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Goodbye Jesus

Excommunicated


barbiebrains100

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Okay, this is going to sound completely insane but here goes...

 

I have been an atheist for six years. My husband (also an atheist) and I found ourselves recently in a very difficult situation concerning a pregnancy and we decided to terminate. I was raised Catholic, EXTREME Catholic, and although I am an atheist, I am FURIOUS at a church that would judge women who terminate pregnancies (like me) so harshly while allowing pedophiles to continue to hurt children. My husband says that I should not let the Roman Catholic Church play in my emotional backfield but they were a huge part of my indoctrination as a child.

 

My question: even when you are an atheist and have de-converted, can the power of a former institution be so powerful that it elicits emotional, albeit angry, responses from you? Do you eventually let the rage go? Should you be in touch with that rage in order to be an effective activist? I'm wondering....

 

Barbie :-)

 

http://extracrispycheesuscrust.blogspot.com/

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Goodbye Jesus

I cannot put myself in your situation or even begin to understand what you're going through. I'm sure the guilt from the termination itself is more than enough without the Roman Catholic doomsaying voices in the background to amplify.

 

I become frustrated and even angry sometimes when people so blatantly refuse to be honest and to face up to the truth, but I think you're "looking for" anger on a deeper, more personal level.

 

I become angry when Christians use threats of hell and eternal torment to try to scare me into re-converting (or the "Jeezuz loves you!" for that matter), not only because it's a shameless attempt to emotionally manipulate me (and whoever else is listening) into performing a change of my mind, but their ignorance even their own holy book, which claims that such a change of mind is impossible.

 

I am, by biblical standards, unsaveable, inconvertable, so I hope they'll at least read their own "holy and infallible" texts at some point and realize that it is a futile thing to try to convert me. Their "almighty god" can't re-convert apostates, apparently. How pitiful.

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My question: even when you are an atheist and have de-converted, can the power of a former institution be so powerful that it elicits emotional, albeit angry, responses from you?

 

Absofuckinglutely.

 

Xianity in its myriad forms is woven tightly into the fabric of this culture and the consciousness of its members. If you were raised with an active version of it, it's going to be implanted in your psyche whether you like it or not; and it's really really hard to extricate something so deeply ingrained. The bible authors knew what they were talking about when they wrote Proverbs 22:6: "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

 

In other words, if you want people to stick with religion, brainwash them when they're young.

 

I think there's plenty of reason to be angry about that, and plenty of reason to be angry about some of the attitudes and beliefs that religion helps perpetuate. "Love your neighbor" is pretty cool, for instance, but "women are inferior" and "gays are an abomination" are total crap.

 

I don't know if anger is essential to effective activism, but in my own life I've found that anger is often a signal that someone has violated my boundaries or done harm to me or someone I care about. Focused anger can be quite effective for getting things done. Blind rage, on the other hand, is largely destructive, to oneself or to others.

 

I've got a couple of articles on my blog about atheists and anger, located here and here, if you feel like persuing more of my not even remotely humble opinion on the matter.

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Guest eejay

Personally, I hold a very deep rooted feeling of despise for the RCC and fundamentalist churches. I have been away from these churches for quite a long time, and I still have bouts of anger over certain things. Usually it's related to people in my life who still hold these beliefs and still try to push them on me. Or something that happens that is a potential to violate my rights as a person. Being a single female, I face a lot of discrimination, and that usually comes from religious beliefs, where women are expected to be second class. Those sort of things will usually sitr up some anger. Like your abortion for instance, I wholly support a women's right to make that choice. I would imagine for many women, it is not an easy choice but often, due to circumastances, may be the best thing. I don't think anybody from any religious organization has a right to push a guilt trip on women who make that decision, or tel them they are bad and going to hell. When the religious groups attempt to turn our laws around and turn the clock back on what progress women have made, yeah things like that will stir some outrage. When the churches single out homosexuality and make those people out to be evil, that stirs some outrage. If the churches could manage to have their beliefs, not affect our laws and freedoms, then I don't personally think they could piss me off half as much.

As far as, do I let the rage go? I guess it can stew in me for a while sometimes. But I think it's healthy to say your angry, and blow ouff steam. Then you can let it go.

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My husband says that I should not let...

