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Bewildered Beth wrote:

Hi, guys —

I grew up in the Catholic Church. I was actually born into it. I was raised by my grandmother and mother and never knew my father. I don't even know his name. I was in the choir and an altar server growing up. My childhood was marked by emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. I was led to believe that this is what the Church demanded of parents. My grandmother at one point literally told me she was trying to beat the sin right out of me. My mother was never as blatant about it, but it was always suggested to me that if anyone in the Church ever found out, they would condone it and possibly do it to me as well.

I went to Catholic school from second to eighth grades. Some of the parents literally wouldn't let their kids play with me or be friends with me because I was born out of wedlock (I have no idea how they even knew). I am also an only child and adults would say some pretty horrible things that the Catholic Church supposedly endorsed about my family status. I even had a Girl Scout leader kick me out of the troop because my mother worked and couldn't host a troop meeting like all the other mothers. I'm left-handed and red-headed and I have heard all sorts of old-fashioned child of satan comments about it. I've actually been told that God doesn't want me and Jesus loves everyone but me, because I was born from sin [and/or] because of my left-handedness.

Needless to say, I don't have the greatest memories of being Catholic. I spent a long time angry at the Church because, as a kid, I believed what my parents told me. I even joined a Protestant church for a while. In the end, they were in it to make money and basically told me that since I didn't have a bunch of money to give, my time serving the church wasn't acceptable. I left that church and have struggled to figure out where I belong.

Oddly, I ended up with this desire to be confirmed (something I never did because my mother and I moved 1,000 miles from my grandmother and stopped going to church, but the abuse continued). Then I got really interested in Rosaries and the Saints: things I thought I had left behind with my old Catholic upbringing. I have this strange interest in reading books on Catholic apologetics and Church history.

The other night I watched a documentary about people who converted to Catholicism amid protests from their families and friends (convincing). I starting thinking that maybe I was still Catholic at heart (and in my head) and needed to give the Church a chance to speak for Herself. I've been trying to figure out how I can ask someone with no Catholic churches in my general vicinity. I found you, and I'm hoping you can answer this weird random question.

  • What exactly are the Church's teachings on child raising, caring for children, and child abuse?

Any help would be great.

Thanks.

Beth

  { What exactly are the Church's teachings on child raising, caring for children, and child abuse? }

Bob replied:

Beth,

I am so sorry that you had such an abusive and twisted upbringing; all of that is far from Catholic. Our faith does not condone abuse, put-downs, or any of the rubbish that was hurled at you. You are loved by God, and any person that told you otherwise is acting against God.

It is amazing to me that you are still open to being led by the Holy Spirit, despite the wounds you must have incurred. It is a testament to your good character and the mercy of God. Good for you!

You should definitely continue to study and learn about the real Catholic faith, you will be richly rewarded. God can heal your wounds and fill you with peace and even forgiveness for all the abusers in your life. Freedom awaits you. If you need help, we will be happy to help with any questions you have about the faith.

Have a great journey!

Peace,

Bob

Mike replied:

Dear Beth,

In addition to Bob's fine answer, I wanted to add a bit more.

You said:
I have this strange interest in reading books on Catholic apologetics and Church history.

Make sure you check out some of my resources:

I hope this helps,

Mike

Beth replied:

Hi guys,

I guess I just have two more questions.

  1. I know the Church sees birth control as a grave moral issue, but I have a friend who has a blood disorder. Without the birth control she takes every day, she could bleed to death at any moment, any month. She's had this problem since she hit puberty. She was hospitalized during her first period and had to have blood transfusions. Birth control pills literally save her life.

    • How is it wrong for her to take these pills.
    • Isn't her life valuable enough to be preserved?

    The only other option is a hysterectomy, which no one will do because she's only in her 20s.

  2. I also know the Church sees divorce as a great sin. I've seen people turned away at the Church doors after filing for divorce.

    • What about in abusive situations?

    Surely, the Church doesn't want children being beaten by a crazy parent or someone being beaten by their spouse. Again, this goes to the sanctity of life issue.

    • Aren't those lives valuable, too?
    • Doesn't the Church have a provision for people to be in healthy, violence-free homes?

I guess my issue is that, at least in Texas, in the heart of Protestant country, sanctity of life ends at birth. Surely there are other situations I don't know as intimately as I know these two situations.

Please tell me the Church has provisions for the protection of all life.

Thanks

Beth

Mike replied:

Dear Jo,

The Church is always pro-life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.

As Bob said in his original reply to you:
I am so sorry that you had such an abusive and twisted upbringing; all of that is far from Catholic. Our faith does not condone abuse, put-downs, or any of the rubbish that was hurled at you. You are loved by God, and any person that told you otherwise is acting against God.

Mike

Paul replied:

Beth —

To add to Bob's and Mike's fine responses, please remember that sin separates; it ruptures union within acts and between persons.

Contraception is intrinsically evil because it attempts to separate the union of persons from its natural end, procreation. It also seeks to separate pleasure from purpose.

Divorce attempts to separate what God has joined together through the couple's consent and consummation. When two persons become one flesh they can never really become two flesh again. Love integrates and unites; sin disintegrates and destroys.

Peace,

Paul

Helpful Helen, a friend of our site, replied:

Mike,

Here are replies you can pass on to Beth. In my opinion, the first story is a stretch, and the second question is based on false assumption. She said:

I know the Church sees birth control as a grave moral issue, but I have a friend who has a blood disorder. Without the birth control she takes every day, she could bleed to death at any moment, any month. She's had this problem since she hit puberty. She was hospitalized during her first period and had to have blood transfusions. Birth control pills literally save her life.

  • How is it wrong for her to take these pills.
  • Isn't her life valuable enough to be preserved?

The only other option is a hysterectomy, which no one will do because she's only in her 20s.

If the hormones in the contraceptive pill are necessary for the woman's health, she can take them. The Church has always taught that a woman can take the pill for a medical reason, as long as the person abstains from sexual activity. It is also licit for her to have a medically necessary hysterectomy. I cannot speak to the reported condition and treatment, as I am not a doctor.

She said:
I also know the Church sees divorce as a great sin. I've seen people turned away at the Church doors after filing for divorce.

  • What about in abusive situations?
Surely, the Church doesn't want children being beaten by a crazy parent or someone being beaten by their spouse. Again, this goes to the sanctity of life issue.

  • Aren't those lives valuable, too?
  • Doesn't the Church have a provision for people to be in healthy, violence-free homes?

The Church does not see civil divorce as a great sin. The Church teaches that separation is sometimes necessary, as in the cases you describe, and civil divorce is necessary for legal reasons, in these and other cases, in order to protect parental assets, and parent's and children's rights. However, divorce does not end a true marriage (except in the eyes of the state).

The only sin that the Church sees, when divorce is necessary in a valid marriage, is the attempt to marry again while the first party is still alive.

Helen

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