Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday's Truth: Catholic Enough?

A friend of mine once said to me, "You know? There are times I've been made to feel that I'm not Catholic enough."  

Bingo! She hit the proverbial nail on the head. I'll explain why in a moment.

I am involved in a home school ministry through our church. Because of this, I am acquainted with some of the most devout, wonderful, charitable, Christian, Catholic women. I admire these women and the sacrifices that they have made for themselves and family. 

I understand exactly what my dear friend was trying to say. You see, there is a small minority within our home schooling ranks that demonstrate, in my humble opinion, true unchristian behavior. They believe themselves superior because they:

Do not watch television unless it is EWTN.
Do not allow their kids to read Harry Potter.
Believe those that do are committing the most egregious sin, ever!
(and that goes double for all you Twilight fans out there)
Only read "religious" books by Catholic authors.
Do not allow their kids to play with non-Catholic children.
Believe Pokemon is of the devil.
Believe in their own sainthood and martyrdom here on earth.
Believe they know so much more than their parish priest.
Think all music, unless it's hymns, Gospel or Gregorian chant, is evil.
and on and on....

When I began home schooling it was for scholastic/academic purposes, not religious. I have given my children a firm foundation in their faith but I also hope I have taught them to respect people of all faiths, backgrounds, and stations in life. With that said, after May, I will no longer be a home schooling mom. My job is done. I've accomplished what I needed to do and both my children will be attending the same charter school. Bethany was able to begin attending the charter, this year, for 9th grade. 

Hence, the reason for today's post. I encountered one such woman, above, after Mass yesterday. She inquired about my daughter and how school was going for her. I explained she was doing very well and appears to be gifted academically. "No," she responds, "how is she REALLY doing?" Oh, okay, I'll bite. I went on to say that although some of the other students drive her nuts she has found a good, solid, core group of friends. I then stated that Bethany is learning real life lessons, since, after all, she's in the real world now. You would have thought that I had smeared her face with dog poo the way she tore into me. And I quote:

"Real world? Real world! That's not the real world! The real world work environment doesn't have gangs and violence and drugs and sex!"

I shook my head sadly and simply said, "Dear friend, I work in the real world and have done so for over 30 years. I'm sorry to report that yes, indeed, these are things you encounter every single day in the real world. I am confident, however, I have taught my children well enough to avoid being lured into the seedier side of real life." 

I then walked away, pitying her. 


Mary said...

Unbelievable. I have Catholic friends who homeschool (in the Carolinas, in fact), but they make sure their kids are "real" kids and have the exposure they need to survive in the "real world". That woman's kids are in for a very rude awakening when they leave the shelter of her nest.

blueviolet said...

Sheltering them and pretending those things don't exist is not preparing them to deal with reality. She's the one doing the disservice to her kids, not because she's homeschooling, but because she's hiding them and in denial.

You gave her the perfect response!

Tortuga said...

I truly feel sorry for people like that. They are closing themselves off to so many very wonderful things. Do they not realize that Jesus Himself kept the company of criminals, outcasts and prostitutes? That He teaches us to be accepting and welcoming to all?

Those poor ignorant fools.

Mumsy said...

"...I have taught them to respect people of all faiths, backgrounds, and stations in life." This is what I hope my children learned also, and that poor woman, I pity her too!

Jephy's Mom said...

When sinners encountered Jesus (think of the Samaritan woman, and Zaccchaeus) they didn't usually feel humiliated or put down. Jessus was all about love. Loving God first, then others.

When you have an encounter with a follower of Christ, if they are getting it right, you should feel some of that love - not condemnation.

It is supposed to be that Christians have such great qualities (loving, caring, working for justice, helping out each other, ect) that others would naturally want what they have and would decide to follow Christ too.

I wonder if anyone would be attracted to the Christian way of life by looking at the people you mentioned above?

Julie Schuler said...

Those are just the kind of "Christians" that creep the rest of us out.

banshezmom said...