 

Incidentally, I think it worth pointing out that it's easy to tell someone else how they should or shouldn't feel, when you don't have the same perspective or experience that they do.

 

I have a huge problem with it when someone uses those words "should" and "let", when it comes to how I feel, because I've found that they come most often when I'm trying to explain how I feel after being violated, harmed, abused, or otherwise subjected to some injustice or other. I find that the "you shouldn't let X bother you" tactic is usually an attempt to blame the victim and get them to shut up, all at the same time. In the best of circumstances, it simply comes from a lack of understanding, but it's still judgmental and dismissive.

 

Maybe your spouse thinks your religious brainwashing shouldn't bother you - but why not? Doesn't it bother him, that his wife was mindraped by religion? Why not? Does he not care?

 

The point here is not to vilify your spouse; he's simply serving as a potential example. My point is that there are some things, I think, that people really should be bothered about. Things like brainwashing, abuse, rape, serious violations of civil rights, body integrity, stuff like that.

 

Another point is that you're going to feel about it whatever you're going to feel, and you have every right to those emotions. Nobody gets to tell you not to feel something. You'll just feel it until you're done feeling it.

 

Anyway. Just some more thoughts.

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I would feel extremely sad if the Mormon church excommunicated me. I haven't held the beliefs that most Mormons do for more than ten years, but still, I did not leave with bitterness, and I would feel hurt in response to an institutional rejection of my own life as moral. To some degree, your husband might have a point in advising that you not let it get to you, because if we do, the amount of hurt that an institution can deal out is almost infinite. That doesn't mean we should try to ignore what meaning they still have and the hurt they can still cause us. Sure, we don't want that hurt or anger to control us, but if it fuels you in activism, I'd call that a good thing.

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My husband says that I should not let...

 

Incidentally, I think it worth pointing out that it's easy to tell someone else how they should or shouldn't feel, when you don't have the same perspective or experience that they do.

 

I have a huge problem with it when someone uses those words "should" and "let", when it comes to how I feel, because I've found that they come most often when I'm trying to explain how I feel after being violated, harmed, abused, or otherwise subjected to some injustice or other. I find that the "you shouldn't let X bother you" tactic is usually an attempt to blame the victim and get them to shut up, all at the same time. In the best of circumstances, it simply comes from a lack of understanding, but it's still judgmental and dismissive.

 

Maybe your spouse thinks your religious brainwashing shouldn't bother you - but why not? Doesn't it bother him, that his wife was mindraped by religion? Why not? Does he not care?

 

The point here is not to vilify your spouse; he's simply serving as a potential example. My point is that there are some things, I think, that people really should be bothered about. Things like brainwashing, abuse, rape, serious violations of civil rights, body integrity, stuff like that.

 

Another point is that you're going to feel about it whatever you're going to feel, and you have every right to those emotions. Nobody gets to tell you not to feel something. You'll just feel it until you're done feeling it.

 

Anyway. Just some more thoughts.

Thank you so much for the input. Although I consider myself an atheist, I am only now facing the emotional damage from years of unnecessary mental torment and brainwashing. When you are outside the delusion, you begin to see the scars. Some of us went through so much gratuitous pain in the name of religion. Thanks again!

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Welcome, Barbie.

 

I don't think there is anything unusual or unjustified about your reaction. I may have a pretty good idea where you're coming from: the prognosis for my son was very scary. My wife and I had a VERY tough decision to make as to whether to abort the pregnancy or not. We did not abort, but it was a very close decision: if some test results had been different, or the news and outlook a little worse we would have terminated the pregnancy (and of course would have had nothing to feel guilty about). So I know something of both the feelings that surround an event like this, and the betrayal of figuring out your religion is not just a crock, but a caustic, sinister one at that. Six years after deconversion isn't THAT long when it comes to something like this!

 

Suppose you were to think of some injustices of a competing religion outside your previous religious tradition (or it were to come up in conversation). If you're like me, you would still admit a sense of outrage, but it just wouldn't be PERSONAL, nor could there be the potential for any personal trauma having lived through the competing cult's indoctrination. The outrage is justified: it IS unconscionable to condemn abortions so, while tacitly tolerating pedophilia within their own ranks.

