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But the overwhelming evidence, based on what they declared they had been taught, was that they were horribly catechized by these people. Nothing that they declared they were told was true. I don't mean a little off, I mean flat out untrue.
Now there could be a variety of explanations for this including the most obvious - they think they heard what was said and missed the nuances - but it brought home for me the importance of what I do every day here in my job. Being a Catechist is probably one of the most difficult and yet vital roles of the members of the Body of Christ next to that of the priest. Without the priest we have no Sacramental life. Without the Catechist, we have no one wanting the Sacramental life. We are, truly, two sides of the same coin.
Without proper catechesis Catholics will waltz into any protestant denomination that hands out crackers and grape juice and think they have received Holy Communion. Without proper catechesis Catholics will choose the protestant place up the street because they have a really cool light show and a great band. Without proper catechesis we - Catholics - becomes one more lump on the fire of Christian communities rather than the Rock from which the rest chip themselves away.
This always stems from a wound of some sort. They feel devalued and they feel left out and it hurts their feelings and I get it. We have a lot of super Catholics that delight in telling others they are going to go right to hell because they married outside the Church or had an abortion or slept with someone of the same sex. What they do not seem to delight in is telling the whole Truth. They do not take the time to explain.
Now, in all fairness the two ladies I was interacting with got very angry with me. One has blocked me. She claimed I insulted her entire family by standing firm in my assertion that if her aunt who was a nun and had a masters degree did not teach her about Apostolic Succession, or how Catholics define Faith or why we believe in a state of being we have named Purgatory then she did not do a good job teaching her. And if her aunt who was a nun and had a masters degree told her that the minute you are divorced you are kicked out the Catholic Church then that aunt who was a nun and had a masters degree was incorrect and poorly educated. When she told me the masters degree was from Notre Dame, I did not shrug and say, "well, there you go" so I think I deserve Catholic Brownie Points for that one.
Fact is I did not insult her or her family. The Truth is not insulting. It can be difficult to hear. It can be delivered harshly ( I took great pains to be kind in all my wording). It can be tough to swallow.
But Truth is not insulting. It can be insulted but no, it cannot be insulting.
Because Truth is not something - it is Somebody.
Jesus does not insult, He invites. He tells you what is up and He does not pull His punches but the last thing He would ever do is insult.
So I continue to pray for both the ladies. They hearts are so wounded. Their anger and their pride wafts off the screen like dung covered in snow.
And I will continue to catechize. Because I have an obligation and a job to do.
The Church needs me.