20 February 2009

Why I Didn't Confirmed into The Catholic Church

Back in my sophomore year of High School, I wrote a story on why I didn't get confirmed into the Catholic Church. Confirmation is basically getting confirmed into the Catholic Church as an adult. It let's you, later in life get married within the church. You can still go to church even if you aren't Confirmed. It's the equivalent of a Bat/Bar Mitzvah in Judaism, only you became an adult with the church. Confirmation is one of the seven Sacraments that a Catholic must do throughout his/her life. When one is confirmed, they are kind of saying "I am a soldier of Christ and I will spread the word and defend Christ whenever he faces scrutiny."

Here is the story as I wrote it back in the end of 2004 when I was 15.


Ever since I have been a baby my parents told me that I have always been “difficult” at church. They said I used to cry and scream all the time. To me now, that is foreshadowing, because they knew of no one else’s child who did this at the age of 4. First off, I never received Penance, and the last time I received Communion was at my first Holy Communion.

Before I start explaining the religion story, you should understand my family first. To begin with I have a very small main family. Most of them are good Catholics. My mom has forty-three cousins, but I am not going to get into that. I have three aunts; one in Arizona, Trisha, one in Kansas, Mary and one in Massachusetts, Elaine, but I call her Laine (My Godmother). I have a grandma also in Massachusetts, I just call her Nana. I also have 3 uncles; Mary’s husband Arnold, and Laine’s husband George. Of course I have more aunts and uncles but these are just on my mom’s side and they are the only ones involved in this story.

My aunt Trisha, in Arizona moved there because of college. What she did was she went to Framingham State in Massachusetts and then her best friend convinced her to go to ASU. She went and she ended up staying there. This obviously leads into another story, but basically, my nana seemed and still seems a little upset. My aunt Mary did the same thing except she moved to Kansas because of her husband. They are very quiet and to themselves, they are farm people. My aunt Mary however married Arnold who is not Catholic; therefore they didn’t get married in the church. I’ll get to that later with me though. Anyways, they all moved out west to get away from the “craziness” in our family. I haven’t realized this craziness up until now and I see why they moved away.

Now that you know about my family you can see why this whole religious thing is not going to go over well for SOME of my family. I was surprised at some of the reaction I got but, I knew what was coming.

In our Confirmation class we have to write essays. One of them is to write about why you want to be confirmed. When this was assigned I heard kids saying, “’Cuz I wanna get out of here,” and “Because my parents are making me.” I said nothing. If I were to write a story it would be why I wouldn’t want to be confirmed. I honestly couldn’t do that. What I did do was not write any essays; instead I told the teacher that I simply did not want to be confirmed.

“Well I can’t stop you, that’s your decision, but let me tell you that I think you should stay so you can learn more.” She continued, “Our faith is an awesome faith, but what faith were you looking at?”

“Islam.” I said quietly, because we were standing in front of my classmates.

“Well I don’t know much about that faith, but I still can’t stop you (from not being confirmed).”

That went better than I thought it would, but I had to face other people and my family. This of course, would not be easy.

First, my mother, of course took the religion thing the hardest, especially when I told her the religion I was interested in was Islam. She was saying things like, “Well, I am not going to you a give a ride to any Mosque or Temple,” and, “Why are you rejecting us and everything we stand for?” I think “rejecting” is a strong word. Questioning is the action that I was doing, not “rejecting.” I was really afraid that she would never talk to me. However, she would never do that. At least not that.

This whole thing should remain personal to me and my family and I should only tell people if I really want them to know. When other people started to butt in, it made me mad because who could have told them?

It was on a Sunday night in February, we had invited our friends from Windsor over for dinner, because we haven’t seen them in awhile. So, we are all sitting at the dinning table and my moms’ friend goes, “My son is getting confirmed this year, is Joe getting confirmed too?”

My mom says, “Oh no he decided that he is Muslim.” I gave her a dirty look in anger.

“Don’t they blow themselves up?” asks my friend, who’s about 10.

“Yeah, they believe in killing themselves and other people,” says my moms’ friend.

I was completely furious over this. I wanted to tell them that they were mistaken, that those Muslims are extremists, and they are not like most Muslims, because most Muslims that you would meet disagree with the terrorists. They are mostly ashamed of the terrorists. I was not just mad because of the comments however, but because my mom told them something that I consider a personal family matter. I mean, she could have said, “No he is not getting Confirmed, he is searching.” Of course my moms friend being the way she is would have said, “Oh what religion?” I would have said, none of your business.

After that my mom TELLS me that she told some of her co-worker about me not getting confirmed. I think that she has no right to tell the whole story to someone that I have never met. I think I should tell whomever I think needs to know. Although, I know she was telling them so she could get advice, but even so, the people at work are not the right people to be asking. So that is why she made an appointment to see our “Family Psychiatrist,“ whom we haven’t seen in awhile and I guess my mom thought now was a good time. I personally thought it was great and it worked well, instead of my mom telling random people, she got to talk to a professional, and especially me. Lately, she seems ok with the decision now, mainly because I said I am not REALLY Muslim, and I am still searching, which was really the case the whole time.

