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That is great Giselle and very similar to the path that I have taken. However, even though I knew intellectually I had to change as a parent, the guilt while doing it was always pressing. Three years out now and I have finally learned to allow my children to express themselves and to make choices. I am still always surprised when they make good choices all on their own. This means more to me than all of the "right choices" they made under our overbearing control that we practiced while in RC.

What is so hard is what we feel is the watchful eye of the remaining RC members in our city that are waiting for our kids to trip up so they can remain justified. Maybe it is paranoia but my kids feel it too. Rightfully so, the pride that we took as RC parents, displaying their children as trophies, is being absolutely crushed as I learn to be respectful of the God given dignity of each of my children.

You said, " I'm no less Catholic, but I'm far less anxious and fearful." Sounds like you are MORE Catholic. Thank you for your openness and honesty. I wonder if it's a case of what came first the chicken or the egg?
I've wondered for a long time how someone knowledgeable about AA/codependance whould view the lc/rc's. I think there is something in the lc/rc that is very attractive to someone who is not even aware that theyare suffering the effects of others addictions.

Thank you so much for this post. I would love more examples too to help me identify where I I might be doing this with my kids. They are still young (elementary school and below) but I am sure the language thing has crept in. In the south, the 'charity' in speech went along well with the 'if you don't have anything noce to say, don't say anyhting at all' thing. In general a good rule of thumb, but it is OK to get po'd when bad things happen and when people do bad things. It is normal! I am realizing now that supression has allowed me to be a doormat in some of my other relationships (not RC).

One thing I notice in the LC/RC reaction to the 'unfortunate incidents' is the lack of outrage and horror at the widespread sin and deception. How ironic that in formation talks, SD etc... we are to be so scrupulous and to abhor sin, but when the whole MM thing in met with 'serenity'. I don't get the serene in the face of egregious sin deal.

And if they (the LC) are so deadened to such an elaborate, evil, outrageous tangle of sin and fraud that was the life of MM, how in the world can they be instructing ME on how to become more holy and lead a less sinful life, much less work on it themselves?

Giselle, IMHO, this post is more important than any that I have read to date because we are talking about the children. I thought RC would teach me "the way" to raise my children properly and give me the tools to create a "true" Catholic Christian environment in our home. I have always been wary of extremism when it pertains to anything in this life; political, religious, a book club. My antenna are always functioning - at least I thought they were. At this moment, I am having a difficult time "discerning" what is healthy and what is not.

I was raised in a Catholic, alcoholic, dysfunctional home where hypocrisy was textured into the wallpaper. My prayer is that the LC's I know, are not so sick and twisted that they knew what they were doing to unsuspecting souls - and that they too are just as much victims of MM's psychosis.

The way that I see it. We are adults. If we have children, we need to reduce the amount of self-pity and admit what WE did to ourselves and our families - for the sake of our children.

If you think you are going overboard with your Catholic Christian methodology, check out this link that another exLegionary posted earlier. This should wake us all up!


You have no idea how much this blog entry resonates with me (I think the fact I read this entry directly after reading the article linked by AnotherEx has caused it to have an even greater effect).

Although not raised RC, I was raised in home with one drug-addicted parent and one Catholic fanatic parent. We were literally something of a cult all unto our own, due to the fact another family member was hearing voices from the Virgin Mary telling him that the Three Days of Darkness (great chastisement) were going to happen on a certain day in the early 80's. So we became isolationist and waited for the rest of the sinners of the world to be killed during the Chastisement while the few holy ones like us sat in our houses with shades pulled down and candles lit to Mary and the Saints. It was an extremely authoritarian, frightening, and unhappy environment.

What a mess! Unfortunately, the Catholic fanatic parent never was able to give up the fanaticism and hypocrisy (to this day---we are not on speaking terms due to the toxicity I feel whenever communicating with this parent). The drug addicted parent OD'd a decade ago.