 

I think there is a difference between not moving on, and acknowledging a certain outrage over something that will always be part of your past. Does the outrage consume you? Does it interfere with living life to the fullest in the here and now? Does it negatively impact your current life? Does it still rob you of a healthy perspective and healthy mechanisms for dealing with your own situation? If so, you still have more work ahead of you, more healing in the aftermath of escaping the cult. If not, you are merely experiencing a justified sense of outrage.

 

This in nothing more than sheer, wild speculation, and I could certainly be wrong, but I'm guessing that your husband was raised in a house where there was low religious emphasis (possibly by atheist parents). "Never been xian" atheists seem to have more difficulty wrapping their heads around these sorts dynamics that play out for us apostates. He still seems like a good, caring guy to me, who quite sensibly, doesn't want to see you experience further trauma from the legacy of the RCC. And I guess that's the essence of it: even recognizing it's an outrage, we can work past the trauma.

 

Oh, and by the way, that didn't sound insane at all.

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Thanks all for the replies. I guess that leaving gawd and the RCC was not enough....After deprogramming, the emotional scars and abuse are still there. Even now it is hard for me not to lash out...I suspect that many who snap out of the gawd-spell have to deal with some measure of anger. Many thanks!

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Welcome, Barbie.

 

I don't think there is anything unusual or unjustified about your reaction. I may have a pretty good idea where you're coming from: the prognosis for my son was very scary. My wife and I had a VERY tough decision to make as to whether to abort the pregnancy or not. We did not abort, but it was a very close decision: if some test results had been different, or the news and outlook a little worse we would have terminated the pregnancy (and of course would have had nothing to feel guilty about). So I know something of both the feelings that surround an event like this, and the betrayal of figuring out your religion is not just a crock, but a caustic, sinister one at that. Six years after deconversion isn't THAT long when it comes to something like this!

 

Suppose you were to think of some injustices of a competing religion outside your previous religious tradition (or it were to come up in conversation). If you're like me, you would still admit a sense of outrage, but it just wouldn't be PERSONAL, nor could there be the potential for any personal trauma having lived through the competing cult's indoctrination. The outrage is justified: it IS unconscionable to condemn abortions so, while tacitly tolerating pedophilia within their own ranks.

 

I think there is a difference between not moving on, and acknowledging a certain outrage over something that will always be part of your past. Does the outrage consume you? Does it interfere with living life to the fullest in the here and now? Does it negatively impact your current life? Does it still rob you of a healthy perspective and healthy mechanisms for dealing with your own situation? If so, you still have more work ahead of you, more healing in the aftermath of escaping the cult. If not, you are merely experiencing a justified sense of outrage.

 

This in nothing more than sheer, wild speculation, and I could certainly be wrong, but I'm guessing that your husband was raised in a house where there was low religious emphasis (possibly by atheist parents). "Never been xian" atheists seem to have more difficulty wrapping their heads around these sorts dynamics that play out for us apostates. He still seems like a good, caring guy to me, who quite sensibly, doesn't want to see you experience further trauma from the legacy of the RCC. And I guess that's the essence of it: even recognizing it's an outrage, we can work past the trauma.

 

Oh, and by the way, that didn't sound insane at all.

Shackled: Thanks so much...You hit the nail on the head: my husband was not raised in a religious household and cannot understand the emotional/mental abuse from a strict RCC upbringing. It is only now that I am beginning to see the RCC as a cult...Yes, I still have A LOT of work to do on the anger issue...but I suspect it is part of letting go and entering into shock over the paradigm shift. Still, I would rather deal with the emotional fallout from years of brainwashing than continue in a state of utter delusion. Thanks!

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I would say so. I grew up in a fundy Lutheran church and school, and I know I still have issues because of them. Churches can be very abusive organizations.

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Welcome, bb.

 

The RCC did not struggle, as you and your husband did, over all aspects of the decision you two needed to make.

 

The RCC did not talk into the night, weep, wonder, reflect, project, dread, reason or go through the actual physical and emotional ordeal of the termination.

 

The RCC, ruled by pink-skinned white-haired craven old men, was not pregnant.

 

All the RCC deserves from you is the equivalent of, "You can't fire me; I quit!" (And you did... years ago.)

