Badgers , Popes and Wonky Carrots


I have a new widget on my side bar.  Please click on it and it will take you to the RSPCA anti-badger cull campaign pages. 

There, you can find out about how you can help. They say it far better than I can, so please do check it out.  You can send the quickest online letter ever to your local MP to protest about the badger cull if you follow the links. If you do, then it is a good thing that you do.

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It’s been an interesting 24 hours In The Welsh Garden. 


These are my wonky carrots.  I know why they are twisted . They remind me of that TV programme that passed for peak time Sunday viewing during my childhood ‘That’s Life’.  Esther Rantzen & Cyril Fletcher would have wet themselves over these.    


I’ve a feeling that I may have offended one or two people over the last 24 hours.  I’ve said some things about the Pope.  And the Catholic Church.  Oh,and the Vatican. On Twitter.  I didn’t lose any followers.  But there’s still time. 

My Lovely Mum used to say don’t talk about Money, Religion or Politics.  I can see why. But then she also wouldn’t have been that impressed by me chowing down on a Greggs Pacifier on the high street , but I’ve done that in my time.

Anyway, he’s here isn’t he. Pontiff. 

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I’m lapsed. A Lapsed Catholic. Except that over the last few days I’ve realised that ‘lapsed’ isn’t the right descriptive term. Lapsed implies that a return is quite possible. But I’ve been away too long. I’m not going back. I’ve moved on. Havn’t I.

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I left for the usual reasons . I just couldn’t follow a church that covered up the abuse of women and little children  – not to mention the attitudes towards homosexuality, contraception and women priests. The Magdalene Laundries. The Christian Brothers.  I reached a point of no return.

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Lapsed is a lazy word. It sounds like you just couldn’t be bothered.

I was bothered. It wasn’t an easy decision. Catholics make great believers. Spirituality has always mattered to me.

Some of the warmest, kindest people that I have known have been Catholics.  Some of the coldest,cruelest people that I have known have been nuns.

Didn’t Philip Larkin say something along the lines of ‘God’s alright… it’s just the middle men that get in the way’? Or words to that effect? Lately, Sinead O’Connor has said something similar , here . I’ve always liked Sinead Oconnor. She’s much maligned. People who speak an untimely truth usually are. 

I left the church, not because I didn’t believe in God , or a Higher Power , or something , but because I couldn’t believe in the middle men anymore.

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I am quite well read on matters theological. I know plenty about the early Christian Church . I know roughly when it all changed. Man made decisions. I know about The Cathars who tried to take the Church back to what they believed it had originally been. Their beliefs were close to those of the very early church. They believed in reincarnation and that both men and women could preach. They weren’t hung up on sexuality. They were branded heretics for speaking their truth.  

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I couldn’t send my children to a Catholic school . Just couldn’t do it. It’s not just me. I know of many other lapsed Catholic parents. Our children trot off to the local C of E / C of W every morning.  Yet we struggle when it comes to taking them to an Anglican church service or to Sunday school. Something within us stops us. Catholic guilt, perhaps?

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I do not write this to be current, controversial , disrespectful or to jump on the Papal bandwagon.

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Over the last few days ,many of us have outed ourselves as Lapsed Catholics. There are a lot of us out here. And most of us sit , with not inconsiderable sadness, between a rock , and a very hard place.


About In a Welsh Garden

Artist,Illustrator,Pro-face and body painter,Blogger and Happy Gardener : )
This entry was posted in 'grow your own', garden, Green, green living, Spirituality and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Badgers , Popes and Wonky Carrots

  1. VicMcMartin says:

    Yes, very true. You’ve expressed in words something I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s not about faith is it? It was tremendously important for me that my child was baptised Christian. But I just couldn’t bring myself to have her baptised catholic.

    I’m lucky, I am of mixed parentage – catholic and Lutheran – and my catholic father is similarly lapsed (although he and I disagree about schooling).

    I loved my catholic school. I’m sad my child will miss out on that sense of belonging. But I cannot in all conscience agree with the organised catholic church on everything. That’s just me.

    It would also seem I’m not alone.

  2. Jan says:

    Hello – I just had to back you up. I’m not a lapsed anything so I can’t be lapsadaisical or whatever. I splutter at the piety of the Catholic church when so much is awfully rotten and wonder how they can carry on with the show. That’s my tupennyworth. I loved your post on tomato bothering and will have fun singing with my grandchildren “we’ll slurble and glook until it’s globby fine”. I love my peeks into your Welsh garden. Long may you bother.

  3. Caroline says:

    Seriously, you so should have been my sister! I stayed up talking to G last night until ridiculous-o’clock about my realisation of how far I have lapsed. I’d love to have that discussion with you at some point, probably with cake and a big pot of tea x

  4. Alice Turing says:

    A very poignant post. Personally I’m an atheist but I understand that belief doesn’t have to be a negative thing. I’ve written a whole novel about belief, religion, and how people can use it unscrupulously and follow it unthinkingly but that it can still, sometimes, be a positive thing.

    My father is a lapsed Catholic, now an atheist. My mum is a lapsed Catholic, now C of E. I went to the local C of E school and grew up agnostic but am now an atheist. I’m very glad that I wasn’t brought up as Catholic, but I have still managed to inherit massive doses of that damn Catholic guilt. It’s not productive. But I do have strong morals.

  5. VicMcMartin – I know exactly what you mean about that sense of belonging that, when it’s a positive experience, a Catholic education can engender.

