How I found peace in a Catholic church

found peace

I’m not a Catholic.

Unless you can genetically inherit religion I am most certainly not Catholic.

My Irish grandmother was Catholic, but I think she had God whipped out of her by the nuns at Erskine College at age 13.

She was one of the naughtiest girls in her year, and the reckless auburn-haired nymph apparently spent more time being scolded, whipped and made to open and close a door silently a thousand times to teach her to never slam them.

She went on to be an artist’s model, dancer, and horror of all horrors, wife of a man brought up in a well-heeled Church of England family.

Her Catholic was both self-exorcised and sent into exile.

Still, there is something about Catholicism that interests. So much so that I was moved to tears at the feet of Mary in a cathedral in Prague, and I became heady with the smells of frankincense and old wooden church floors.

Last Sunday I went to my first ever mass. How peculiar.

I am not strictly a religious person at all.

I am neither a believer nor an atheist.

I have no interest in what other people believe in.

I certainly don’t attack people for their beliefs or non-belief.

I grow tired of intellectuals pouring scorn on religion.

I don’t understand the point of the haughty and articulate people who take pleasure in trying to break the spirits of those people who only have faith as a means to survive life.

I can grow angry at so-called prophets and religious demi-Gods who use religion as a means to grow wealthy.

There are bully believers and bully non-believers, and all of them are needlessly cruel.

Back to being a fake Catholic.

U2 sang, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”.

Lately, the lyric has played on my mind, and I don’t even like U2. (Possibly a sin against God in itself.)

The closest I come to belief in some higher power is portrayed in the Robin Williams movie “What Dreams May Come”. I find believing in anything without multiple scientific studies a little tricky to swallow.

In this movie, which despite Robin Williams is not a comedy, the after-life resounded with me in a semi-spiritual way.

So I assume given all these things I’m a curious agnostic. (Great name for a clothing brand.)

Prayer for me is easy.

I figure there is no harm in it, and without sounding ‘fruity’ or ‘nutty’ or the whacky combo of ‘fruity and nutty’, it seems to work.

I don’t pray for wealth, and a tall dark stranger. I just chat away to friends and family who have left this mortal coil. I believe it’s called ‘covering my bets’.

Close friends are both strident atheists who I refuse to argue with. There’s no point. Other close friends go to new age born again services (cringe).

This is not an option for me. I find any group activity involving arm waving and bad singing of popular songs, with lyrics changed to praise the Lord, both awkward and mortifying.

I’m far too ‘British’ to close my eyes, and reach up to the heavens, though I’m perfectly OK with them doing it if I don’t have to witness it. Continue reading


  • Polly Gillespie describes herself as a…talker, writer, wonderluster, provocateur, fighter for social rights and justice, flawed but a work in progress. Her passions are listed as writing, radio, interviewing, provoking and laughing…


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