Question 1b: In those cases where the Church’s teaching is known, is it accepted fully or are there difficulties in putting it into practice? If so, what are they?
I had no problem with the Church’s teaching until I was ten. It was then that I started asking questions.
I used to hear voices in my head. I put my hands on animals or people and they felt hot. I could tell where someone felt a pain and what it felt like. I asked my mother was it anything like Jesus talked about in the Bible.
I was sent to a psychiatrist — who asked the most ridiculous questions: did I ever hear the voice of someone who wasn’t there? Yes, we had a phone in our house! It was obvious that he didn’t know what he was talking about and just didn’t want to understand.
Fortunately my grandmother, the devout, always–at–Mass, clutching–a–rosary, teacher of Catechism to converts, helped me out. “Don’t worry, I hear them too, usually my mother, and I even see your Aunty Nell, just don’t tell your mother.”
It took a quarter of a century to find an answer, but I can now following in Jesus’ footsteps … or perhaps those of Francis of Assisi, I work as an animal communicator and healer.
Thank God no–one introduced me to that superstitious nonsense that makes you obsessed with evil spirits … and I met the exorcist for the diocese of Nice, before I’d heard of Gabriel Amorth, of whom Père Testoris vehemently disapproved.
My next problem arose when I was fourteen. The church had strange opinions on sex. That changed to strange opinions on marriage and contraception. And later I discovered it had an opinion on masturbation. So back to the conscience and saved by St Augustine once again.
My conscience was reinforced by a boyfriend at a De La Salle teacher training college, who was winning philosophical contraception arguments daily with the brothers; a cousin who was a newly ordained priest, who protested at Vatican II and never accepted a parish; an Amplethorpe student of Basil Hume who left the priesthood to marry, and an inadequate parish priest who had no answers but found them with the Archbishop or a whisky bottle.
My conscience told me that fidelity to someone you loved was important and that I had a duty to bring up and care for any children that I had. I didn’t need any rules and the Catholic Church was in no position to give them. Certainly Encyclicals didn’t help, the church broke its own quite clearly, it ran boarding schools, which children in my family attended, whilst simultaneously condemning families for sending their children away from home for their education.