Catholic Religion: Rituals and Role Models and my Own Way

by Bernadette Curtin, Australia

Last week I attended a presentation by Serge Benhayon where he and a linguist discussed the ancient and original meaning of the word “religion”. The latin root is religio, devotion for oneself and everything, and religare, to rebind or reconnect – our connection to God.

With Christianity, the meaning changed to define an organised body; it became something outside to connect to rather than to connect to one’s inner self. And it went from being to doing.

It felt very beautiful to return to the original meaning, it felt harmonious and true, to work on oneself with diligence and love for self and all others.

Recently I have been reflecting on how I, even as a grown woman, have been affected by a childhood indoctrination into the catholic religion.

What does being “good” really mean? And “obedient”?

What were the ideals and beliefs taught to me by religious authorities and my parents?

What were the role models and rituals I was given as a child that cemented beliefs and ideals, and a certain way of living and doing in my adult life?

The role models I remember being taught or shown were rather limited for women: there were martyrs, who endured torture and suffering for defending their faith; there was the Virgin Mary and the prostitute Mary Magdalen, whom Jesus befriended. The martyr and the prostitute were not really an option to my young mind, and the virgin was beyond the realms of possibility.

What about in real life? Well, there were no women priests or bishops or popes, so what was wrong with women and why were they somehow lesser? It was very confusing since somewhere in the teaching there was the idea that God loved everybody equally.

The rituals that further cemented a child into the catholic religion were baptism, confession or penance, and confirmation.

We were told that baptism was necessary as all new-born babies are born sinful, with a stain on their heart, and they needed to be cleansed.

Confession was a frightening ordeal: I remember feeling sick and frightened when I had to make my first confession, which is when you go into a black box and confess what wrong you have done to a priest who sits behind a screen. Sometimes I made up a list of sins as I didn’t really know what to say! I gradually developed a suitable list.

Confirmation involved the bishop placing a seal on your forehead to confirm your commitment to God by following the catholic religion.

All these rituals confirmed to me that I was not a worthy person, that I was born quite unacceptable to God and that I must work very, very hard at being “good” in order to get to Heaven when I died, which could happen any day.

I see now, how even though I have not been investing time and money and energy into being a good catholic woman, the ideals and beliefs have caused me to drive myself to “get it right” and “be good”.

But what if I can simply allow myself to be the true me?

What if I already know in my innermost heart what love is and I just return to being that?

This feels like a path worth following – my own way.

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323 thoughts on “Catholic Religion: Rituals and Role Models and my Own Way

  1. I find the Catholic Church very hypocritical, they want you to be ‘good’, and confess your sins, and yet many clergymen/priests have been paedophiles, so living a life of pure evil! These paedophlies, once caught, were forgiven, and moved on to again rape and molest children in another area, shame on you Catholic Church, what are you reflecting to the world?

  2. Thanks Bernadette as so many words have been taken away from there root meaning so that we are now starting to understand the true energetic state of any word and how vital it is to understand truly what a word is sharing so we can evolve.

  3. If we live a lie we need others to also adopt the lie or crush them. The truth doesn’t do that, it just is and lets others be. This is how I see religion now and how to work out which is true or not.

  4. When we are compelled to conform to dogma and the rules and regulations of others it is the polar opposite of the freedom to connect to truth in the stillness of your inner-heart.

  5. The consciousness of the Catholic Church has spread far beyond the religion itself as it has seeped into the fabric of our society. For example we all still experience guilt and shame, right and wrong, feelings of not being good enough and that sex or making love is somehow a little impure…

  6. Doug it’s amazing how we will all get behind something that doesn’t truly work, yet dismiss in full the message of simplicity, love and brotherhood of teachers like Jesus.

  7. Imagine if the soul took over the running of the Catholic Church – the confession box would become an appreciation box, the priest would reflect the truth we all are as divine souls, and confirm the equal Son of God opposite them, who would be appreciating all they had deepened into in their recent cycle of evolution.

    1. Melinda there is so much investment in maintaining the status quo, I feel that true change comes from each of us when we connect to our soul, we no longer need a church or confession to make us feel ‘better’. The direct connection is so divine and empowering to feel and live.

  8. Throughout history every effort was made to separate religion from human life. The bastardisation of the word itself played a big part in this, while religion is really just about our relationship with God which is in the very fabric of our existence including ourselves. How can we not know God – unless we are willingly playing that role of unknowing?