    I am very happy to hear that you had such a positive experience of Catholic education.

    To be honest I didn’t particularly enjoy my Catholic education although it was probably about the best education , in academic terms, that I could have had without going to a private or public school and for this I am very grateful. In fairness I probably wasn’t cut out for school attendance.

    I do have some fond memories of my Catholic education, particularly at Primary school level, and of going to church with my Mum and getting caught up in the whole theatre that is the Catholic Mass. I also remember fondly all of the accessories and accoutremants of the faith – statues of the Virgin Mary , rosary beads, holy pictures, Lourdes water, apparitions at Fatima; apparitions at Lourdes … it’s fair to say that I was seduced by the drama and romance of it all ,as I suspect are many Catholic little girls : )

    I have some less fond memories of my school days,times when the brain washing and dogma got together and formed an unholy union in the classroom. I remember being herded into the lecture theatre aged 12 with all of our year,where we were all subjected (without any prior consultation)to an onslaught by LIFE (Catholic anti abortion lobby, as I am sure that you are aware, having been brought up Catholic) – including (without warning) full colour projected images (photographic)of aborted foetuses. Even now I feel sick when I remember this day , and as a parent myself now I am shocked that it was deemed acceptable to give this talk and show these images to 12 year old girls, without any Parental knowledge or permission.The sad thing is that they were probably preaching to the converted in that room that day. There really was no need to show those pictures to rabbits-caught-in-the-headlights- 12 year old schoolgirls. No need either for the aggressive hellfire and damnation ‘talk’ that accompanied it. There were other incidents, too,that I shan’t go into here.

    It seems to me that you have taken the best of Catholicism and brought it with you, and that you remain a good person, of faith. I can’t help thinking that at the end of the day that is what really matters.

    Thankyou so much for commenting, and for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Jan – Hello – Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts – your comment made me so happy this morning when I read it !

    I am absolutely delighted that you enjoyed the Tomato Bothering post. When I write I never really know if people like , or will like, what I write , and I don’t consciously write for an audience so it’s all a bit hit and miss to be honest. So to hear that you enjoy what I write, and are kind enough to say so, makes me very, very happy indeed!

    What also makes me very,very happy is the image that I have in my head of you singing with your grandchildren ‘we’ll slurble and glook until it’s globby fine’. How utterly FABULOUS! I have to say that I do love that line too ! It just popped out of my pen without thought – it is very strange how, when I write, something takes over me and it is like an almost subconscious wordflow, a strange alchemy of who knows what. I don’t understand it but I like it and I am glad that you like it too.

    Re ; The Catholic Church , you hit the nail on the head with ‘..when so much is awfully rotten (I) wonder how they can carry on the show’. Me too, and describing it as a show, suits.

    Thankyou x

  7. Caroline – Hello Lovely. I am your sister, in a sisterhood kinda way : ) I’ve lapsed a fair old way too. We are both in good company; there are a lot of us. Lets all lapse together, and be happy, and eat cake : ) x

  8. Alice Turing – Thankyou so much for reading, and for commenting. I love what you say about being an Athiest but also ‘understand(ing) that belief doesn’t have to be a negative thing’. I would love to read your novel.

    Catholic guilt is an insidious thing. I can well believe that it could traverse across generations ; a kind of multi-generational Catholic curse. I t’s very interesting that although you havn’t been brought up or educated in the Catholic faith it has still impacted upon you. I can well believe that it has.

    Strong morals – ah, yes ! I was talking to a lapsed friend about this only last week. She said that she was the same. Once a Catholic – always a fear of not being thought to be a ‘nice girl’ . When Catholic girls ‘go bad’ (as Mae West put it) they go bad in style , to over-compensate. Urban Myth has it that a very high proportion of d*ominat*rixes are Catholic by upbringing and/or education. Make of that what you will. Madonna is a text book case ,I’d say. No wonder Camille Paglia finds her so fascinating to analyse.

    The strong morals bit, at it’s best though, is a bit that I am grateful for, as it translates , ultimately, into treating people well.

    Thankyou so much for posting : )

  9. What does the Catholic church do to people? As an outsider looking in or through the cracks in the door, I don’t claim to understand it at all, but from talking to ‘lapsed’ friends and reading novels I have an inkling of how complicated it all is. I don’t know who would be offended by what you write, you are just being honest about how you feel and taken the time and trouble to explain why. Speaking as someone with an athiest jewish dad and a lutheran mother, raised to think for myself, (but sent to Church schools, figure that one out,) I think now I got off lightly when I read your post.

    PS. I found some ‘lurkers’ yesterday in the veg bed, and thought of you. Monster ridge cucumbers, definitely weren’t there the day before. How do they do it ? 🙂

  10. Jan says:

    It was lovely to know I made you happy – you have a delightful way with words and I love your observations and photographs. I know what you mean about ‘subconscious wordflow”, it’s the best kind of alchemy and gives such enjoyment. This has also been such an interesting exploration of religion. When I think about it it was, ‘in the beginning’, intended to hold people in its thrall and I guess that’s where all the pomp and panoply of gold and lace and smoke and mirrors came into play and questioning was not encouraged. I love the Mae West quote – I think I’ll give that a go when I’m an old lady! I was also stunned that school children would have been subjected to images of aborted foetuses. What strange thinking was behind that! Nothing about that translates into treating people well does it. Well – this has become a bit of a ramble and I hadn’t intended it to be – but I’ll go back to my ironing basket with some more interesting thoughts to keep me company.

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