Catholic education made me Wiccan


#1

Hello all!

I’m a new highschool grad, who just got his diploma from a top 50 catholic highschool. I’m not here to tell u all I hate Catholicism because I don’t. I have great respect for it, and I do think it’s the most directly linked Christian denomination to Jesus. Why I am here is because I received a good education and feal it is only fair that I tell a few Catholics where their schools theo programs tend to go wrong and push people away from christianity rather than to it. (also I do enjoy a good debate, even if this isn’t the main purpose of the thread)

So, I received a preschool through 12th grade catholic education. My family dosnt regularly attend church but I did at school and even was an alter boy. Now I had alwase been the philosophical type so I tended to swing back and forth between Catholicism and agnostic even as early as 5th grade. It wasn’t untill highschool however that it became pronounced.

When I went to highschool I changed from a small, personal enviroment (30 or so in my 8th grade class) to a larger one (90 kids and dedicated theo teachers). It was here where I got my first taste of what REALY pushes high schoolers out he door, perceived or sometimes actual favoriteism. Those kids who take well to theo class “the holy rollers” seemed to occupy most of he teachers time. This, as well as some language used by the teachers, packets, videos, ect. Also came off as a bit demeaning to certain groups, weather intended to or not. With no attention in class and a fealing that certain people got better treatment led to many kids drifting or even plain running away from christianity. And I eventually became a hardened agnostic.

I had alwase been a bit more exposed to the world than most other teenagers in my area, my father had traveled alot, I had gone to europe, and had a Turkish Muslim as an exchange student who I later visited in Istambul, so I came to the conclusion that most people were only their religion because they were raised it. This seamed to be confirmed when I watched others drift away from Catholicism. It was this openness to other cultures that probably allowed me to break out of my very catholic enviroment. I saw everyone just going through the motions, catholicism to me seamed more like a tradition than a religion.

Now in my senior year I took a class on world religions. I loved it, the teacher was also at he same time my normal theo teacher teaching us apologetics so it worked out rather well. Despite my belief that the whole truth was beyond mans comprehension I tried to find a religion that rang with me. I had high hopes for Islam and Budhism but neither rang with me. It was only when I did a project on Norse-Germanic paganism that I began to feal a connection. Another student presented on Wicca and before the week was out I was devouring every scrap of pagan info I could get. I even looked on christian sights against it just for more info on its practices. The attitude the teacher heals taken twords the Wicca presentation, although lighthearted, was still a bit over the top to me (he did several acts involving holy water which were a bit over the top). When the teacher began linking dream catchers and folk items to demonic possession I officially lost all respect for Christians warnings about Wicca and possession, it just seamed over the top.

I have sense felt a connection with Wicca like I never did with Christianity. Even alone I feal more a part of something than I ever did in a church. All though I felt brief glimpses of the ultimate reality as a catholic it didnt aproach what I felt the first few times I delved into Wicca. Before any bible quotes about witchcraft come out, sense starting Wicca I have not cast any spell, and because I have become so enthrawled in he philosophy I don’t know if I ever will. I do meditate, direct energy, and dable in astral projection. I feal so much more satisfied than I did watching everyone go through the motions of mass, hear lectures on how our school was a thriving faith community, and listen to chastity speekers who were so bad they probably made MORE peopl want to have sex.

So, what is the message I am trying to get across here? Three things, first; there is a tendency to focus more on the theologically sound students and make others feal excluded. Secondly, alot of teachers and administrators have a “afraid of a mouse” mentality about things forgen to them (seriousely, dream catchers cause possession?). And lastly, things tend to get coated over and overlooked. Every time my principal said we came together to celibrate mass it was a flat out lie, less than half the people actively participated at all, and he tone was anything by celibratory. Just tell things like they are.

So, that’s what I’ve got for ya. I can go more depth if anyone would like and I can dispell any of those nasty rumors about Wicca aswell. Again I have great respect for Catholicism, it REALY is the path to spiritual fofilment for many people. Heil og sæl!


#2

Hello Hunter

I teach Religious Education here in the UK.

I think your 3 conclusions are absolutely correct.


#3

I think that your post is rather sad. However, with time perhaps you’ll come back to the Church. Maybe when “the call” starts to come through (as it does so often when maturity develops more fully) you will devour “every scrap” of Catholic info you can find. But, you are certainly not the first teen, trying to figure out where they belong, to become sidetracked. I’ll say a prayer for you that your journey neither be too long nor painful before you come home. Take care and God bless.


#4

I will not comment on the content of the OP’s statement…BUT… is his spelling any indication of the quality of Catholic academics? SIMPLE words like feel (feal) and seem(seam)? I am not Catholic, but if his spelling is indicative of his entire Catholic education, then perhaps it’s to be expected that he has arrived at the place where he finds himself.