 

The RCC is pissed with you, not for the reasons it espouses, but because you robbed it of a potential source of bragging rights and income growth. Be angry, hurt, outraged, and all you need to be for as long as you need to be, then you'll probably reach the conclusion that the RCC, for what it did to you in the past and what it's done to you now, is beneath your contempt.

 

My sympathies and concern go out to you for this travesty, injustice, and wounding they've visited on you.

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Okay, this is going to sound completely insane but here goes...

 

I have been an atheist for six years. My husband (also an atheist) and I found ourselves recently in a very difficult situation concerning a pregnancy and we decided to terminate.

When my wife got pregnant it went horribly wrong and the baby was basically dead. This was just about the time I came to this site. She had to essentially go through an abortion and even though I no longer believed by then (for some time actually) the process still haunted me though I wasn't really aware of it until a bit later (I was caught up it a lot of things at that time).

 

I was raised Catholic, EXTREME Catholic, and although I am an atheist, I am FURIOUS at a church that would judge women who terminate pregnancies (like me) so harshly while allowing pedophiles to continue to hurt children. My husband says that I should not let the Roman Catholic Church play in my emotional backfield but they were a huge part of my indoctrination as a child.

So be angry. :)

 

I understand what your husband is saying but I think he's saying it the wrong way and/or doesn't really understand what it is you're going through and as such can't empathize. I hope so because...well...nevermind. :) Let's just hope he's not quite communicating things right.

 

If it were only so easy to move past things that were a part of our lives. Some people can do it. Others can't I was born and raised Lutheran but it was my later Baptist schooling that really got its teeth in me as I discovered. Even though I never really seemed to show it when it all came to the surface and I had to deal with it my wife just seemed to do everything in her power to make it worse (and remind me that she never noticed this or that in my upbringing...never mind we met in our early 20's).

 

My question: even when you are an atheist and have de-converted, can the power of a former institution be so powerful that it elicits emotional, albeit angry, responses from you? Do you eventually let the rage go? Should you be in touch with that rage in order to be an effective activist? I'm wondering....

After the reading the above you should get the sense that the answer to all this is "yes." An empathic "yes" at that. I'm mostly over it but every so often something will set me off that I didn't expect though. I'm not sure what you mean by "activist" though. Sorry. I would say you need to get a handle on your rage since rarely does a person actually think as well as they believe they do while they are "raging." It's also not good for you physically. It takes its toll (I lived in a state of rage for nearly all of 2005 and it was draining emotionally and physically...it was also very contradictory to my usual nature so it's nice to be easy going again :) ).

 

mwc

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Okay, this is going to sound completely insane but here goes...

 

I have been an atheist for six years. My husband (also an atheist) and I found ourselves recently in a very difficult situation concerning a pregnancy and we decided to terminate. I was raised Catholic, EXTREME Catholic, and although I am an atheist, I am FURIOUS at a church that would judge women who terminate pregnancies (like me) so harshly while allowing pedophiles to continue to hurt children. My husband says that I should not let the Roman Catholic Church play in my emotional backfield but they were a huge part of my indoctrination as a child.

 

My question: even when you are an atheist and have de-converted, can the power of a former institution be so powerful that it elicits emotional, albeit angry, responses from you? Do you eventually let the rage go? Should you be in touch with that rage in order to be an effective activist? I'm wondering....

 

Barbie :-)

 

http://extracrispycheesuscrust.blogspot.com/

Some others have hit it very well, but I'll add a bit as well. Absolutely Xianity can, even post deconversion, bring out a lot of anger, and in a lot of different ways. I've run the gambit from angry at myself for being suckered in to being angry at them for getting me as a kid to being generically angry because they're so vocal and prominent.

 

But, you can let it go. It might take a lot of time, and for me, it took interacting on a sprituality/religion board and having enough exposure to Christians that aren't just horrible people to realize that, like anything else in the Universe, Xianity exists on a continuum. There are some good people that just happen to be Christian, and some really bad people that are, as well. Once I was able to internalize some of that, I came to realize that a) The future is mine. I may have fucked up in the past, but I'm not that person anymore, B) rather than wasting energy being angry with myself or Xianity, I should focus on countering the bad people that are Xians, and c) that I am not weak.

