I used to be a Roman Catholic. 17 years of Catholic education, from kindergarten through university. Degree in theology from a Jesuit institution. Religious ed teacher, lector, eucharistic minister at various times. I thought I could change the Catholic Church from within, by being a voice of reason.

I’m now a proud, active member of the United Church of Canada, a denomination resulting from the merger of Methodists, Congregationalists, and most Presbyterians in Canada in1925, with other denominations joining since. My regret: that it took me over 50 years to shed the Catholic guilt.

When I was growing up, the world was divided into 2 groups: Catholics and non-Catholics. To us, the non-Catholics were homogeneous, although they included Protestants, Jews, and everyone else (not that we knew anyone that was part of the “everyone else” group). My father wasn’t a Methodist, he was a non-Catholic and was therefore an object of curiosity and pity. It’s amazing how the Catholic Church instilled the feeling (perhaps still does) that it’s better to be a fallen-away Catholic than to embrace another group more in line with one’s beliefs and moral outlook. Better be a non-church-going Catholic than an active member of another religion. Shame on me for not addressing the brainwashing years earlier.

Undoubtedly, some of the most talented, intelligent and encouraging women I’ve known were nuns that I had as teachers. I wonder how many of those women, who chose their vocation in the 1940s, 50s & 60s, would do the same today. I don’t understand how thinking, sensitive people in 2007 can tolerate the insensitivity and intolerance of the Catholic Church. Over the life of this blog, I look forward to addressing the numerous issues on which the Catholic Church is misguided – from language, to women, to choice, to separation of church & state, to structure & accountability.

Stay tuned.