#5

originally posted by Hunter 24
It was only when I did a project on Norse-Germanic paganism that I began to feel a connection.

This in interesting to me. I never thought of wiccan paganism associated with a particular region. Wiccan seems like a popular source, maybe with Harry Potter series and attraction to occult things or new age things in the teen year makes sense.

Maybe prayer to Saint Bridget of Sweden or reading some of Pope Benedict’s writing would help.

Your three reason make sense. Teens are looking for a connection and classroom are so busy that many get left out.
Adults don’t live up to their faith and don’t struggle for it and teens notice. Were you saying that the principle’s tone was not of a celebration when it came to mass so it turned off teens?

And lastly being afraid of world religions, I think many adults fall into this where someone mentions say a muslim or Buddhist. faith and people are totally afraid of it = that may be because time is so limited that they feel they can’t fully explain how they see these faiths and what is problematic.


#6

I am Hard-Core Catholic and I would never ever send my son’s to our local Catholic schools (not that I could even afford to).

My husband is a product of Catholic education and I had to teach him that we do NOT worship our Blessed Mother Mary and women becoming priests will never happen, and many more liberal thinkings…and I am the Convert!!!


#7

Wicca is the most popular form of paganism. It promotes lifestyles and activities that appeal to man’s fallen nature. Wicca attracts many young people. It also appeals to the intellectual types who feel that mainstream organized religion contains some basic truths which are dumbed down for the ignorant masses.

Wicca is a false religion and members generally figure it out and become dissatisfied. If the OP attends gatherings of Wiccans, I will ask him how many senior citizens are included? I suspect that answer is very close to zero.

The reasons presented for leaving the Catholic Church are probably not at the root of his decision. They are merely intellectualized and palatable justifications. A teacher showing favoritism is not a reason to leave a religion. A single statement about a possible source of demonic intrusion is not a reason. The lack of enthusiasm during mass is equally not a reasonable justification for leaving. I cannot say what the actual reasons are, but, I suspect they are rooted in his parenting.

Some of the attraction to Wicca is its acceptance of other faiths. Wiccans teach that each man must undergo his own spiritual journey. All paths contain truth. There is no central authority and therefore wide variations of thought among Wiccans. All variations are considered equally acceptable. There are some rules. They include the Wiccan Rede and the law of three. These simple laws are basic truths that have universal appeal.

The Wiccans generally promote open sexuality. Dancing sky-clad while bathing in the moonlight during a drum ceremony which includes drinking alcohol and smoking pot always goes a long way toward making a young man feel “spiritually fulfilled”.


#8

The OP seems like a scholar compared to other teens. He has learned to write full and complete sentences. He can express his ideas coherently. He even understands the use of punctuation and paragraphs! :thumbsup:


#9

You mention three things in you formal Catholic education that perhaps pushed you away and I can see that they have some merit in alienating people, but you seem to have blinders to the biggest issue in your religious education. Namely that many Catholic school children's family failed them.

Just because someone receives all of their formal education in Catholic schools means zip if their family does not practice the faith. Catholic education is centered in the home and bolstered through formal education. If you live in a house where the faith is not proclaimed, lived and held in esteem then there is nothing a formal Catholic education can do to bolster it. It's like trying to build a dam in a mudflat. Without a firm foundation the dam will sink, rupture and fall apart. How can a kid expect to grow in the faith if their parents are just going through the motions? Essentially its nearly impossible to build faith if you are given a shaky foundation to build upon.

I have talked to a number of parents who have their kids in Catholic schools and overwhelmingly their primary reason for sending their kids is academics not to learn the faith. There are two people that both have said things similar to "they better not waste time in Mass or religious ed." Of the 7 or 8 people I know with kids in Catholic high-schools only 3 of them regularly attend church and spend time together as a family. When the parents aren't praying and teaching their kids to pray then it's no wonder so many kids wander away from the faith.

Don't get me wrong, I think many Catholic schools see themselves as more prep academies that happen to have some Catholic formation. That being said the problems cannot be blamed wholly on the schools if the parents aren't living and teaching the kids their faith.

There are a number of former Wiccan, paganist, etc. here on the forums. I myself had studied it when I was 18/19 and had fallen way from Christianity. I had been raised in the Presbyterian church and felt it was lacking something. After starting to drift when I couldn't find the answers to my spiritual questions I turned to nature religions. I loved the egalitarian feel of "if it harm none, then do as thy will." I spent the next 15 years as an agnostic in a spiritual wasteland and becoming an angry atheist from a life of secular relativism. Ultimately for me it came down to asking why did the Catholic church flourish for most of its 2000 years? At that point I actual put in the effort to study the faith as much as I had studied other religions. See, since I had been raised a Christian I took for granted what I assumed I knew. I started all over and when confronted with something I disagreed with instead of saying I don't believe blah, I instead approached it from the point of why should I believe it? That is where I truly began to understand the faith. Basically it came down for me to accepting that I might just be wrong and learning why a belief was taught. In the end I had to tear everything down to build a solid foundation so that I could build a solid dam.


