I saw a bumper sticker this morning that said "Faith is a journey - not a guilt trip." I think this was a slam on the Catholic church because there was also another church (protestant) sticker on the car.
I know that it's the conventional wisdom that the Catholic church is all about guilt. And, believe me, Catholics carry a lot of it. However, since I've been doing the regular church attendance thing while Annika is in religious classes, I've thought a lot about this guilt and whether the Church puts it on the parishoners or if the parishoners put it on themselves. The priests joke about it a lot, so it's not news to them.
Here is what I think - there is always a "better" Catholic. For folks who don't make weekly Mass, it's the regulars. For the regulars, it's the Eucharistic ministers or ushers. For those folks, it is the folks who do adoration. For those folks, it is the daily Mass attenders or the Deacons or whoever. Someone is always commenting favorably on all of the ways that you can give of yourself (time, talent, $) to the church and there are always opportunities to do it. So, it's only natural for we competitive creatures to want to be the best at any or all of these things. The failure to do so causes guilt.
So, I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. If a rational, thoughtful, adult feels guilt because he or she COULD be doing more volunteer work or giving more money or attending more activies, that is not a bad thing - especially if it impels them to do good things. I think, though, that the words "rational" and "thoughtful" are the keys, though, because a person can do only so much.