  9. The summit on childhood sex abuse and paedophilia by priests in the catholic church has just finished. What if the pope had invited the people protesting outside, or at least some representatives to join him and the hundreds of cardinals and bishops and listened to what they had to say? I did not see one woman in the conference. Let’s see if there is any real change, for example in the training of priests, allowing women to become priests, allowing priests to marry, for bishops and priests to report instances of paedophilia, and for the clergy who abuse children or rape women to be treated the same way that other citizens are treated. We are all equal sons of God after all.

  10. So many of our experiences as children can shape our personality and the way we see things as adults. That is only if we remain victim of it, if we feel sorry for ourselves and think that there’s no way out. But, if we adopt a different mentality, one where we seek to understand why those things have affected us, why we still let them affect us there’s an empowerment, and with that a possibility for a different way.

  11. Bernadette I agree with all that you say here and I feel there is more to say. What if all those ideals and beliefs were a form of consciousness that we carry with us life after life, not aware of the impact that the consciousness is having on our bodies, until the what if is asked.

  12. We do not have to go regularly to church or live as a devout catholic to hold the beliefs of being ‘good’ or ‘getting it right’. I used to go to chapel and even though I do not attend today, the behaviour of ‘getting it right’ or ‘being good’ can show up on occasions. Thankfully I am becoming much more aware of its evil energy and how it plays out in my life.

    1. Yes, the consciousness of being good, or getting it right, can still creep into our lives even if we have not been a regular church attendee, it is an evil energy that needs renouncing.

  13. ‘Sometimes I made up a list of sins as I didn’t really know what to say! I gradually developed a suitable list.’ This sounds incredibly bewildering to a child. Indeed, it sounds bewildering to anyone because there’s such a strong message that we are sinners and need to confess and repent for being intrinsically bad.

    Now I’ve felt bad about myself all my life and my parents, being the very loving people that they are, didn’t raise me religiously – they’d had unsatisfactory experiences of organised religion and felt it best I chose for myself when I was older. However this idea that we are intrinsically flawed is in the water. Thankfully, I’ve connected to my essence (through listening and putting into practice the presentations of the Ageless Wisdom) and know there is nothing sinful about me, yes I can choose to align to what’s not love and act accordingly, but my essence is divine.

    So, it seems to me a lie has been sold and marketed to its fullest to keep the liars in business – say to someone you do bad things therefore you are evil in essence so you need to come to us constantly as we’re the only ones who can relieve you of your sins. But, because your’re a sinner you will keep sinning and keep coming back. They are not in the business of putting themselves out of business and presenting the fact that, if you live from your essence then you’ll not be impulsed to do the things you do because you’re missing that essence.

  14. “It felt very beautiful to return to the original meaning, it felt harmonious and true, to work on oneself with diligence and love for self and all others”. I also have really enjoyed discovering that my issues with religion were with the man created re-interpretations, not the true meaning, which is simply my steady inner connection I had as a child.

  15. I have always been surprised by the fact that Catholics are supposed to go to confession and afterwards they get a penance, the reason I find it difficult is because how can we be sinners when God does not judge, everything about religion seems to get complicated because they have rules and rituals, yet for me religion is simply to open up my heart and to feel the connection of God, and being who I am.

  16. As women we gave our power away to many cultures and religions by disconnecting from our body. We left to stay connected with our sacredness which we hold in uturus pelvic area in our body. No matter what people Can do physical to us we Can keep our light in our body. Our light is also there when we die. This light is stronger then anything else.

  17. There is nothing more disempowering and outright fraudulent than being made to believe that we are born sinners; on the other hand, this business model guarantees an endless supply of willing adherents who keep looking for salvation outside of themselves.

  18. I love the understanding presented here of what the word religion means at it’s root … ‘religio, devotion for oneself and everything, and religare, to rebind or reconnect – our connection to God.’ That devotion you speak of, to oneself, to God, to everything is something I am exploring anew after letting go many ideas of what religion and indeed what devotion is … and now I am learning that to be devoted to God involves being devoted to myself, for my body is of God, and that is huge given all I took on during a childhood raised in Catholicism. Thank God for the Way of the Livingness and the understanding it’s brought to me and many others of what religion truly is.

  19. If one ever has the opportunity or, the privilege, to hold a new born baby then it will be clear that there is no stain of sin. That they are of the purest love.

  20. It’s interesting how the role models you grew up with were martyrs, what if instead of having role models who sacrificed themselves we had role models that held steady in knowing who they are and lived constantly developing their purpose in life.

  21. I so agree Elizabeth, regardless of the man-made religion, they manufacture followers who then become imprisoned. always looking outside themselves. Yet Yeshua taught “the kingdom of God is inside you.” We just have to uncover the layers we have put upon ourselves over lifetimes, to find the gold waiting for us inside.

