Harassment about rachaels vineyard/my baptism


#1

I was baptized long after my 2 abortions in my past. I feel forgiven by god and im at peace with my terrible sins. I live in the present not the past. I have been a member of the church for over a year now and have had nothing but problems. This post talks of 2 of the issues.

I have been literally harassed by rachaels vineyard ppl to attend their retreat and found no help by 2 priests to end it. I had to change parishes. In fact they said i should still go and did not believe me that im at peace …im forgiven…and they completely dismissed those ladies terrible actions that they were doing it in good will to help me. I was told i was still enrolled after i said no. I had to hang up on one lady. Pulled to the side after mass for lectures. My personal business talked about. Unwanted calls and emails etc.

In my new parish at my first ever meeting with the priest i explained the situation and why i left that parish. He asked for specific names of the ppl i had problems with old one and completely took their sides. He said to talk to the lady that runs that retreat and tell her im sorry basically and that i killed my chidren and my life is a mess because of it ect etc i asked him not to say anything to these retreat ladies but i think he will anyways as he went in and on about how theyre good friends of his.

I said father…does my baptism not cover those sins? He said yes but i had to get rid of the effects and curse from it.

I told him i am at peace. I dont have post abortion problems and that i believe in my heart im forgiven. He just dismissed that and flat out said he doesnt believe me.

I felt highly insulted.

I have made an appt to speak to the bishop of the diocese about this and how my baptism was treated.

Ill just tell u here how my baptism went.

Id been going to rcia for almost the entire thing but wasnt allowed to get baptized cuz i missed to much supposedly when ppl joined later than me and were allowed.

I went thru a health scare and was told i might have had lung cancer so i talked to the associate pastor in tears. A few weeks later the receptionist called and said the priest offered baptism which i gladly accepted. I never met with him before.

I was baptized…it was great. I had been going to daily mass for a year anyways…always in the adoration chapel i truly believe in the church.

The ppl started gossiping about my baptism for not having done the complete rcia i did everything but 2 months. Also the old ladies were telling everyone i had cancer.

The day of my surgery comes and one of the deacons and his wife go to my hospital bed. I thought how wonderful…they are here to support me. Boy was i wrong. The deacon asked if i had cancer and i said no the tumor was benign. Then he asked if i had LIED about my health to be baptized “early”. I said absolutely not. They dont remove 3/4 of your lung for nothing. Then he told me i must do another year of rcia and left.

I was shocked disgusted and heartbroken. Yet i continued to go to mass and even tried to do rcia again. It was humiliating. Ppl asked me why i was there going thru the rites if i was baptized. Finally i had enough and told the rcia director if she didnt think my baptism was valid to talk to the priest.

I went to talk to the priest and he was rude and talked about lying and sent me on my way. Not even 10 mins. Of his time. The associate priest i talked to was somehow fired for 2 months after my baptism. It was a huge scandal in my parish due to that deacon.

It was absolutely horrific…like welcome to the church!!!

Then that **** with the rachaels vineyard ppl so i left. The priest ignored me. Wouldnt even make eye contact with me.

Then i go talk to my new parish priest and get told basically the same thing about the abortion retreat and i felt highly insulted. So im going to talk to the bishop before i leave the catholic church entirely. If the bishop is like these priests im done. I shouldnt have to feel like i have to go to their abortion retreat as some kind of penance when number one my baptism covers that and number 2 i have been forgiven and i know this in my heart.

Are all catholic parishes and priests like this? I feel like i dont fit into the church. Im divorced twice and i had 2 abortions in my past and i feel severely judged for this. God knows my heart is right and i am in a state of complete grace. No mortal sins. I go to confession weekly. I am completely alone in life. No friends cuz i gave up all my old ways. I wonder if i made the wrong choice joining this church now after the ways ive been treated.


#2

I am sorry about what you are going through.

I am not an expert on Church Policy, but it is my belief that you are forgiven and should not be compelled to attend a retreat if you do not wish to.

