Needless to say it was unadulterated sanctimonious claptrap, but it did get me thinking about my own upbringing and how practically everything apart from breathing was considered "sinful"
I was obsessed with being good! Hardly surprising really when you consider, as I have recounted many times, how I was told aged 5 to kneel and pray for a cousin of mine to die! His "sin" was to be intent on marrying a divorcee, and his Mother(my Aunt) was told by her priest that he would be better off dead than living in "sin" So we were all told to kneel and pray for a "happy death" for Ted.
So all of my growing up years I was quite convinced that people would be praying for me to die every time I committed a "sin" (which seemed almost all of the time) It was really quite terrifying, which of course was the object of the exercise! To keep us terrified and in constant fear of hell fire and damnation.The idea that I was born a "sinner" was drummed in at every turn!
The whole concept of "sin" is cruel and appalling and to feed this kind of fear in tiny children is REAL child abuse.
I was given the image that each time I "sinned" it was like going up to the baby Jesus in his pram and SLAPPING his face really hard (this was accompanied by loud slapping and gestures!) And not only that, but even when his beautiful brown eyes were full of tears, I went and SLAPPED him again!!
GUILT GUILT GUILT poured on in bucket-loads! I always felt lower than a snake's belly in the grass!
Then of course there was the whole image of having those "stains of sin" on my soul, which wouldn't come off., no matter how much you scrubbed. (no doubt the beginnings of one of my later self harming habits where I scrubbed and scrubbed till I bled!)
The "get out of hell" clause was of course the confessional! That horrifying of places where the priest hiding behind a grill listens to your every sin of "thought word and deed" and then gives you a penance as he absolves you from those terrible sins!
The implications for that are massive! Not only is he listening to everyone's innermost thoughts and fears, he is identifying who you are! Who comes from a family that doesn't protect them or who are so priest obsessed that the child will always be sacrificial. He knows who has not paid their taxes, missed going to mass, committed adultery, is maybe into the same fetishes as he is, and as he listens to children's accounts early sexual "fumblings" who knows what he is doing on the other side of that grill!
It is a grooming box of sickening power abuse possibilities.
And then there is the "sin" hierarchy! There are "mortal sins" which send you packing off to hell pretty damn quick (unless you have told the man behind the grill!)
There are "venial sins" which don't condemn you to hell but give you a bit of time in purgatory (unless you have told the man behind the grill of course! or maybe if you have followed the pope on 'twitter" apparently that will get you a bit of time off purgatory!)
Then there are "sins of omission" which are the ones you have NOT told the man behind the grill!
I remember having discussions with other kids, about wether something they were doing was a "sin" or not! If it wasn't on the "list" it must be ok, no matter how unpleasant it actually was.
The catholic church is the antithesis of good!