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Dutchess_III's avatar

Why would someone go and tattle on my mom to the Roman Catholic Church?

Asked by Dutchess_III (44650points) June 23rd, 2017

Mom was raised Catholic, and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Huge family.
She met and married my dad, who was from Texas. If he had to claim any religion it would be Casually Methodist.
One thing led to another, and ultimately we all wound up in Kansas, far away from her Catholic family in the Pacific Northwest.

After they’d been married 10 years, and had 3 kids, Mom received a letter from The Church stating that they did not recognize her marriage because Dad had been married for about 6 months, right after high school. They excommunicated her.

For the church to find all this out, someone, a family member up north, had to have tattled.

Why the hell would anyone do that?

BTW, she told the church to go to hell, and walked away from that religion. It really shook her up, though. I think it made her question everything, but she never shared it with us.

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23 Answers

snowberry's avatar

Dutch, It’s called gossip. Some folks are just mean mean people. I’m sorry that happened.

My mom had something somewhat similar happen to her. She grew up in a tiny farming community. Everyone there was Mormon. When she was about 15, she went to live with a cousin who was bedridden for the majority of her pregnancy. She went to help take care of the older children. When she returned home, the local gossip had it that “Betty got pregnant and had to go away to have a baby.” It destroyed her, and in some ways I don’t think she ever recovered. After she graduated high school (as class valedictorian) she moved away from there as fast as she could. Those were mean irresponsible people.

But don’t think that religious people are the only mean ones. There are plenty in every community.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I don’t think anyone could say it better, @snowberry.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I am going to agree I think @snowberry nailed it spot on.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree. But to go out of their way 12 years after the fact? Were they hoping for some heavenly prize in the end? >_<.

That was such a sad story @snowberry. I agree. Some people are just mean spirited.
And not just religious ones. I think maybe they aren’t very smart and are unhappy and angry.

Zaku's avatar

Could have been the ex wife, or anyone who was holding a grudge and very revenge- and/or rule-oriented.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

What you describe in Catholic dogma is Fraternal Correction (gone bad). Each Catholic has an obligation to correct his or her neighbor if they know they’ve committed a mortal sin. In other words, it is a mortal sin for a Catholic not to correct their neighbor. And, as most of you know, dying with a mortal sin on one’s soul is a ticket straight to hell.

This is real old school shit.

Your mother committed a mortal sin, and continued to live in mortal sin, by marrying and staying married to your father, a non-Catholic. The sin was compounded by bringing children into the world who were not baptised as Catholics. Baptising them as Catholics was impossible because the marriage itself was a sin. So, your mom basically was up shit’s creek as far as the Church was concerned.

Enter a deeply religious Catholic family member who actually knows this shit. They knew that by standing by silently and letting your mother continue to live in sin, and raise her children in sin, was a mortal sin. If that person didn/t rat your mother out, they, too, would be living in mortal sin and risk going to hell. A confession and a couple of Our Fathers and Hail Marys won’t undue something like this. This is a sin that can be only corrected by Fraternal Correction.

So, that’s why she was ratted out, probably to a priest who then was obligated to inform Rome that one of their own had married outside of the Church without first asking permission and attempting to convert their spouse before the marriage took place.

But the idiot who ratted your mom out went a bit too far. The only real obligation is to inform the sinner of the law (which most young catholics are aware of anyway). Then the chips fall where they may. The obligation is satisfied. But they didn’t do that, evidently. They went to a priest.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ Zaku, ex was named Trixie. They were married for 6 months at, like, 18 years of age. In Texas. 10 years before Mom met Dad. Somehow I don’t see ” Trixie” holding a big enough grudge to go through what she’d have to go through, with the limited resources available in the 50s and 60s to find out who my dad married after going in the Navy, if she even knew he did that, then moving all over the country and to learn who my mom was, much less that she was a non practicing Catholic! No. It had to be a family member of hers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus I figured it was something convoluted like that! So what was she supposed to do? Get a divorce? Another mortal sin!

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

No. She was supposed to insist your father convert to Catholicism before the marriage took place, then marry him in the Church. Then she was supposed to see that all her children were baptised Catholic ASAP after birth, or be guilty of more mortal sins that could not be revoked until she met these obligatons in order. She permanently damned herself by living in sin and producing children outside of the Church. Too late to go back once you’ve married outside the Church.

For one to convert, it takes about a year of intense instruction by a priest to school the non-Cathollic in the rites, laws and catechism of the Church. They are tested academically, then usually sent on a retreat where it is judged whether or not the non-Catholic is sincere and the teaching took hold. It’s also a very expensive process.

