Jack, my experience was not nearly as stereotypical as all you have described. I know what your talking about, but that was never my experience. I was a moderate disciplinary problem in catholic schools from 4-8 grade. By 5th grade or so I was agnostic, heading to atheism. The nuns either loved me or hated me. Funny enough the priest I mainly dealt with was a very open person who didn’t seem to care about my trouble making or my increasingly open profession of doubt.( he had just returned from Vietnam as a Chaplain in the Army)
Religion class was curriculum in all the grades, and by 5th grade or 6th I was arguing about the existence of god with the nuns who taught the class(not in a reasoned way but in a very disruptive, wise-ass way.). Sometimes it got my hair pulled usually they just kicked me down to the library.
I never felt guilt, and I never remember feeling that whole guilt “thing” everyone always talks about. A meme perhaps? Once my mother got over the minor bewilderment of my atheism, it was no big deal. I think the nuns, the priests and my mother all thought it was a phase and that eventually I would see the light and embrace christ.
But yada, yada yada…The catholicism I grew up with was pretty mild and seemed to be partly reformed from the social changes of the 60s and 70s.
On another note Jack, I’m moving along with that Oxford US History collection. It’s going good. Little heavy on politics and religion.(first 3 books anyways)
I guess the ones I knew were of the more conservative type then. I never heard any of them mention lapsing into agnosticism. In fact one of my best friends, a fundie Baptist converted after marrying a catholic girl he met in the Air Force. That was in 72’ and he’s still devout today. Yeah, maybe the guilt thing is a meme after all. I picked it up from lapsed catholic comedians and never really had a sit down discussion about it. When we get together we stay off religion and politics. And BTW, my mother still has me banned to the hot place for denying the virgin birth. Also, glad to hear you’re still pursuing finishing the Qxford History collection. It’s really worth the effort. If you’re interested in more in-depth reading I could suggest some other works and there’s a slew of monographs mentioned in the bibliographies.