Now my Godmother, Laine in Massachusetts, also didn’t take it easily, for obvious reasons. She is very Catholic and I believe she does go to Church every Sunday. Her job, as a Godmother, was to basically help in raising me Catholic. Her approach to this situation was different however. She, instead of my mother, used a lot of guilt trip, bribery, and did you know that? For example she would say, “Get Confirmed to make your mother and father happy,” as if I didn’t they would be sad. Of course I didn’t want that, but I still was doing it for no one else but ME. She also told me that she was going to donate all of my Christmas presents to charity. ‘Go ahead,’ I thought to myself. I don’t need that, and I am not getting confirmed out of a lie. She donated the money, but the fund was a fraud.

Another day when we were walking the dogs, she said, in front of her cousin that I barely knew, “Did you know that in South America, they are very Roman Catholic?” OK? Why, just because I am Hispanic, should I fit the Hispanic stereotypes? Why should religion have anything to do with heritage or race?

On the other hand this brought up something that I thought about for awhile. What if my real mom, in Colombia, raised me and I didn’t want to be Catholic? What would she think? Then again I realized that if I was still with my real mom that she would have raised me very well, and down there I wouldn’t have been exposed to other heritages and religions. So, this probably would have never happened there.

My dads view on this was I think mostly based on my safety. He figures that Islam is not a “popular” religion that he wouldn’t want me to get hurt. That makes sense, but I am willing to “risk my life” to be the religion I want to be, and to strengthen myself mentally and spiritually.

After and during all the “negative” input I got from family and friends, I received a lot of support, which meant a lot to me. I told my best friend what was going on and she agreed with me, and said that she didn’t understand why my parents were responding the way that they did. I think mainly because they made a “vow” to raise me Catholic and that my decision just ruined all that they have done. My aunt in Arizona said that at least you believe in a God and that there is a heaven and a greater power. She also said, unlike my mom, that she would drive me to the Mosque or Temple or whatever. She seemed opened to my decision, and she is very open to other religions. I told a lot of my teachers because I thought that I can trust them and I seem to get along with adults better. I always have liked most of my teachers. I think because I like the mature conversations and that they understand and have good advice. Most people that I have told have agreed with me and most people that my mom has talked to agreed with her. Hmm? Coincidence?

My mother raised another good question. It was about marriage. What if you meet a nice Catholic girl and she, or her family wants her to get married in the Church? Now I believe that a husband and wife should be the same religion, IF they are going to raise children. My Aunt Mary and Uncle Arnold in Kansas are different religions, and they got married outside the Church. Of course, my Grandma was furious about this, and now the Church says that my aunt is living in sin, and she cannot go to Church. I would try to find a woman who is the same religion as me. If we didn’t want kids then I think it wouldn’t matter, however, if we did have kids and we were different faiths then I would make the kid choose what religion she/he wants to be. No half this or that. It all depends on love. Not family, or religion, or heritage. Love.

However, the biggest question in this situation is, Why Islam? Well, mainly because A) It is more strict, and pure, and much more in tune with spirituality and God than Christianity. B) Although there are a lot of bad stereotypes about the faith and followers (who are all actually practicing), it is the largest growing religion in the country and the world. C) I am so interested in not just the religion, but the culture. For example, I would love to go to Egypt or Saudi Arabia, or somewhere in the Middle East where it is safe. Also, my family is in the International Club and we have a friend who is a Belly Dancer, and she invites us every September to a Gala Hafla, where a bunch of Belly Dancers get together from all over New England. It is really fun and I love the dancing and the music. I would like to learn Arabic somehow but maybe when I am in college.

Well, recently I went to my friends Confirmation, and it was very long, and was very ceremonial like a wedding. It was cool to see my friend get Confirmed, I don’t say that it is unfortunate that I am not getting confirmed, because I am just not ready.

Anyways, my mom got him a one-hundred dollar bill for Confirmation; she said that if I was getting confirmed that I would get that too. However, this doesn’t affect me because again I do not want to be Confirmed to please my parents, to get everyone off my case, or to get money and/or presents for Christmas, and I am not Confirmed because I am being “oppositional“ as my mom says, I am not “rejecting” the faith, I don’t hate it, or disrespect it. I am simply doing it for me, because I need time.

In the future, I have no idea what is going to happen, and many people have told me that I’ll be running back to the Church. If that is the case then it wasn’t meant to be, but my search for religion is still on.


Well my political philosophies haven't changed much and I consider myself "spiritual." Or maybe religious, I don't know. I believe in God but not any set form of religion. As long as a you're a good person and you pray and you know that there is something out there bigger than you, you are doing good. I mean, that's what all the religions are pretty much. That's what they preach. Right now, my religion is school. I need to focus on it and do my best. I also need to focus on being just a good person who doesn't hate nor use violence. Sure I kid around and make jokes and stuff, but I wouldn't go past that. I feel like most people who consider themselves "Christians" or "Catholics" really don't do anything that is Catholic or Christian. Even if you don't have a religion, that doesn't give you the right to be whatever and not follow any moral guidelines or to have any values. You should always have faith and believe in something.