Catholics are often criticized by many groups, including Pagans, atheists, and other Christian sects. The reason for this seems to stem from the idea that Catholics are particularly strict and repressive. But is it really fair to label them as such. In this article, we will examine why it may not be wise to put Catholics under particular scrutiny.
First, a personal background. I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school for nine years (Kindergarten-8th grade). However, my family were not strict Catholics by any means and completely accept my path as a Wiccan. They sent their kids to Catholic school mainly for the idea that it was a better education. The school I went to was also fairly liberal. Some of my fellow students were openly gay or atheist, and were for the most part accepted. We also partook in the same shenanigans as any other school-aged kids. Looking back, I do believe I received a very good education and am thankful for my time spent there.
A common belief about Catholics is that they are particularly repressive when compared to other groups. However, there really is not much truth to this. A Catholic priest will never hold a mass where he condemns homosexuals or nonbelievers to hell. He will also never command parents to beat their children for disobedience or as a method to ‘break their will’. Other Christian sects, particularly evangelicals and Baptists, do in fact support such radical and dangerous ideas.
I have never been told by a Catholic that I am going to hell, whereas I have lost count on how many times I’ve been condemned by protestants. In fact, a true Catholic knows that they do not have the authority to make such a claim. Not even the Pope can say if a particular person or group will go to hell. The true message of the Catholic Church is love and compassion, as opposed to the fire and brimstone message of many protestant sects.
The criticism that Catholics receive is not wholly earned. It is based off of many preconceived notions that for the most part are simply untrue. I do not share their theological beliefs, but I can respect them as a group that does not preach hate or eternal damnation. As I often say, IF I was a Christian, I’d be a Catholic.