Your story reminds me more than a little bit of the story of Paul the Apostle. He too did bad things, yet no Christian would dare claim that his sins were not forgiven by God.


#3

My friend, we don’t join the Church because the people in it are perfect. We go to the Church because Christ founded it for our benefit. What would it benefit you to leave Christ’s Church and His sacraments?

If I were you, I would go to the retreat just to observe and see if I could, in the future, help other women. Of course, you don’t have to go to any retreat if you don’t want to. It is doubtless true that the Rachael’s Vineyard women have good intentions, in their own minds.

I am sorry that you have run into rudeness and doubters. Yes, it is true that human failings and conflicts like this happen in the Church as well as without. Please don’t let it affect your faith.


#4

Actually, my thoughts are to go to the retreat, not necessarily for you if you don’t need it, but so that you yourself can see its contents and perhaps certify as an instructor for future courses. No one is more qualified to lead such an important apostolate than one who’s been there, done that, and found grace.


#5

OP, I too, am sorry that this has happened to you.

What I don’t understand, is how they all knew about your past that even the second parish people were telling you to go to the retreat. Your sins are your business, not theirs. What you told the priest should have not been passed along by him to others, if that is what happened.

If you haven’t met with the Bishop yet, you should also tell him about how your deacon was when you were in the hospital.

No, all churches are not like this. I would find another parish, and keep things to myself until I can actually go to confession. And then, I would never speak of my sins again, except to a priest. Please, I hope you do not leave the Catholic Church. You seem to have a love for the faith. Do not let certain people ruin it for you.


#6

Pet peeve: Please capitalise “God”. Anyway, I don’t know what to tell you. You are forgiven, but these folks may think you need healing. Are they harassing you or do they just keep inviting you? I was baptized at 21. I know those sins before that are gone, but I still feel significant guilt over them. Maybe they think you feel the same way. I will give you advice that I think everyone can use. Pray for them.


#7

There is no reason to state your past sins to others once confessed and forgiven.

The reason the priest may think you are not healed is because you brought it up.

Also, if your parish talks about things alot, I would be careful as about what you share with them.You are allowed to keep things private. I hope this helps you in the future.

God Bless


#8

No, not all Catholic hurches are like this!
And no, do not go to that retreat unless YOU want to
Everything you relate sounds, to be honest, completely insane to me. How dare any of these people act this way toward you. I do suggest you talk to someone in the Bishop’s office. All of this is highly inappropriate, and a major breech or your confidentiality. Those involved should be ashamed of themselves.


#9

trigger warning*

I wont leave the catholic faith. I was upset today after my talk with the new priest. I would like to share a lil about my past and why the church is important to me.

I was raised in an inactive mormon convert household. My dad was a convert from catholicism (my entire extended family is catholic on my dads side) my mom is a convert from southern baptist.

We never lived in the same state as a relative and my dad was extremely abusive to me in particular. My earliest memories were being molested at diaper changes and slobbery kisses that woke me up in my sleep that terrified me i remember being paralyzed with fear pretending to be asleep praying it would stop.

My dad never bought food for us. He screamed at us as kids when he made us something to eat. He wouldnt turn on the heater in the winter or ac in summer. He wouldnt let mom spend money on us. Screaming at her for hours if she bought us mcdonalds. He was a tyrant. Scary. He used to beat me up. He kept me in my room where i had to write him essats about how he was right and wut i did wrong after he abused me to be able to come out. I couldnt talk to my family without permission. I couldnt eat food without his permission. He used to glare at me when i would eat alone at the table until i cried running to my room.

It was hell pure hell on earth for me. I was suicidal as a child and prayed to god to save me. In time i thought god did not love me. I wished i was one of the special ppl in life. I ran away from home as a child and was saved by 2 prostitution rings. I have suffered over a hundred rapes to varying degrees of violence. I was almost strangled to death once.