  22. “But what if I can simply allow myself to be the true me? What if I already know in my innermost heart what love is and I just return to being that? This feels like a path worth following – my own way.” I love this. No rules or gurus or priests to follow to tell us what to do, but simply following the wisdom of our own inner heart – which every single one of us has.

    1. It seems to me that it is time for people to wake up and take responsibility for connecting to their own divinity, as the current exposes of child abuse by the church clergy are an indication that we need to be very discerning of the energy of others who place themselves as authorities on divinity.

      1. Absolutely, we always need to be very discerning of what energy is at play, ‘ we need to be very discerning of the energy of others who place themselves as authorities on divinity.’

  23. “All these rituals confirmed to me that I was not a worthy person, that I was born quite unacceptable to God and that I must work very, very hard at being “good”. – In order to keep people needing the Church as a conduit to finding God, there must be a belief system that is in place to install a feeling of not being enough themselves (and certainly avoiding the Truth that we are ALL Sons of God), therefore people then look outside of themselves for someone to show them the way back to God (enter the Catholic Church) when all along God is living inside of them.

    1. “ when all along God is living inside of them’ – beautifully said Michael, and doesn’t this truth expose the separation that is created with constructed beliefs that deny us our innate divinity.

    2. The perfect business model, methinks. The church instigates and founds the demand and then offers the supply and thus, keeps turning and turning the wheels for the sake of their own vested interest.

  24. This really shows how important it is to be aware of what we are saying and doing because it can contribute to a person living their life feeling lesser or not worthy if we are not careful and loving.

  25. The true meaning of the word religion is not just a pathway to God, but to us as part of the whole and in relation to it. We can of course limit the whole to a corporation and some beliefs. This is a choice.

  26. The bastardised version of religion starts with the idea that we are ‘tainted’ and need to be ‘purified’ whereas the true religion allows us to feel that we all have a spark of God in us that remains pure and untainted no matter what ideals and beliefs we layer on top to muddy our awareness of this.

  27. Very interesting to read how you made up a list of sins because you didn’t know what to say in confession – like, how we reduce ourselves to satisfy the protocol and that seems to be a common occurrence. We are very quick to figure out what is being asked of us and make that more important than what we know to be true.

    1. Yes, really crazy to make up a list of sins because you were meant to have them, and so are reducing who you are to satisfy the Catholic Church.

  28. We think we understand the effects of false religious dogma – but the concepts like martyrdom and being ‘good’ are so far reaching. You might never go to a church but the fact is our society still reveres these qualities. Thanks Bernadette for the reminder that we need to bring a new understanding to how we live life.

  29. Being obedient to a catholic version of God is a way of living that I have personally not experienced, however there are people that I know and love who have experienced this, and in them I can often see a great sense of guilt that they carry. A guilt which does not seem to come from anything in particular, but simply from being who they are, and so no matter what they do to redeem themselves they always feel at fault or at least not good enough. And this is sad because in these people I see their beauty and their immense love which is at times being kept hidden from view due to this blanket of self deprecating thoughts.

    1. I have seen the same thing, a guilt for existing and a cycle of low self worth endorsed as a truth by the Catholic religion. It seems to go like this – tell people they are sinners and unacceptable to God, then tell them your religion has the answer and can save them, and introduce how = followers. It’s not unlike the beauty industry that introduces images of an ideal of how to look, infers you’re not living up to that impossible ideal/image, then advertise that you have the solution to attain that image (beauty products and services), and receive money and popularity (followers) when you’ve actually the energy behind the issue. Both dismiss the divinity and inner beauty of people. Until human beings begin to trust how they feel and question these things they will give their power to a corrupted model.

    2. I have noticed this sense of guilt that seems to hang round those who were in some way connected to the Catholic Church, even if their connection was slight, and in their younger days.

  30. What a set or sets of ideals and beliefs have we ended up with.. those who fully detract us away from what is true, logic, real and powerful. To make life about sins – right and wrongs is actually the most evil play we can set ourselves up with. As we know that our love is unconditional.

  31. We are only scratching the surface to know what “good” means and the impact of wanting to “do good” and “doing good” has. Its a foundation to how a lot of us live life and it is looked up to. Raising questions about being good certainly raises a few eyebrows.

  32. When presented with the true meaning of religion, I knew right a way the this is what I had already deeply sensed religion to be from a very young age, and that this was our natural way of being. The Way Of The Livingness offers us a way to live and maximise our relationship with God, which is innate and inescapable, through everything we do, as such deepening our relationship with who we are, all simply through our connection the our Soul.

  33. Wow – how could anyone look at a new born baby and believe they were tainted in any way? I did not know that this was the reason for Catholic baptism but it explains why it always felt awful to me.

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