Spawn is still quite adamant about becoming Catholic.
The first step to take is for Spawn to participate in Reconciliation, which in my father’s day was known as First Confession. I have my doubts as to what sorts of sins a second grader would be able to confess to, but it’s a clearing of the conscience, and no matter what your age, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. My husband and I went to a parents’ meeting on Monday night to learn more about the sacrament of Reconciliation, and how they plan to move 40-odd children relatively quickly through the process. What I know about being Catholic wouldn’t fit in a thimble, so of course what I learned during the meeting increased my knowledge exponentially. Now, whether or not I understand everything still remains to be seen.
While part of me is a little bit excited that Spawn has developed the conviction to take this step, there is a bit of reconciliation going on in my head at the same time.
Part of the problem predates my existence on this earth, during those years that my very Catholic grandmother rode roughshod over my mother for 1) not becoming Catholic when she married my father, 2) not having a passel of kids right away, and 3) not raising me to be Catholic. I think the term “Mother In Law From Hell” was coined for women like my grandmother. It left a sour taste in my mother’s mouth, which in turn she passed on to me. I have always been a bit circumspect about the Catholic faith because of that.
Another schism I am working through is my view of gender as it relates to the Catholic church’s position on women. When my husband and I married, our minister was a woman. That was important to me. The denomination I was raised in allows and encourages women to be in leadership roles. I never have been one to accept being held back because of gender. I think it’s important that gender as a barrier should be a nonissue, much as race as a barrier should be a nonissue. It has nothing to do with intelligence or capability. And while I don’t pretend to understand the mind of God, I do think that he doesn’t care too awful much whether you’re male or female, just so long as you’re willing.
I have been examining my feelings about this, trying to decide what part of them are me and what’s fallout from 40+ years ago. I certainly don’t want to infect Spawn with my prejudice on this subject; to do so would be to discount the kid’s reasoning and feeling about it. Even at seven a kid needs to have a certain amount of trust placed in his/her judgement, and really, it’s not like we’re talking about knocking off banks here.
Still, in for a penny, in for a pound. We took Spawn to mass at the Catholic church this past weekend, which is something of a homecoming for me, as I have not been to a mass on a Sunday morning since I was Spawn’s age. My husband seemed to take everything in stride, but in the long run I am not seeing him embracing the Catholic faith. He’s quite the anti-establishment sort. And all that stand up, sit down, kneel, lather, rinse, repeat stuff is not his cup of tea. And having never really been exposed to Catholic worship, he was incredulous to learn that each and every service the church has follows the same format. There is no “contemporary” service, like what he’s gotten used to at our Protestant church. “You mean they do communion every time?” was his question. Oh, yes. This is not Church Lite, nosirree.
Had it been me on this faith quest, I feel sure my husband would have waved from the driveway as I pulled out on my way to service. But this is Spawn’s great desire. And as any parent knows, your children will move you to do things you never thought you would do.
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