Ive had 3 living children i was always a single parent. Abandoned rejected by their fathers i had no help or friends and no god. My first i gave up for adoption as a teen. My other 2 i lost custody of in 2012 from undiagnised bipolar and alcoholism. They are split up with my ex and my sister. My last child i gave birth to in the hospital alone

After i lost the only family i had my kids it was endless psych hospitalizations for suicide attempts. I honestly cant believe i survived losing all of my kids. My 2 abortions i had my sister paid for one and my mother the other. They told me they would not help me and i couldnt hardly feed my kids as it was. I was terrified. Their spirits came to me in a dream before my abortion appts and said goodbye and that they loved me and would see me again one day. :frowning: the first abortion was being treated like an animal. I had my child sucked out with a vaccum. It was terrible when they put those sticks in your cervix and send u home to wait before the vacumming. I was numb. It was truly like being raped. My second i took pills and got drunk and cried and bled out into the bathtub. It was horrific. After that i had my tubes removed and sterilized myself. The fathers of those kids…idk who they were really. They took advantage of me when i was drunk and i never heard from them again.

I truly believe that i lost the 2 children i was raising because i killed the 2 children i never gave a chance. I believe this is gods punishment.

God knows i am so sorry. For all my sins that hurt my kids. I love all my kids and i miss them desperately. I did not know wut god was until i had my first child. Giving him up for adoption…i was kicked out of my parents house andbecame homeless. My 3 kids all gone. The 2 i aborted and countless miscarriages when i was young.

I became disabled from my depression…moved into my moms house and found the catholuc church in her area. I can say that this church saved my life.

It was really really hurtful beyond words to go thru wut i have in the church. I just want to find one place on earth i am loved and accepted and belong. I would really like a friend in christ. Not even my sponsor is dependable. :frowning:

Guys. Im alone. I dont mean lonely. I mean ive been alone my entire 37 years on earth. Ive done hard work forgiving my dad and rapists and others. My 2 marriages were to the same guy he married me for a green card then took our son away. Talk about gut wrenching. My dad comes to my moms for 2 weeks every christmas and it destroys me since ive been living here now last year half. He still stares at my boobs and tries to talk to me naked.

After 20 years of being gone ges moving into my moms house again and they will be “married”. He hasnt beat me up since i was 17 and he was arrested. I ran around the neighborhood banging on doirs for help. …but i cant be around him. I worry i might become homeless again. I know wut its like to be hungry. Its not fun. :frowning:

I believe god has heard my prayers. Ges healing me. He loves me. Jesus is my best friend. My only friend. Ive had bad health last couple years. I was in icu 4 weeks ago with kidney failure and heart problems from previous suicide attempts.

I feel like i have been given more time to repent…to make things right with god…most importantly to forgive others to get rid of the hate in my heart. I hope to be there for my kids to.

Guys…pray for me. I am so alone and sometimes i feel forsakenby god. I quit living my old life. I dont drink cuz i know im an alcoholic. I dont date. I dont even mastyrbate. For the first time in my life i feel innocent…forgiven…and free. I work so hard to talk to god everyday. I dont even know if i do it right…but i do anyways.

The holy eucharist helps me. I live a good clean life now. No emotional or spiritual support from my family.

I told my mom when i die to give me a funeral mass.

I know i will live the rest of my life alone but i want to use wut time i have left in the service of others. Please pray for me and also for my 13 yr old who might have cancer.

Guys i just pray for the courage and strength to luve my life to its natural end that i might fulfill gods purpose for me.

Please pray for me and all my kids here and in heaven.

Thnk u.


#10

I pray that you have a wise and holy bishop!

I am so sorry that all of that happened to you. I apologize for all Catholics who have judged you, frustrated you, and hurt you. I hope that you will not leave the Church because of the sins of those people. We all have sins. You are so much father ahead of those who fail to recognize their sins, their assumptions, and their petty behavior. Those who failed YOU as ambassadors of Christ. Yet you found Christ and his Church anyway. Don’t let small minded people chase you out. We all sin. No one is better than anyone else. People are people no matter where you go, unfortunately. That is Original Sin.