If your father refused, the marriage would not be sanctioned within the Church, your mother would face excommunicaton and damned to hell forever and all her children would be born in mortal sin on top of original sin that only a Catholic baptism in adulthood could remedy. In the eyes of the Church, your mother damned you all to hell and became a non-entity while on earth.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well. Shit. ! I’m screwed! WHAT a cluster!

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

LOL. Only if you buy the bullshit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If I buy it can I return it and get my money back?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

LOL. No Refunds!

Actually, there are a couple of loopholes. Your mother could have gone to a prince of the Church, a bishop, or somebody higher, and beg forgiveness. It’s a process. Suplication in mind and spirit. Forgiveness could be granted if your father agreed to conversion after the fact and your mom would also have to pay a heavy penance for this very serious transgression. After your father’s conversion, a Catholic marriage could take place and all the children could then be baptised. But there would be a shitload of obligation to pay before this could happen.

As for you, you can begin the process of conversion as an adult practicing free will, get baptized into the Church, which would remove both the original sin of Adam and Eve and the mortal sin placed upon you, aka the “stain”, by your mother’s actions. Once you are a Catholic, your prayers for your mother’s soul will be heard by God.

I’m not sure how this works, because now we are getting into the mysteries and mysticism of the Church. But if all her children convert of their own free will and remain good practicing Catholics all their lives, pray for their mother’s soul, have annual requiem masses said for her, etc, there is a chance she could trade her condo in hell for better real estate in purgatory. Then, maybe in a couple of thousand years, she’ll finally be admitted to the great Catholic country club in the sky.

Basically, the damage she caused by her actions must be undone. If all the children become practicing, card carrying Catholics, the greater sin of producing children outside of the Church is undone.

This is something for a Jesuit to answer. Besides being the teachers of the dogma, they are also the lawyers of the Church. They can explain this stuff and take the case to Rome for reconsideration. Only wealthy people bother with it. Most Catholics don’t take this stuff seriously anymore.

The deal is to live a good life as a good person and everything will be OK. Most the practicing Catholics I know believe this. And I suspect the present Pope, a Jesuit egalitarian, does as well.

I find it all very interesting, but take it no more seriously than I do Greek mythology—as I’m sure you do as well.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

And they say muslims are complicated?
I think all this religion crap is beyond weird ,guess I am going straight down when I bite the big one.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

LOL. Blame it on the aptly named Age of Enlightenment.

snowberry's avatar

Thanks. That’s really an eye opener, @Espiritus_Corvus.

As for my mother, the gossip chain went something like this: Betty was going somewhere. It had to do with a baby. What reason could she possibly have for going away, except that she was pregnant?!!

Now of course, this revelation wasn’t immediately accepted. This occurred over many months, by many people “just chatting”, “just innocent talking”. It grew like a vine, a little each day, until it became an accepted fact. I’m certain that many of these people did not intend her harm. And many more didn’t really care, except as an item of interest. In a place where news of any kind was better than the regular daily boredom with the same old people, caught up in the daily drudgery of survival, a juicy mystery to solve was impossible to resist!

Nobody was willing to take responsibility for their words. Nobody cared if they destroyed a young girl’s life. They barely knew her, and she probably wasn’t innocent anyway.

So in this way, her neighbors became mean mean people. Once gossip becomes established “fact”, it’s next to impossible to set the truth straight.

JLeslie's avatar

Did your dad get married in the Catholic Church both times? I’m confused. The church doesn’t even recognize marriages not done in the church as far as I know.

rojo's avatar

I’m gonna go with either spite or vindictiveness.

NomoreY_A's avatar

Ditto @rojo Or, a combination thereof. Some people just have no life, and have nothing better to do than screw with other people, or stick their nose into other peoples affairs.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Well, ‘splain this: I get rid of “original sin,” but damn if I haven’t repeating that sin my whole adult life! What now?
I like Greek Mythology better. It’s a lot more interesting. Much better reading.

@JLeslie This has nothing to do with my Dad, except for the fact that my mom married him. (And unmarried him 22 years later. OH THE SINS!!) Read the details.

JLeslie's avatar

Oops. So your mom was married to your dad, and your dad had been married to someone else for a short time before your mom? Is that right? I’m trying to get it straight.

If so, then I was wondering if your dad’s first and second marriage were in the Catholic Church? The second being to your mom.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Just read the details. Every question you’ve asked was explained in that.
My father was not Catholic. Only my mother was.
They got married in Mexico.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Dutchess_III I know, man. I keep eatin’ them apples, too. Love apples.

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