On facebook, a friend wrote (under my post about this essay), "A born and undisturbed atheist, I muse with I hope compasionate sadness at my Catholic friends who seem able to reject it, but not to forget it."

My reply:

"Is 'compassionate sadness' a fancy-pants way of saying "pity"? Hrrmmm. . .

I don't consider myself traumatized by Catholicism (although others, who had much worse experiences than I did, certainly were.) I was brought up in a loving home in truly bucolic, one might even say idyllic surroundings. And although I didn't enjoy it at the time, I rather often hated it, in retrospect my country-boy/city kid experience gave me from a young age a much broader understanding of the varieties of human experience than many people seem to get in a lifetime.

I don't pity kids who didn't grow up on a small farm & learn to milk a cow when they were 5 years old or get comfortable exploring Brooklyn & Queens & The Bronx and Manhattan by subway starting at 13. I just feel lucky that I did. It was certainly a richer experience than many kid stuck in suburbia ever got or get.

As for the Catholicism, it was just kind of there, like the Scottish or Irish accents of every one of my adult relatives except for Pop."

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Fascinating. I went through the Catholic funnel half a generation later, after Vatican II: Eucharistic Hullabaloo, but I was spared all aspects of militarism (probably for the best).

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