I can relate to that, all my old friends thought I’d lost my mind. We drifted apart. But I did eventually make new friends. They are out there.

I am so sorry your experience was so awful. Pray for them, perhaps it will bring you peace. I read a Way of the Cross meditation once and on the station where Simon helps Jesus carry the cross it talks about people who we grow impatient with due to their misguided helpfulness. I immediately thought of that when you mentioned the Rachel’s Vineyard people. I know they have been trained that many post abortive women have PAS and have denial about it. I know they mean well, and I am sure the many women who have said they don’t need a retreat only to go on the retreat and then tell them how much it helped them motivates them to keep reaching out to you. I think you should talk to the Silen No More people and the national Rachel’s Vineyard because NOT all post abortive women have PAS and their coordinators need better training if they are harassing women.


#11

I am sorry you feel hurt - but I also feel you misunderstand Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats as well …

You can find forgiveness there and even go to reconciliation and confess unforgiven sins - or as some who maybe have struggled with feeling forgiven - finally come to that realization … but you don’t go on retreat to get forgiven of your sins … you go to heal your brokenness and wounded soul - and that often times comes slowly after you have recognized your sin and sought out the confessional and received absolution …

Also - as far as your being Baptized during a health scare - that one Sacrament does not complete your initiation into the Church … I guess I will assume that as a Mass goer once you were baptized you also have received the Eucharist - but have you also been Confirmed?

There is no shame in attending RCIA after Baptism - and if you were prevented from learning about the Faith due to health reasons that kept you from attending every session until your Baptism and then after while you were healing - then it would be perfectly normal for you to attend until you are Confirmed and it is always a blessing to learn about our Faith, our Lord and the Traditions of the Church.

As many have said - you must be sharing your past and your struggles for people to be aware of all you have been through. Though you say this is all past and you are forgiven - you OP reads in such a matter that it is something that is still following you and is so present in your life that you share it … most probably in a way that makes people want to help you - and which then is perceived as an affront by you or that you are being attacked. Perhaps those who you share with want to help but then feel you reject their counsel after you have burdened them with your problems … and it spirals from there …

For example - I am surprised that you would leave a parish over an issue you say you have put behind you and for which you are forgiven and do not feel any need to ‘deal’. In fact you left because everyone knew about it and was trying to get you to do something that you refused to do - the Retreat … Only to join another parish and immediately start sharing all of this - and have the priest encourage you to do so …

Thus my thoughts for you to pray over - Ask yourself why you feel compelled to share this if its not something you need to work on? The only way for your new parish family to have this information is because you shared it - why did you?

How is the rest of life - are you now stable and self sufficient? Is your life truly repaired? Are you making good decisions with your life choices? If not - why is that?

I am praying for you -It sounds like you have had a hard road to travel from childhood into adulthood. Poor role models [parents and other adults who let you down and people who took advantage too] coupled with poor personal decisions and self destructive behaviors.

I pray that you search your heart and find answers. I pray that those people around you in your faith community can help learn more about our faith, about yourself and the great wondrous healing that comes from our Lord… Should you decide to make that Rachel’s Vineyard retreat - do so with a mind that seeks to get the most from the experience - work hard and trust the process - you may find healing you did not know you needed - not just for your lost little ones but for the losses you experienced in your life too - your lost childhood :gopray:


#12

Would a moderator please delete my thread. Ive sent 2 messages and am unable to do so. Thnk u.


#13

Yada…i was baptized and confirmed at same time. I completed 90% of the rcia before my baptism and the other 2 begining months i did after. I am catechized.

The only person i have spoken about this in my new parish is to the priest who knows all those ladies…apparently they are great friends of his and of course he is a pastor at the retreat. I havent been approached by anyone in the new parish…if i am i will know the priest talked about me…and i hope not! I dont go around telling random strangers about my past.

I mistakenly confided in a few ladies at my old parish and they gossiped about me!

