Where did the stereotype of Catholics being obsessed with gulit and telling peole their bad come from? You know the whole “come for the Mass stay for the guilt” or as I saw on a animated sitcom once a Catholic potty training book was titled “Your a naughty child and thats concentrated evil coming out the back of you.” I don’t get it I didn’t encounter any emphasis on guilt when I came into the Church.
[quote=starrs0]Where did the stereotype of Catholics being obsessed with gulit and telling peole their bad come from? You know the whole “come for the Mass stay for the guilt” or as I saw on a animated sitcom once a Catholic potty training book was titled “Your a naughty child and thats concentrated evil coming out the back of you.” I don’t get it I didn’t encounter any emphasis on guilt when I came into the Church.
As a person converting to Catholicism, I have also wondered this myself. I can’t imagine Catholics being more filled with guilt then fundamentalists. I attended an extreme fundamentalist church for three years and after awhile it seemed like everything was a sin.
Growing up we always joked about our mother being the queen of Catholic guilt. We never wanted to disappoint her, so most of the time we stayed out of trouble, or if we ever did do something that was disappointing, we saw it in her eyes and NEVER did it again. As I grew up, I found others had unnatural amount of guilt…something that other people on this forum would call “scupulosity”. I do use my mother’s type of guilt in my parenting, but the kind that you discribed I have never experienced either.
Guilt is a good thing when we use it for its proper purpose. Only a relativistic culture would see any form of guilt as evil. We cannot possibly confess our sins if we are not accusing ourselves of sins. I’d be more wary of the person who has no sense of guilt—that means there’s no self accounting whatsoever in the interior.
Although, over guilt can be a symptom of false humility, pride and/or despair which is self destructive. Over guilt is the abuse that many cultural catholics in the older generation use as leverage sometimes to coerce a preferred behavior from someone else. Of course this is wrong.
seems like they’d pick on the fundies their way more “Hellfire and Brimstone” than the Catholic Church but was the Church like that in Pre-Vatican II days? It seems that is where the sterotype would have originated.
I think this is common to many people who’s parents used guilt as a control measure, or people who don’t go to confession.
It is just that some people like to attach things to the Catholic faith and it gets repeated. Like the old, “Catholics leave the Catholic Church as soon as they read the Bible”
Also since Catholics have answers for what is a sin, and many times people move out of the Church when they sin and don’t want to acknowledge their fault in the sin. “we sin anyways, nothing we can do about it, it is just my fallen nature”
It’s a stupid charge, and I’ve heard it from fallen-away Catholics as well as non-Catholics. I think it springs from two main sources: one, Catholicism has the nerve to call sin what it is—sin. A culture steeped in relativism doesn’t like that, and the Catholic Church is rightly perceived (sometimes only on a subconscious level) as the main threat to relativism (Protestantism is not a threat, and indeed contributes to it). Disparaging guilt as an artificial and stifling external control employed by those wascally Catholics conveniently glosses over the sin part, which is handy if you want to sin. Two, some Catholics (my parents, for example) could not or would not explain Catholic doctrine, and relied heavily on the not-very-useful threat, “It’s a mortal sin”.
Since we’re always preaching that we should confess our sins, I guess that can be interpreted for guilty feelings. Of course, this is only added to by our friends from outside the church. I hate to see one of our greatest gifts of the Spirit to be ridiculed that way.
What’s ironic is the best catholics are also the happiest catholics. Jesus’ only commandment was to “Love one another, as I have loved you”. Then he said, “you can tell my disciples by the way they love one another.” I hope I’m paraphrasing this right.
I’ve been a Catholic for nearly 50 years and I’ve never been able to understand this idea. I think any anti-Catholic who thinks Catholics are “ridden with guilt” should be introduced to one of the equally common type of anti-Catholic who claims “Catholics believe that it’s OK to do any and every evil thing they want to, because they can just go to confession later”. The two ignorant bigoted accusations contradict each other.
Everybody has guilt. Some are fiercely in denial that they have it. The Catholic Church offers the solution to it. Perhaps by “guilt-ridden” these people mean that Catholics actually ADMIT that they are guilty of having sinned, which is the necessary first step to forgiveness.
Although I have no first hand experience, I always thought the attitude came from strict Catholic mothers always telling their kids, “You’ll go to hell for this, you’ll go to hell for that.” The kids eventually grew up thinking practically everything sent you to hell. Read “Angela’s Ashes” sometime.
[quote=forthright]Although I have no first hand experience, I always thought the attitude came from strict Catholic mothers always telling their kids, “You’ll go to hell for this, you’ll go to hell for that.” The kids eventually grew up thinking practically everything sent you to hell. Read “Angela’s Ashes” sometime.
For me, it definitely came from my family, not from the church. My mom didn’t tell us kids WE would go to hell for what we did, she used guilt much more affectively and told us SHE would go to hell for the bad things we did. Whew!
The church offered absolution, but mom…not so much.