#10

Here is the root of the poison tree.

The rest of your post is just high school angst, all kids feel alienated from the world, their teachers, and attempt to pushh boundaries and assert independence. The real let-down was not your school, but your parents who did not live up to their obligation and promises they made at your baptism.


#11

What he said…

Peace
James


#12

The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said towards the end of his life, “If you want your kids to defend their Faith send them to a public school, if you want them to lose their Faith send them to a Catholic School.”

Our Catholic schools, for the most part (yes, there are exceptions, but that’s what they are…exceptions), have failed and should be either cleaned up or closed down. Catholic education has been so watered down and vitiated as to be more harmful than good.


#13

Hunter,
Thank you for a well written (if spelling challenged :D) post. And Welcome to the Boards…

You bring up some good points re: Catholic education and I would respectfully request that, as a recent grad, you send a copy of your post to your Alma Mater. Such feedback can be highly useful. As worst, they simply ignore it…
But since you took the time to compose it and post it here, perhaps it would be a good idea to submit it to the one institution that you know the best.

There has been a lot of good things written in the above replies and I hope you will take them in the spirit of charity that they are intended. I will not debate you on this matter since, as you say, that is not the intent of your post.
That said, I will share that I too was away from the Church for some time…I left about the same age as you and stayed away for 35 years. I never really did “become” something else…(protestant, wiccan, atheist etc.) I just sort of drifted…And I must say that, although my parents DID go to church and did their best to raise us in the faith, my formal “religious education” left something to be desired.

Anyway - I too explored a great many “paths” and found useful things in most of them.
But something kept calling me back to Jesus…Turns out it was the mass and the Eucharist, not because of what others were doing or how they were acting etc…but just because of the fundamental Truth of it…
But what was even MORE amazing…was that once I returned to the Church, and I started exploring the faith anew…I discovered that -
ALL of the “truths”, all of the “paths” that I had encountered in other places were, in fact, available right here in the Catholic Church.
At 18 years and with “formal training” I could not see it, but after my long sojourn and coming back, I found them easily…
In my case it was the “Mystic Tradition” within the Church. I wonder if you have even heard that there is such a tradition in Catholicism.
The beauty, the simplicity, the Love, the connectedness, the shear joy of this path, this tradition is just exactly what I needed PLUS I am not separated from the Eucharist, the source and the summit of our faith.

Anyway - Just thought I’d share. If you have any questions or comments I’d love to talk. publicly, or privately.

Peace
James


#14

It wasn't your Catholic education, it's your own free will. You'll come back home one day, when you grow some brain cells and recognize what a pointless journey you've been on. Good luck and I will pray for you.


#15

When the nuns and priests left the classrooms…

WE NEED MORE VOCATIONS!!!


#16

True, however, now that his spelling has been brought to his attention, he needs to avail himself of spell check and/or use a dictionary, a thesaurus, and check out homonyms when in doubt.

When the OP pointed out that he’s a product of a Catholic education, one couldn’t help but notice the above and think “Oh, boy.” And that might be the reason he’s adrift. My Catholic education was from a tradtional order of nuns.


#17

While I agree that we certainly need more people responding to their call to vocation, I don’t think that there is a simple correlation between the “nuns and priests” leaving the classrooms and the decline in the quality of religious education.

Nuns and priests can be just as heterodox as any layman.

Consider the many threads here bemoaning the lack of good substantive and orthodox homilies these days. Consider the recent investigation and unflattering report on the women religious in the US.
Simply having more “nuns and priests” in the classroom will not, in and of itself, fix the problem.
Of course I’m sure you recognize this as well…

Peace
James


#18

I think that in this day, we converts tend to have more zeal and interest in our own faith. Let us raise our children with the same passion. :slight_smile:


#19

Hunter,
Just as a suggestion - check out the "Spirituality" board under "Catholic living". A good place to explore the more spiritual and mystical aspects of the faith.

Peace
James


#20

Not that I’m a to-the-death defender of the efficacy of Catholic secondary school, however, the OP’s English skills could just as easily be a result of his own low level of scholarship and or motivation and not the quality of education available to him. Alot of people don’t feel obligated to write with any level of coherency when writing on the internet. I’m not sure why but that’s how it is. Or perhaps his English teacher prefered other students as well, so he decided that the conventions of the English language weren’t for him either.


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