I dont “burden ppl with my problems.” I told one person at my old parish before rcia and was approached by random ppl about the retreat ever since thru out the entire year and a half i was there. Completely unwanted and uncalled for contact. Thats not helping. Thats harassment.

Did u read anything in my trigger post? Its not poor role models and poor personal decisions. I was raped and assaulted since early childhood! U cant even imagine how ridiculous u sound when u put it that way.

Btw i know all about rachaels vineyard and their pseudo counseling services. Those women wanted me to have medical releases signed by my psych and counselor cuz they dont take legal responsibility for their retreat they send that responsibility off to the private sector.

On another note…my psych and counselor said absolutely not about going to their retreat as its triggering and they even mail u baby dolls etc…completely unhealthy for me at least. I even told those ladies that and they did not care yet kept me enrolled!!! Completely unprofessional.

My life as it is now is NOT result of my abortions but rather a lifetime of abuse and neglect and YES i am getting help for that. I dont think thats something u understand nor any of the rachaels vineyard pro life militants i have come across.

All u guys do is shame and guilt women for life. Ive found my peace regarding my abortions. Im moving on and i refuse to be a victim of my past whether the abortions or my abuse.


#14

On another note…i hung in there thru the baptism drama which was complete bull but i left my old parish when i was getting repeated calls and unwanted contact before and after mass about this retreat and telling them NO even explaining wut my professional doctors and counselors are saying …even having to HANG UP on one lady that kept going in circles not taking NO for an answer…to be mailed a letter 3 weeks later like nothing happened and they were oblivious to my decision BEING TOLD that i was STILL ENROLLED and to pay 145 dollars or get a scholarship!!!..that is beyond RIDICULOUS! That is why i left that parish. How am i supposed to worship god in that environment in peace when even the priest himself purposefully ignores u! It was a sick dysfunctional parish for me. Who wouldnt leave being treated like that and like theres a rite of penance called rachaels vineyard youre expected to go thru for “healing” (though not officially) as if i dont know the state of my own heart and sorrow or have the capability to know when im healed!. 2 priests have told me that now. My old parish and new! That is why im going to discuss all this with the bishop and my “scandalous” baptism…to get the true position of the catholic church. These ppl should not treat anybody the way i have been treated.


#15

you are correct, RV people are not trained to deal with the types of things your therapist is helping you with. You should not be harassed by them or anyone else.

You have been through terrible things that are not your fault. You are an incredibly strong person. I hope you find peace in your new parish.

God bless you, I am so sorry that people have treated you badly. I cannot imagine what you have been through. I admire your will to overcome it and not let it define you or victimize you. That is real courage.

Thank you for sharing your story. You don’t know who out there might be despairing and may come across your story and find hope that they too can be freed through Christ.


#16

You are 100% right about that!


#17

On another note…i hung in there thru the baptism drama which was complete bull but i left my old parish when i was getting repeated calls and unwanted contact before and after mass about this retreat and telling them NO even explaining wut my professional doctors and counselors are saying …even having to HANG UP on one lady that kept going in circles not taking NO for an answer…to be mailed a letter 3 weeks later like nothing happened and they were oblivious to my decision BEING TOLD that i was STILL ENROLLED and to pay 145 dollars or get a scholarship!!!..that is beyond RIDICULOUS! That is why i left that parish. How am i supposed to worship god in that environment in peace when even the priest himself purposefully ignores u! It was a sick dysfunctional parish for me. Who wouldnt leave being treated like that and like theres a rite of penance called rachaels vineyard youre expected to go thru for “healing” (though not officially) as if i dont know the state of my own heart and sorrow or have the capability to know when im healed!. 2 priests have told me that now. My old parish and new! That is why im going to discuss all this with the bishop and my “scandalous” baptism…to get the true position of the catholic church. These ppl should not treat anybody the way i have been treated.


#18

OP, I’m praying for you. I am sorry that you were treated like that at your old parish. I just want you to know that this is not typical of a Catholic parish and most pro-lifers do not harass women who have had abortions. I have met a lot of people from different parts of the movement and they all know that there is no one size fits all answer for every individual affected by abortion. I am wondering, if those ladies who are after you are elderly. In that case, they might be senile and do not understand that they are causing you distress.