I am constantly trying to figure out how to raise my children with a loving God, but due to years of excruciating spiritual suffering with scruples, I have pretty much handed the reins over to my husband. I don't trust myself to be able to convey the loving God I am still trying to find.

Meanwhile, I do my best to convey to my children my deep love for them and hope that will help teach them of the love God has for us.

If I had not met and married my husband at a fairly young age (early 20s), I truly think I would have left the Church. I'd had enough pride, hypocrisy, and judgmentalism (not to mention just plain craziness!) by that time to pretty much turn me off completely. But then my husband came along and showed me you could be normal, loving, joyful, AND Catholic and opened a whole new world for me. Without him, I would have been lost.

Thanks so much for your post. I am still trying to figure out how I let LC/RC get into our lives (never RC--reminded me too much of my crazy upbringing, but let's just say we are Legion-paycheck dependent, and our kids were in LC/RC schools/programs) after having gone through so much when I was younger. I suppose it speaks to lingering dysfuntion. LOL!

Hi Giselle,
Thanks for this post. I think it is very important to explain these things. I too come from the same alcoholic conditions as you and have been way too controlling with my kids. One just ran away yesterday. Couldn't take the pressure or limits. How does one handle all the media appropriately? Now there's something that feeds the fear base parenting style. Any thoughts? Being a committed Catholic with these issues makes it hard to find the balance. We thought we were doing it but we really weren't.
Thanks for this post and I welcome more like it. Your timing was not coincidental for me.

I have noticed that those in my area having the hardest time letting go of RC are the ones that have the most baggage from their own childhoods and are insecure themselves now as parents (thout I find them loving and devoted as parents). It is as if they let go of RC, they will lose the "security" and "gurantee" of holiness it provides their children. I think this is one way the LC's keep people tied to the movement--using the children as pawns.

I just read the article and I found it a bit extreme. I guess ex-legionary posted it as a warning a big wake up call?

I can see how Murray's tight upbringing added to his breakdown certainly, but it sounded to me as if he had a mental illness that went undiagnosed due to the parents blindness, not that their particular brand of fundamentalism actually caused his murder spree.

It was also a blantantly politicized article.

Note, I am not denying that we can pass along our warped RCness to our kids.

That's the same message I got from our leader. You should get them involved in all the activities so they will be formed properly. Yuck. It overwhelmed me to get my kid to all those meetings at the times they were scheduled. I was stressed out enough(now I am learning why. Luckily I just decided I didn't care what she said. I wasn't going to bring on more stress.

I've noticed that it seems like the RC families around here really clamp down on the teens.

It's counter-intuitive to me, since the teen years are usually a time when kids get more freedom and time away from the family-- I mean, I NEED to keep a close eye on my little ones, because they have a tendency to play in traffic! But by the time they hit their teens, I'd expect them to be able to go to work, activities and on outings WITHOUT supervison.

However, the RC approach to teens does seem to match up with a lot of what you guys are saying about the LCs warning moms that they're going to 'lose' their kids.

But I wonder if the intense crack-down at an age that usually means freedom actually leads to MORE lost kids... I mean, my friends and I had tons of freedom in highschool, and we used it to go to movies and eat hamburgers and drink slurpees and play sports.....

I wonder if the clamped-down kids are MORE likely to get involved in unwholesome activities--because if all your freedom is on the sly, then why wouldn't you engage in on-the-sly type activities? It's a lot easier to sneak in sex and drugs than a day at the beach, after all......

OK, I read this article: ; then I read Another ex's link; then I read this post. I am almost overwhelmed!

Reading all of this has resonated deeply with me as a mother seeing my own parenting in these stories. I desire so much to help my daughter and others not follow these unhealthy ways of parenting. This would seem to be an issue that would be good for the Church to provide training in parishes to help with this very important task of parenting--and how to heal ourselves from our own wounds. From all of these stories, it would seem that the need is great.