 

The beautiful thing about the Universe, and the dirty little secret Xians don't want you to know, is that we're all individuals. Having said that, I'm not going to presume to tell you your rage is good, bad, or indifferent. If you can channel it and do some good with that fuel, bravo. If you can vent it and overcome it and defeat it and find peace, bravo. The absolute important thing is that you DO NOT let it consume you.

 

*hugs*

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There really isn't anything i can say that others haven't already. But i believe all exchristians can say they harbor anger from mostly being led to believe a bunch of lies and fairy tales their whole lives. You stop and wonder what could have been if you had broken away sooner, all that you have missed out in life that you could have done had you not been shackled in the dungeon of bullshit. This site is perfect for letting untold years worth of anger out.

 

Oh, and welcome to the boards.:)

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Thanks...You are right...it is not about my abortion or medical issues, it is about their church, their rules and their control. I will be angry for a long time but hopefully will arrive at a point where they are beneath my contempt.

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Okay, this is going to sound completely insane but here goes...

 

I have been an atheist for six years. My husband (also an atheist) and I found ourselves recently in a very difficult situation concerning a pregnancy and we decided to terminate. I was raised Catholic, EXTREME Catholic, and although I am an atheist, I am FURIOUS at a church that would judge women who terminate pregnancies (like me) so harshly while allowing pedophiles to continue to hurt children. My husband says that I should not let the Roman Catholic Church play in my emotional backfield but they were a huge part of my indoctrination as a child.

 

My question: even when you are an atheist and have de-converted, can the power of a former institution be so powerful that it elicits emotional, albeit angry, responses from you? Do you eventually let the rage go? Should you be in touch with that rage in order to be an effective activist? I'm wondering....

 

Barbie :-)

 

http://extracrispycheesuscrust.blogspot.com/

Some others have hit it very well, but I'll add a bit as well. Absolutely Xianity can, even post deconversion, bring out a lot of anger, and in a lot of different ways. I've run the gambit from angry at myself for being suckered in to being angry at them for getting me as a kid to being generically angry because they're so vocal and prominent.

 

But, you can let it go. It might take a lot of time, and for me, it took interacting on a sprituality/religion board and having enough exposure to Christians that aren't just horrible people to realize that, like anything else in the Universe, Xianity exists on a continuum. There are some good people that just happen to be Christian, and some really bad people that are, as well. Once I was able to internalize some of that, I came to realize that a) The future is mine. I may have fucked up in the past, but I'm not that person anymore, B) rather than wasting energy being angry with myself or Xianity, I should focus on countering the bad people that are Xians, and c) that I am not weak.

 

The beautiful thing about the Universe, and the dirty little secret Xians don't want you to know, is that we're all individuals. Having said that, I'm not going to presume to tell you your rage is good, bad, or indifferent. If you can channel it and do some good with that fuel, bravo. If you can vent it and overcome it and defeat it and find peace, bravo. The absolute important thing is that you DO NOT let it consume you.

 

*hugs*

Thanks! Anger is just part of the process of letting go and it will haunt me only if I let it.

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Barbie,

 

If the churches I used to belong to had decided to excommunicate me, I would consider it an honor....LOL....except Baptist Churches like I was in are too much wimps to do such a thing. They are just trying to brag too much to each other about the members on their church roles... As I would see it, at least your worst enemy institution had the balls to excommunicate you. They have done you a favor.

 

 

Burnedout,

 

Now that cracked me up! What a way to look at my situation...LOL!!! I did some research and found a list of people excommunicated by the RCC throughout the ages...The only way for me to be "forgiven" is to beg a bishop to give me absolution...HAH...They did me a favor. Interesting: none of the Nazis who happened to belong to the RCC were ever excommunicated and neither were dictators like Chile's Pinochet...but a woman who ends a pregnancy is automatically kicked out. I'm in good company with Fidel Castro, LOL!!!

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_peopl...Catholic_Church

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Hello Barbie,

 

Guess who is not on the list? Adolf Hitler, he was born and raised Catholic but has never been excommunicated.

 

Let me see if I understand this correctly: Terminating a pregnancy is an offense for excommunication, though murdering actual people, even millions is not? They put more value on invented people rather than real live human beings?

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My question: even when you are an atheist and have de-converted, can the power of a former institution be so powerful that it elicits emotional, albeit angry, responses from you? Do you eventually let the rage go?