Also, you said that your father is coming to live with you at your mother’s house. I hope you could find some place to go if he gets abusive. Maybe the archdiocese has a place for abused women to stay or someone at your new parish can take you in.


#19

Thnk u so much 1ke (((hugs))) i really appreciate your encouragement! It means alot to me and the other uplifting things ppl have said here to encourage me to keep the faith and i will. I sincerely hope these problems dont follow me to my new parish. Even my die hard sponsor told me i should leave that parish. She was absolutely appalled at the deacon going to my hospital bedside and accusing me of lying to be baptized like i was joining a country club or something! Everything for me in that parish went downhill after that and especially after i stopped rcia after i completed the begining 2 months i missed. To me i felt like why am i getting these rites for catechumens if ive been baptized and confirmed…unless of course they didnt think my baptism was not valid while no one came out and told me that was the impression. I never was called by any ecclesiastical counsel. I think it will be good for my own peace to talk to the bishop and get this worked out for my own soul cuz its important to me. I am a strong person…if i lived in the past about all my past sins and the sins others did against me i wouldnt be here.

Ive worked extremely hard on forgiving everyone. …and most importantly myself. At least once a week when i pray the rosary on each decade i pray for someone whose hurt me and each bead i say i forgive u for…then bless them…the entire decades of the rosary including for myself.

I just asked for this thread to be deleted for there are ppl here in my city and i truly dont want anymore drama im trying to start a new life in a new parish but my gut feeling is i completely ruined that by talking to the new priest. Only time will tell. i just posted here cuz i feel like i had absolutely no one to talk to about this and to be honest ive been fed up twice now to the point of walking away from the faith entirely but i believe in the sacraments and this is christs church and my testimony is the change it has brought to my life in a positive way! A change no AA meeting…counselor…doctor…friend…drug or person could do. That is undeniable to me and i dont have the strength to go back into living in darkness and h-ll. That is one hard way to live. At least the struggles ive faced in life have taught me that i can stand on my own with gods help…only thru god can i go forward in life and his forgiveness…and he has forgiven me. I have a clean conscience and no fear to stand before god now though it can wait ;). I know he can read my heart and is the perfect judge. I couldnt say that a year and half ago. If i would have died then i hate to think where i would have gone. I was so full of anger and despair. :frowning: Everytime i hear the lords prayer to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us…reminds me i 2 must forgive. Including the ppl in church who have hurt me and misused my trust when i was most vulnerable.

1ke thnks again. U have really helped me see wuts important.


#20

I am not shaming you … I did read your post - Yes . you absolutely had a very troubled and awful childhood and that has impacted your life in many ways - your parents let you down - severely and so did every adult in your sphere … which is at the core of the life issues you have experienced

If you do not want or need to attend Rachel’s Vineyard retreat than don’t - all I said was if you went to do so with an open mind and spirit of participation … I personally have never been to a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat - but I know many people [priests and lay] who do work with that ministry. I can’t imagine they have ever badgered a person into going. And I know their reason in working that ministry is not to hurt, shame nor destroy people - it is only to love and to help repair broken hearts and minds - they do so out of love - it is not an easy ministry

And then to consider your role in the reaction of the priests and parishioners …

So - if you do not want to discuss issues around your lost children and Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats don’t share it - even with your priest -especially if its not something you need to confess and is not impacting your life … then keep it close to your vest …

I would hope [and you can agree or not] that those people who badgered you really want to help you - and failed badly in that you felt disrespected and hurt. That is very sad - I truly hope they were just inept and not malicious …

It is good you are getting counselling - some is better than others - you seem to think you are getting good counselling - for that I am happy for you

I am still going to pray for you and for healing and wholeness in your life … and for those who hurt you that they gain some wisdom in their attempts to help people …

Pax Christi


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.