My mother was religiously insane. Her entire identity was “catholic.” Her family was from Northern Ireland where religion defines your life (and death). She was a strident, adamant catholic who was clearly superior to all others, including other Catholics.
My father’s sister and family lived next door. They did not regularly attend church, except Easter Sunday & Christmas Eve. My mother hated them. Across the street was a family my mother knew from childhood. The wife was catholic, the husband was not.
“I remember when he was missing in action in WW2,” my mother said. “She ran to the church and begged god to spare his life. She promised she’d never miss mass again. She promised they’d get married in the Catholic Church. What happened? He came home and they immediately got married in a Protestant church. Hmph! Lying bitch. That’s how she repaid god for answering her prayers.”
My mother wouldn’t even go out in her front yard to water flowers I planted for her “because that bitch will see me and coming running over to talk to me. I don’t want to talk to her!”
You can see how lovingly my mother behaved in her religiosity. She wouldn’t send me to college because Marxist Jewish professors would turn me into an atheist. I was already an atheist. Years of mandatory fasting, church going, stations of the fucking cross, holy days of obligation.
No breakfast on Sunday! You have to get communion!
You have to go out in the rain to get to confession!
It’s First Friday of month! You can’t have breakfast because your class will be going to church and you’ll need to get communion!
No meat on Fridays!
“No breakfast! It’s a Holy Day of Obligation!” Other people got to sleep in on holidays. But I had to go to 7am mass the day after Halloween and on New Year’s Day. The church ruined everything about life. It stamped out happiness, it shit on relaxation, it sucked money out of families.
We have to go to Salvation Army to buy you a pair of used shoes for 25¢!
“Why do I have to wear used shoes with thin soles? You give money to the church collection plate twice during mass and sometimes there’s a third collection and you give them a check! Why can’t we use some of that money for new shoes?” (Full on slap to the face for that).
The last time I was in a church was for her damned funeral.
Oh and she never visited anyone’s grave because it was pointless. Once she made sure a relative heard when she smugly laughed to her sister. “Oh John tells me he visits our sister’s grave once a week and he talks to her, brings her flowers and tidies her grave. Hmph! Of course I didn’t say to him ‘You’re wasting your goddamned time. She’s not there. Nobody’s there, just an empty shell. Your spirit leaves your body. And of course, she probably didn’t go to heaven because she’s not buried in consecrated ground.” Her sister had married a Protestant and converted. She was buried in a non denominational cemetery.
So that’s my experience with religion. It was a bludgeon to control, punish and feel superior to others because “mine is the right religion.”