When the little German nun handed me my brand-new blue Baltimore Catechism, it was like a warm how-de-do from the Roman Catholic Church
But when I opened it up, it presented hundreds of ways I could sin and wind up in hell forever. Although I had been baptized as an infant, our family had been sort of casual on the whole sin torture, bleeding, crucifixion, eat this body, drink this blood stuff. I had no idea it was a murder-based religion, and that I was, an inadvertant part of the crime.
My first venture into Catholic School in second grade was a cataclysmic spiritual event from which I am still recovering. And Baltimore? They were having an altar-boy festival of large proportions that would make the church ashamed of itself, but only when they were caught 30 years later. I wonder now about what size balls it takes to diddle young boys and print blue catechisms telling 7-year old me what to do to be worthy enough to learn to kneel and stand so I could try to gag down the driest cookies ever created at Mass every weekday and Sunday.
It was a bad fit from the beginning. The little book of horrors. And me.