forum tips for writing a teenage catholic/christian character?
Started by @darling-velocipede group

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@darling-velocipede group

hey guys! i am the big agnostic over here, and i've grown up without much exposure to religious practice in general. any tips on how to genuinely portray a catholic or christian teenager who has grown up with a pretty strong faith, but is also, well, a teenager, and has had a typical public school education? what is church like? what is praying like? just all this basic stuff. i'd really appreciate hearing some of y'all's experiences! <3

@GoodThingGoing group

Oof, I don't think I'm super qualified to answer these since I had a religious education (and not a very strong faith lol) but I can try!
I'm Catholic, so this is all from a Catholic POV
Church varies pretty heavily from church to church, some are very ornate and others more rustic. There's a specific set of guidelines for constructing a church, but they're not always followed as strictly as they're supposed to be. Even if the teenager is pretty religious, church may still seem like a bit of An Ordeal to them, especially things like the Easter Vigil (super long mass on Holy Saturday). Church usually lasts for about an hour, but that does depend on the priest (and how long his homily is) and how many people there are.
We don't have set times to pray, but we generally pray before meals ("bless us, O Lord") and before bed. The most common/well-known prayers are the Hail Mary, the Our Father, and the Glory Be, but there are lots of others, some for specific purposes. A very religious family may pray the Rosary frequently, or the Divine Mercy chaplet.

@GoodThingGoing group

Also even within one denomination, things vary a lot, from how fancy vs plain the church is to how liberal vs conservative it is. Even within my general area, there's churches that range from being very chill and liberal to being pretty strict and traditional, it depends on the priest, the bishop, and the congregation. A church with a younger priest/congregation will usually (but not always) be more liberal, especially if it's in/around a big city. The more rural ones and ones with an older priest/congregation tend more conservative.


More info..try two :) Mass is a weekly thing, normally happening on Sunday mornings or late saturday nights, and they're supposed to be reqired attentances unless the weather is too bad, you're sick (Or if there's a pandemic) Most families, unless you're raised in a more traditional one, are lax on mass attendance unless it's easter or christmas. Like Sting mentioned in their info, mass is normally about an hour unless it's one of the two mentioned holiays, then it's closer to two. For catholic teens, one major thing is confirmation, which is where essentially you're considered an adult in the church and can start making more of your choices on mass attendance and such. Most of the time teens will be confirmed between the ages of 14 and 16. Being Catholic doesn't stop us from doing much, and as long as we're polite and modest, we're pretty safe from sinning. We still play plenty of sports, videogames, hang out with friends, have jobs and go to school, like any other teen, and we're still prone to acting just as stupid. Our religion is part of us, but it doesn't completely define us. Besides this info, I can answer any more questions, as well as I can probably help with questions about regular Christianity and the many branches due to the fact that 99% of my town is christian :)

@GoodThingGoing group

There's a specific time range for mass, ranging from 4 PM on Saturday until….can't remember the other time but late on Sunday. So going to mass at 7 AM on Saturday does not fill your weekly mass quota. Skipping it is frowned upon, but it isn't necessarily a mortal sin. Weekly mass is very encouraged, as well as mandatory mass on holy days of obligation, such as Christmas, the Immaculate Conception, the Epiphany, and All Saints Day, to name a few.

There's seven sacraments, which will be basically drilled into your memory in any religious ed classes you take. If your character goes to public school, they'll almost definitely be taking a religious ed class once a week to learn about the faith and to prepare for upcoming sacraments. If they were born and raised Catholic, they were likely baptized a month or so after birth.
A few years after (usually winter of second grade) is First Reconciliation, which is part of the preparation for First Communion since it's the first time they confess their sins and do penance (confession will become a usually at least yearly thing from that point forward). Then in the spring of their second grade year is their First Communion, which is arguably the biggest one. It's when they're first allowed to receive communion at mass. Since Catholics believe that the host and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus, this is a very big deal, hence the little suits and frilly white dresses involved.
Confirmation then comes when they're around fourteen. If I recall correctly, the age for confirmation was lowered a few years back from 12th grade to 9th grade or something, I was confirmed in 9th grade. You're anointed with special oils and basically officially admitted into the church, plus you take on the name of a saint to gain their protection and guidance.
If a person is not raised Catholic, they receive baptism, confirmation, and first communion all at once after a year of learning about the faith during the Easter Vigil mass, which is why it's so long.

Anointing of the Sick is another sacrament, and it's usually administered when someone is dangerously ill/in risk of dying. One time I popped into mass at a church (my sister had a volleyball game at their school) and ended up receiving it since the priest was giving it for everyone; I was in a pretty bad place so I guess you could argue that I was at risk of death? And it actually really did help my mental health for a month or so.

Then there's Holy Orders and Matrimony, and you can only get one. Matrimony is marriage, Holy Orders is becoming a priest, nun, etc. and then there's also the consecrated single life, which I have yet to meet anyone who's actually done.

@Althalosian-is-the-father book

This is a bit odd. Granted you are a lot more liberal so maybe your congregation is too which would explain a few things; like I heard that not going to Mass was a serious thing bc you were spurning the invitation to the Lord’s supper.

@GoodThingGoing group

I just remember my mom saying that being a consecrated single means you're "not married but that doesn't mean you can just have sex with whoever you want". My church is also moderately conservative so that's not exactly it. Spurning mass is serious but it is not a mortal sin, idk if I explained that well.


okay taking on the name of a saint sounds so cool and is really making me wish i was part of a religion that allowed me to do that

alas, there's a reason i had to tag jyn lmao. (tho, if we're being honest, i do have a patron which seems kind of similar, though also very different)


heck, if op is okay with it i would love to stalk that, i love reading about saints and i feel like that'd be super cool to know about for writing catholic/protestant characters