One of the best books I have seen on the topic of raising one's children Catholic is Catherine de Hueck Doherty's "Dear Parents". Unfortunately, I believe the book is out of print, having just checked the Madonna House website.

However, Catherine writes a number of other good books on authentic Catholic spirituality, from an Eastern Catholic perspective, which several former adherents to traditionalist schisms found helpful when leaving.

If you check Catholic Light in about five minutes, I'm also posting a selection of recommended books from her writings.

This is the best article of all.Thank you so very much.
I wanted to ask anyone a question.
I have learned that the young girls cannot use tampons???????
Yes that is the truth.They were told this at L/C school.To this day my older daughters feel awful guilt if they use a tampon.
Does anyone know anything about this.
I have 1st hand info that none of the girls my daughter went to school with will ever use a tampon.

Giselle, that was funny!

I have no idea if the no-tampon-rule is something perpetrated by the LC/RCs or not, but it wouldn't surprise me because (I'm the one who posted my story having been raised in a very authoritarian Catholic background above) my mother forbade the use of tampons. Which seemed utterly ridiculous to me, especially since I had very heavy periods (many apologies to the male readers), and it was a massive inconvenience to not have that option. So of course I just snuck them and used them anyway and swore I'd never do that to my own daughters. LOL And I won't, either! I will calmly explain their correct use and the health risks that can be involved and allow them to make their own decisions.

Craziness! As if there is something inherently evil about our bodies. I was given the reason that it would "destroy my virginity", which was also utterly ridiculous, patently false, and made me laugh even back then.

A consecrated lady considered an expert on adolescents gave a talk about parenting through the teenage years. She said that the only way to save your children was to set up their lives so that they think that have freedom and are making their own choices, but they choose what you wanted them to choose all along. They can't know that their choice coincides with your choice for them.

No wonder RC people feel they have to have spiritual experts telling them what to do next. This prepared environment theory would either be impossible to implement or if possible, would feel like a distopian nightmare.

Bingo, Bigtex!

Bigtex--- creepy! and dishonest. I mean, if you're not going to give your child a choice, you should be upfront about it and just say "We're doing x." And if you DO give a kid a choice, you can't be shocked and upset when they make one!

Not to mention that the approach (letting the child choose between 2 acceptable options) seems more like what you do with a YOUNGER child than a teen. (i.e. : Do you want the red shirt or the blue one?)

Also, Bigtex, save them from WHAT??? It seems like the Rc/LCs missed out on the whole 'basically nice kids will make basically good decisions' thing. I mean, sure, your daughter may decide to wear all black and go goth for a while, but in the grand scheme of things, as long as she tries to avoid bad situations and has nice friends, who cares?

Lauretta, there is so much parenting stuff available, from the Church as well as from secular sources. From a Catholic perspective we can look to the encyclicals (not through a FAMILIA course though :)) and authors like Dr. Popcak and Guarindi (sp?) but I feel with all of the books and talks etc... I take them all with a grain of salt. Maybe that's why I never was completely integrated. I must have been a cafeteria RCer! I am not saying the methodology etc... didn't mess with me in some way, just that I know I am not as bad off as some.

to be sure, there is not one silver bullet in parenting. Not one! We can read, pray, live the liturgical year at home, avail ourselves of the sacraments often and it is still probable that our kids will stumble on their journey of faith.

I left the Church in my youth and by the grace of God found my way home and I fully accept that my kids will make their own way in their walk.

The paranoia that the LC tapped into is very real though, especially in the climate of the 'culture wars'. It is true our kids are subjected to some rotten influences though our culture and media....but then again so were the early Christians, the martyrs in Rome. They didn't have any books, programs or clubs ;)

I've linked to a number of resources on the following two threads:

In my experience, RC families vary widely in attitudes about how to raise children in our over-sexualized and coarse culture. Many of them are homeschoolers with almost a fortress attitude toward the outside world. But many others, especially in the pricier 'burbs, are quite worldly, with kids who seem to have all the same vices one associates with secular kids in upper income suburbs.

