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Sun May 26, 2013, 04:31 PM

 

My uneasy Catholic motherhood

My daughter is about to make her confirmation. Now her faith -- or lack of it -- is up to her

Sunday, May 26, 2013 04:30 PM EDT
By Mary Elizabeth Williams

It’s probably a lot easier if you’re certain. If you’re a firm atheist or a devout evangelical. But when you’re living a faith you love in an institution that regularly outrages you, it’s a little tougher. Especially when you’ve got kids.

Thirteen years ago, I carried a baby into a church and, as her family and friends stood around her, promised to raise her in that church. Four years later, I made the same vow for her sister. And now, in two weeks, my firstborn makes her confirmation. She will be, for all intents and purposes, an adult in the Catholic Church. She will no longer attend Sunday school, and she will be free to make all her own decisions regarding her faith (or lack of it), and her relationship with the church (or her departure from it).

It has not always been an easy road, for any of us. Even long before my daughters were born, our family wrestled with how to raise any children who might come along. We knew it would be challenging. And for my kids, it has been. That’s how it goes when you’ve got a mom who’s a gay-friendly, feminist, pro-choice, bigmouthed practicing Catholic. That’s how it is when you grow up going to a terrific, Capuchin-run little parish church — but the rest of your community is almost entirely secular. My elder daughter is routinely — mostly good-naturedly — teased by her buddies for being, along with the one practicing Jewish kid in her class, “religious.” “My classmates watch movies like ‘The Help,’” she tells me with a 13-year-old’s characteristic eye roll, “and think that being a Christian means sitting around the table holding hands and saying, ‘Praise the Lord!’” In case you’re wondering, we don’t.

Our friends find their own ways of working through their spirituality and their children’s. My friend Marjorie says, “I emphasize the social justice aspects of Judaism and do mitzvoth with the kids, talk about the parts of our religion I struggle with, share how my upbringing was different from theirs — and what I think was lost and gained.” Jessica says, “We enjoy our families’ respective traditions, like an English-inflected Christmas and boisterous Seders. We talk a lot about the mysteries of life and the various ways humans have tried to understand them, with much appreciation for the beauty of science.” And my friend Helene, who grew up alongside me in our old Jersey City neighborhood, had both her children baptized but reached a turning point when she learned a priest she’d worked with at a radio station early in her career “was abusing kids for decades.”

http://www.salon.com/2013/05/26/my_uneasy_catholic_motherhood/singleton/

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Reply My uneasy Catholic motherhood (Original post)
rug May 2013 OP
IrishAyes Jun 2013 #1

Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 08:28 PM

1. Sounds as if Ms. Williams has a fine family and circle of friends.

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