heretic to them and the outcast of the family.
Not until when I got married and my parents chose the man I am going to marry, and we got married in Catholic church, what can I do, I will be forever outcast if I don’t listen to them. That’s my regret I could have done something, not when they believe that I am pregnant and I am not virgin anymore, I will fail my father too. My parents and in-laws paid for the wedding. My children became Catholic just after they were born too. I cant do anything, they will become outcast if I don’t baptize them to be Catholics. And I was thinking, the cycle begins again. The social pressures I cant take anymore and I didn’t have a good marriage. What can I expect? My ex-husband is womanizing just like any other man I see (except my father, or so I know). After seven years of being like in a prison, I finally got annulment of marriage, my mother wouldn’t talk to me anymore. She said why cant I just tolerate what my husband is doing, at least he still goes home to the house. My children are forever outcast without a full family, and in my society it is the fault of the woman if the family is not intact. It is again my fault, and this time I think I finally did the right thing. That was eight years ago and I know I did the right thing then.