When Lapsed Catholic read and messaged me regarding my Church Fornication post from Wicked Wednesday, I was delighted to get her opinion. It’s not the same as mine but it is the individual experiences we all have had that make us different and shape what we believe. Everybody has a right to share their own opinion which is why I was keen for Lapsed Catholic to write this guest post. It is almost the yin to my yang.
Lapsed Catholic is on Twitter – we both welcome any comments at the end of this article
Guest Post by Lapsed Catholic for Wicked Wednesday #278
I read with interest May’s (Sex Matters) “Church Smells, Beliefs and Fornication,” as like May I am a Lapsed Catholic.
I have come to meet May through the medium that is Twitter and have already briefly commented on this post. However, it has bought out many feelings, and I felt that I needed to delve a bit deeper into my reply to her.
I too was bought up strongly with religion. My mother being Italian was naturally a Roman Catholic, married to my father a protestant. My earliest memory of the church was aged 5 – being driven to Church on a Sunday morning to attend Latin Mass with my three siblings. We were living in a prominently Muslim country and the Catholic Church tried to prove a point with a huge cavernous building. Dad would sit outside in the car reading the Sunday paper. Mum never even attended; caught up in her mental health problems scarred by the orphanage she lived in as a child, run by the cruellest nuns known.
This affected her throughout her life so our childhood was not happy, was fraught with eggshells, shouting and beatings. No wonder I escaped to marry in my truculent teens. However, for some reason, church stopped for us when we returned to England some short time later. Maybe it was because of the transient nature of our living arrangements whilst awaiting Dad’s next posting abroad.
At aged 9 I was carted off to Convent Boarding School. Here religion dominated my life until I announced that I was leaving after one year of sixth form. (I was the youngest in the year and started 6th form well before my 16th Birthday). Religion was infused into my body with weekly mass, coupled with Feast Day masses. Not to mention Holy Days and Benedictions at constant intervals. I can quote the mass word perfect to this day.
(As a side note I lived in Israel for a few years which further added angst to my teenage years. The compelling history of the country increased my growing disbelief of religion. And to this day I can never understand why my mother, who was subjected to hunger and abuse during her orphan childhood – at the hands of “nuns” – wanted us to repeat the experience by sending us to Catholic school. My own children have been brought up religion free, it is their choice.)
The constant worshipping of a deity continued and I began to challenge, wanting the normal life that Day Girls attending our school seemed to have. I used to sneak to the woods around our school and smoke Black Moroccan dope. With others I would sneak to the village to buy sweet sherry sold from a large barrel into whatever receptacle we could find, get drunk in a field and make comments about the size of a grazing horse’s dick – trying to break the gossamer threads tying me to the Church.
I left school and within 9 months was engaged and subsequently married in my teens. My husband converted to Catholicism in order that our children could start at the local Convent. It was by far the best school in the area. He seemed to think it was a glamorous thing to do. The children stayed there for about a year and subsequently I never imposed religion on any of them again.
Religion became an anathema to me and freed by a painful and cruel divorce I began a new life where I finally rid myself of its oppression. I remarried – a man devoid of religion, although spiritual, and continued on our lives.
I could attend church for weddings, funerals etc. when invited but I felt devoid of religious feeling. The strange osmosis smell of churches remained and at times I felt oppressed, others comforted. My epiphany back to religion came with the death of a young family member at the most celebratory of times – Christmas Eve. A totally avoidable death caused by ineptitude of medical staff who advised him to visit Drop In Centres when he should have been receiving life saving treatment.
I found myself a few days after their death in church, crying but comforted by its strong presence. Drawn at that time back to the folds of familiarity, wanting to believe, uttering the mass automatically. People used to ask me, “how can you say there is a God”? My answer – there is good and bad in this world and on that occasion bad won. I subsequently went back to regular attendance and became involved in the whole Church life. That was until I decided to join Ashley Madison to seek out an affair for the purpose of sex – joyous abundant sex that opened my eyes to the variations of sex and kinks; something totally wrong in the eyes of the church to seek another for sex and scream inducing, visceral orgasmic sex.
As readers of my extinct blog would know I have three main lovers I call my “triumvirate.” Plus ad hoc lovers, certainly something the Church would disagree with. Coupled with the fact that as the years rolled on there was a lot of Church teachings I totally disagreed with. I also have an annoyance at living with my mother, post her divorce. Regularly when returning home I find an empty bottle of wine she had shared with the Parish Priest. I grew a distain to the hypocrisy and the lack of practice what I preach.
So back to May’s post, her honest searing account of fornication in a Church. The powerful image she portrays in her writing means I can imagine the scene. The wood pews seasoned by worshipers across the years; the thread worn lovingly crossed stitched faded kneeling pads; the smell of Church; the coolness of the air; the dark secrets that appear to be hidden in each nook and cranny; the sense of propriety; the sense of religion; people bent with their head in prayer, their honest belief.
I can see her story. the dappled light working its way through the stained glass windows illuminated the raw fucking going on within. Envying the squirting – something I have yet to achieve, yet I find myself wincing, enjoying the writing but wanting to read between the fingers covering my face.
I know why, despite the brilliance of her writing, the beauty of her outfit, I just sense it is wrong. Even now I never have and never will wear jeans in a Church. It is inbuilt in me. Not meaning I am veiled in the wispy black lace worn by some, but respectful of what has been an oppressive but also comforting and enlightening presence in my life. I find myself shocked at the audacity and questioning whether this is a form of blasphemy. That bodily fluid is staining the seats of the righteous. That cock is offered for a mouth as if it was an offertory.
I know that despite my breaking free there is still an invisible thread binding me. I cannot totally shake of the shackles. This means sacred places deserve respect and are not places to be desecrated as a venue for our lust for sex. But I admire May’s ability to be released from the omnipresence of Catholicism that has blighted my life.
Best, Lapsed Catholic
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