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Catholic guilt

I went to a Catholic grade school growing up and, oddly, a conversation with a friend yesterday about the anniversary of the JFK assassination enlightened me on how early the indoctrination sinks in.

I was in second grade on Nov. 22, 1963, and remember someone calling our teacher — a nun — to the door and whispering to her. The teacher then told us Kennedy had been shot. After saying prayers as would be automatic in a Catholic school, my mind said, “Don’t ask or he’ll die.” Still, I raised my hand and asked the teacher who would run the country if the president died. She told me the vice-president, an office I didn’t even know existed, would become president

Within two minutes of my asking, the principal came to the door and told us the president had died. My immediate thought was, “It’s my fault. I killed him.” I carried that thought home with me when we were discharged from school and for several days thereafter.

As I told my friend that, he responded, “Whoa, now there’s some Catholic guilt!” Of course, that’s probably part of the reason I’ve been a “recovering Catholic” for several decades.


I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty.

John Waters

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