 

Hi Barbie,

 

I found this site about three years ago after I'd already been an atheist for roughly 10 years. Initially I surprised myself by how much emotion the subjects discussed here stired up in me. While I had not been to a church in years and while I had essentially left all religious thought behind me long ago, it turned out that I had oodles of issues boiling below the surface; including a great deal of anger that would surface when christians would come on this board to try and reconvert us or tell us we were never truly sincere in our former faith.

 

After a few months I pretty much worked all that anger out of my system by posting here and reading other's responses. I remained at this site long after the issues were finally put to bed just because I like the company here and to from time give an encouraging word to others.

 

I don't know what will work for you, but I think based on my own experience that you can and will leave behind the anger even if the disgust for your former beliefs never quite go away.

 

That said, I don't think you should take your husband's advice and ignore your anger. It's telling you something. You need to face it in some way so that you can deal with it and get rid of it. Otherwise it's always going to be there below the surface. If your husband was never very serious about his former beliefs he likely has trouble empathizing with you on this issue.

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Apparently, having an abortion is one of the easiest ways to get excommunicated. Apostasy is also supposed to be excommunicatable, so technically every ex-catholic here qualifies, but according to the article below, it takes some work to get excommunicated on the grounds of apostasy.

 

Here's the link I found on strategies to deliberately get excommunicated: http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/excommunication.htm

 

I was just musing over the irony that "repenting" and going to confession telling a priest my list of excommunicatable "sins," (while not likely to result in an actual excommunication) would theoretically put me on the radar! "Bless me father for I have 'sinned.' It has been 36 years since my last confession. These are my 'sins:' I have missed mass approximately 1,872 times, I have fully renounced a belief in god, I have publicly attested to my apostasy on ex-christian.net, etc." I'm sure the priest would be sure I had a well worn rosary by the time I finished my penance!

 

Good observations from Burned and Taph. Excommunication from such an organization could be viewed as an honor.

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I have a question since I was not Catholic. How do they know? Is it an honor thing? Unless someone rats you out, than how would they know?

 

Just wondering.

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Hello Barbie,

 

Guess who is not on the list? Adolf Hitler, he was born and raised Catholic but has never been excommunicated.

 

Let me see if I understand this correctly: Terminating a pregnancy is an offense for excommunication, though murdering actual people, even millions is not? They put more value on invented people rather than real live human beings?

 

Thanks for the response:

 

Yes...the RCC has always tended to side with the most brutal right-wing dictatorships. Power brokers that cater to the RCC's political needs (Duvalier, Pinochet, Hitler, etc.) are always excused. It is women like myself who end up in their little black book and have to beg a bishop (not an ordinary priest) for absolution for sins. They would probably be more forgiving of Dr. Mengele. It is all about control and power. They really disgust me to no end!

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I have a question since I was not Catholic. How do they know? Is it an honor thing? Unless someone rats you out, than how would they know?

 

Just wondering.

 

 

As I understand it, you are on the honor system. You cannot receive the sacraments and absolution can only come from a bishop; not from an ordinary priest. If you are a theologian or a person of influence, you are asked to cease and desist from your erroneous ways and then you are formally excommunicated if you fail to comply. An example of this would be the Jesuits who espoused Liberation Theology in Central America. If you are a female who terminates a pregnancy, you are automatically excommunicated as well as anyone who helps you obtain the abortion. Hope this answers your question... :-)

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I have a question since I was not Catholic. How do they know? Is it an honor thing? Unless someone rats you out, than how would they know?

 

Just wondering.

 

If you are a female who terminates a pregnancy, you are automatically excommunicated as well as anyone who helps you obtain the abortion. Hope this answers your question... :-)

 

Very true.

 

Fellow ex-catholic here. I get mad at the chruch ALL THE TIME. I was not angry when i first deconverted, but over time I felt increasingly that I had been tricked into so much, some examples include being anti-choice because I was fed prolife propaganda from all sides and anti gay rights for the same reason - both of which i am fortunately now long past.

 

They don't know and won't unless someone tells. If you ask me its the perfect example of xtian hypocrisy.

I knew a guy who helped pay for his gf's abortion, told his priest some time later during confession thinking he'd be forgiven, but the priest had him excommunicated practically on the spot.

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