Saturday, September 08, 2007
My brain is stuck to my skull. School started on Wednesday. Children are lost, have forgotten their lunch, are dressed inappropriately, can't remember their names. Thanks to our cracker jack staff we've lived to tell the tale and so have the children. I think. I guess I should call their homes and make sure.
Which brings me to today's question from a reader:
A young (30-something) friend of mine teaches in a Catholic School - middle school aged children. She teaches religion, among other subjects.
On a recent retreat, she admitted that, while she calls herself a Catholic, she doesn't believe in The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Pope's infallability, celibacy for priests, male-only priesthood, Purgatory, Saints, offering sacrifices... the list goes on and on. She feels if "it isn't written in the Bible, it isn't from God." Can you tell she went to a non-Catholic Bible college?
My eyes must have been bugging out of my head - because she took offense at my reaction.
SO - in this day of poor catechesis - what's a person to do? Beg her not to fill children's heads with inaccuracies? Talk to her principal? Ask her why she thinks she's a Catholic? I am praying for her, and her students - and ask that others do so as well.
Let's tackle the last part first. What's a person to do?
All of the above. She can believe anything she wants, including that aliens have landed and that she is in danger of becoming a giant peapod, but she better be teaching what the Church teaches, so asking her not to fill children's heads with her own made up cafeteria of faith is a good move. So is talking to the principal. I'm not sure asking her why she thinks she's a Catholic is appropriate, but I'd sure like to know the answer to that one.
I'd also like to know how she comes up with the idea that the Blessed Virgin Mary is not in the bible. I'm pretty sure she's mentioned. I'm guessing this teacher is one of those folks who doesn't believe in praying for the intercession of the Blessed Mother. And guess what? That's not a problem. She can skip that altogether as a Catholic. She can skip the intercession of the saints as well. We don't mind. (Even if it means a few less Christmas orders this year.)
But as long as she's at it, I hope she's at least consistent in her beliefs and doesn't ask anyone else to pray for her either. Why bother? It's all between you and Jesus, right? I don't mind. The situation will free up some of our time.
What she can't do is tell people not to believe in intercessory prayer. That would be bad. I have a feeling she actually does believe in intercessory prayer. She does if she's ever asked someone to remember her in their prayers. Perhaps she has a grudge against the saints. Many people do. They make us feel so inadequate, what with getting their fingers chewed off by the Iroquois and being roasted to death on a grill and being shot full of arrows and saying only, "I forgot to duck!" Wait...that was Ronald Reagan.......St. Lawrence had the Reaganesque comment when he was being roasted, "Turn me over, I'm done on this side!" I think he also said something about dinner being ready soon.
Purgatory IS in the Bible. It's just in a part of the Bible that the Protestants threw out. She might want to make sure she has a Catholic Bible. Maccabees 12:46: "Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from sin." Please explain what this means if there is no Purgatory. Dead people in heaven don't have to be freed from sin. Dead people in hell aren't getting freed from anything. The Catholic church just gave that place a name. A purging place...hmmm a purgatorium.....Purgemart...PurgeyWorld...PurgeInn...
I think they came up with a pretty good name for it.
A more interesting question is: how did Maccabees get thrown out of the Protestant Bible? Martin Luther was mad because the Church was selling indulgences. He was right about that being very bad. The Church at the time actually had a jingle to go with their sales pitch ("As soon as the coin into the coffer rings, another soul into Heaven springs." I hope it had a cathcy tune), that's how bad it was. But then Martin Luther went and just took things out of the Bible he didn't want to be in there. He was mad about indulgences so he took out the reference to Purgatory. Way to go, Martin. Problem solved. Let's all try this tactic at tax time next year. What W-2's?
I'd like to find out what she thinks Jesus meant by, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (John 20:23). Maybe I only dreamed that was in the Bible. Maybe I read it somewhere else. "Travels with Jesus and His Pals" "Chicken Soup for the Confessional" "All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten...or from Jesus", perhaps.
Here's more on Confession.
And other stuff.
The only area worth discussing on her list (her list so far) is the celibacy thing, since we actually do have some married priests in the Church as we speak.
Oh well. Won't she be surprised if she finds herself in Purgatory with the Blessed Mother bringing her water, while one of her uncatechised students seated next to her mentions that they both would have been better off going to confession once in a while.