If there's any one-size-fits-all RC methodology in this area, it isn't obvious to me.

That said, I do think personal freedom is undervalued and misunderstood by the RC, and that probably does affect the children.

Giselle and/or Pete, My husband and I consider ourselves grateful to have left before our kids reached adolescence, although we were in for over ten years. We've been out for 2+ years now and our oldest is only nine. HOWEVER, we are still desperately struggling with living RC-free authentic Catholicism and how to "attract" our children to a true friendship with Christ. So far, we "fall back" on prayer and Sacraments. I'll check out the links from Pete, but, golly, RC was so clever in devising a path to follow where we knew just what program to plug the kids into, how they should talk, what they should wear, etc. Real parenting, it seems to me, requires less logistics (driving from one activity to another) and much more struggle in the day to day issues.

Sue, several of my friends homeschool. So I've seen it done well, and I've seen it done not-so-well. I also have several Catholic friends who don't homeschool, but who are just as serious about giving their children a Catholic formation. Again, like the homeschoolers, I've seen what works and what doesn't.

And it's often the same.

Successful Catholic parenting is usually marked by three things:

1 - Family prayer.

2 - Respecting the individually of each child, and doing what is best for each child's individual personality, gifts and needs.

3 - The child believes the parent is accessible.

What's important here is not a program, but that you develop family prayer and Catholic principles in each child, and show them how to apply these principles in daily decision-making and activities.

Enrol them in art classes, music, sports, scouts, military cadets, and other activities, in a recreational rather than a competitive environment, then let them pick and choose what activities they like. They will take to some, drop others, and experiment for a while with some before dropping them. Until their twelve, there's no real need for them to focus on one activity over another.

For instance, the only extra-curricular activity Sonya and I force on our children is swimming. And the reason for this is not because we expect our children to become the next Michael Phelps, but because Northern Ontario and the Michigan UP are centered between three Great Lakes, and hundreds of smaller rivers and lakes. So it's a safety issue.

But other than swimming, they choose their extra-curricular activities. This, when intermingled with family prayer and catechism, tends to stick more, because they live out their faith in activities they enjoy doing.

For anyone worried about wayward children, or anyone apprehensive about rejoining diocesan life, here is an amazing interview with a young, newly ordained, diocesan priest. Take heart! God is doing great things in our parishes.

"Searching for truth amidst the Hollywood lifestyle, Fr. Denis Heames encounters the Lord and his eventual call to the priesthood."

(You'll have to scroll down the page.)

Just to followup, wise friends of mine who happen to be homeschooling parents once told me the following; "The secret to successful homeschooling is to prepare your children to be leaders in the world, rather than to try and shelter them from the world."

For this couple, homeschooling was a controlled experiment. Their children were active in a wide variety of social activities, not only Catholic activities, but team sports, choral signing, scouts, etc. The parents would intervene only if the child asked, or was in serious danger of making a bad decision with horrible consequences. Otherwise, these parents would allow their children to make choices, even bad ones if the consequences were minor, and then they would discuss the choices with their children, applying Catholic principles to the situation and helping their children see the consequences - both good and bad.

I have another set of friends, with eight children. They followed the strict model of parenting with the first four, sheltering their children from the world and even sending their sons to the apostolic schools. None of their children practice today, except one daughter who lives in a less-than-ideal relationship - which she would like to correct, but is faced with a father of her children who is dragging his feet to the altar.

My friends had cut their ties with the movement by the time the next four (there was a gap between children four and five) came of age, having gotten involved with the parish, the pro-life movement, and Opus Dei (but not as members or cooperators). But only when these outside activities don't interfere with their family obligations. They also take a much more relaxed approach to cultural influences such as the computer, internet, video games, etc...

This younger set, having now hit their teens, openly practice their faith, invite their friends to church, and is not the least bit rebellious toward family prayer or the Church, unlike their older siblings at the same age.

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