I belong to a church where many of the parents homeschool their children. Although not with all of them, I have seen a terrible transition from homeschool to real world. The kids are sheltered from the real world to a large extent and then when they become part of it they are overwhelmed. If you give your kids a good solid foundation and keep and open line of communication the real world won't be able to knock them down.

Ms. Diva said...

Wow! I always wonder if these people realize that at some point thy were kids and that they did not emerge into this world full grown. Yet they have manged to survive. Good comeback, I don't think I would have been so polite.

Erin said...

I totally agree with you. And good for you for standing up to her. I believe if you teach your kids and prepare them for the things they'll encounter out in the real world, they will make the right choices. Not always, but MOST of the time.

What a wonderful post, Polly. Your kids are lucky to have such an amazing mom!

Steven Anthony said...

you handled that perfectly....some people are so closed minded, it is scary...I know a lady who only believes Baptist will be in heaven, I told her if that was true I didnt want to go because it would be so boring...lol

Willoughby said...

I'm so glad that you brought this up and I'll tell you why. People like that woman are the very reason others are suspicious of families who homeschool. The parents who keep their kids in a tightly closed environment are the ones you usually hear about (I won't mention a particular family with a show on TLC). It gives homeschooling a bad name. It's a shame you rarely hear about the great moms like you who encourage their kids to experience the world outside of their home. Good for you for giving her a dose of reality!

I want my kids to be exposed to other cultures, faiths and beliefs, too. I want them to have the knowledge to make their own choices. It's my job (as I see it) to raise them to think for themselves, not to become clones of myself or my husband.

Fabulous post! You rock, sister!

jrbaker said...

This is where so many Christians get it wrong--they put their own rules and regulations on the faith, judge other Christians (in addition to everyone else), and dilute what God wants in favor of what they think is the correct way to live. Great post 5th!

Ms Bibi said...

Good for you.
Yes, the real world is not pretty, but we have to live in it not matter what our believes are.

My mom is JW and there is lots of wonderful people with great morals and believes among them and then there is lots with the same believes as you described.They think that they are better because they go to the extreme.

I've been around JW's for many years and I noticed that the ones who go to the extreme usually lose their children the minute they graduate high school to the "real world" of alcohol, drugs, parties....all the things they were shield from and never were exposed to. I personally know 3 or 4 of them and I don't think they will ever return to their faith.

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

You can help to build a strong foundation and give your children tools for dealing with the Real World, the rest is up to them. People who shelter their children are not preparing them to be successful adults, and I think don't trust their children.

Midday Escapades said...

Ah yes, I recall when I worked very hard to be Catholic enough. I finally realized that it's impossible. I'm now just trying to find some sense of spirituality.

Nessa said...

She lives in a real world different than mine, too, apparently one entirely different from Jesus' world also.

Raoulysgirl said...

I have to say that I love this post! I think that in some ways, so many people have gotten so caught up in the IDEA of religion (not just Catholicism or Christianity) that they have forgotten the foundation of religion...faith. THAT is probably my biggest gripe with organized religion. That, and the fact that it seems belief is taught more out of fear these days than actual faith. Those who believe because they are afraid to NOT believe...that scares the hell out of me...because to me, that's NOT faith.

Ack! I'm sorry to get so long winded here. I actually have a lot to say on the subject but I don't want to take up all of your comment space!!! <3

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

Polly,I couldn't agree with you more!Good for you!
All those religion issues and narrow minded people just piss me off.
Betty xx

The Urban Cowboy said...

Wow, good for you. Ignorance is not bliss...nor is it an excuse. I like the way you handled it!

GardenofDaisies said...

It is sad. And you will find kinda crazed people like that within any religion.

Jamie said...

One of my favorite quotes is "The problem with most Catholics is that they don't celebrate their faith--the mourn it." Yeah--it's from the movie Dogma so I'm probably going to hell. :-)


Related Posts with Thumbnails