Flipping Tables

February 5th, 2015 by Karen

Warning: Rant ahead. You’ve been warned.

I am angry.

No. I am downright furious.

What makes you think that you have any right to demand of me a written permission slip stating that I am an active member of my faith?

Do you come to my house and see that we say grace before our meals?

Or that every day of Advent we read a Bible verse as a family pertaining to the names of Jesus and then discussed what each verse meant and how we can better live our lives as Jesus taught and then decorated our Christmas tree with those names?

Do you know the worry that plagues me every time my children altar serve for you that they won’t make a mistake and you won’t look at them with that horrid thin-lipped cross look you give?

Do you know that my eldest child attended the ‘training’ you gave and immediately afterword informed me that they would no longer altar serve because they felt they wouldn’t be serving the altar anymore but you personally?

Do you even realize that your disapproval has a profound effect on children and can make them fall AWAY from their faith?

Do you know how much it pains me that for the last year and a half I have been physically unable to fully kneel during Mass?

Do you understand what it’s like to live with crippling depression and that sometimes just getting out of bed is a blessing and benediction in and of itself?

Do you know that one of my most prized possessions is an inherited communion set that was brought from Europe when they immigrated and squirreled away by relatives through the years “just in case”?

Do you understand what sort of devotion this taught me from people who once were terrified of openly professing their faith?

Do you have any idea what our school was like just 2 years ago when I had a child that was falling apart at the seams because of a teacher that the administration REFUSED to deal with?

Can you even see the good that our school does now and just how damn hard the parents work to keep it going?

Do you see the amazing things that the current principal has done and how hard she works or are you only capable of criticizing her work?

Do you realize that I finished my 40 “required” volunteer hours in the first 3 weeks of the school year?

Do you have any remote inkling of the kind of financial sacrifice we have made for the last 12 years so our children could have a Catholic education?

I am a baptized Catholic.
I was an altar server for many years and one of the first girls to altar serve at the Cathedral.
I am a confirmed Catholic.
I am a married Catholic.
My children are baptized Catholic.
The eldest is confirmed Catholic.
By the grace of God, I will die Catholic.

At 17, in a town meeting of approximately 100 people at our parish, most of whom I knew as they were Knights of Columbus, I respectfully objected to moving our thriving youth ministry from a useful and large location in the parish hall to a tiny 10×15 room that we would be unable to meet in. I detailed the reasons I thought it should be kept where it was and, if it couldn’t, why the new location was unsuitable. I was told TO MY FACE by our parish priest that because I was a girl and a teenager, my opinion didn’t matter one bit (his exact words) and to sit down. When I took offense, I was SHOUTED AT to get out. Only one adult in the entire meeting came to my defense and I will never forget the look of shame on the faces of the other adults in the room as he chastised them. I was still humiliated.

That was not the last time a priest told me I was worthless because of my sex or my age.
I’m sure it will happen again.

However, I’ve made damn sure that my children know the opposite is true. I am the one in power here. I am the one teaching the next generation of Catholics. I am the one who taught them their prayers at bedtime, the one that listened to them countlessly stumble over the words as they learned the creed, the one that sang “This little light of mine” a billion times in the car until my ears bled. I’m the one that answers the hard questions about death, abortion, and rape. I’m the one who nudges their busy bodies to a modicum of respectfulness in Mass and takes the time to explain why we do the things that we do and the meaning behind each and every little thing in the sanctuary. They see me try to offer up my own faith, such as it is, in the best way that I can.

On the other hand, you speak at them, not to them. You refuse to answer their questions. You demand respect rather than earning it. You talk incessantly of vocation, yet show little of it and never discuss that parenthood is also a vocation.

You want to know why there aren’t enough boys becoming priests? It’s because you belittle their mothers.

News flash. Faith is not a once a week obligation. It is not money in an envelope. It’s not so a bunch of people can come listen to you jabber away about how much the parish needs to donate or how we should come to Mass every week. (Pro tip: That’s called preaching to the choir…the choir is already at Mass. You don’t need to tell them to come.)

You want donations to increase through punishment and punitive measures, but that’s not how donations work. Even the concept of ‘tithing’ 10% is outdated and is an Old Testament obligation under the Laws of Moses. It doesn’t free modern Catholics from the obligation to help the church, but there is no set dollar amount here.

As Paul states in 2 Corinthians 8:12-15:

For if the eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have; not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your surplus at the present time should supply their needs, so that their surplus may also supply your needs, that there may be equality. As it is written: “Whoever had much did not have more,and whoever had little did not have less.”

I have nothing left monetary to give you that I haven’t already given to the school. I have also given my time and my talents above and beyond what I have been requested to do. This well is dry and you will have to make do with the blood, sweat and tears I have already given to you.

I’ll fill out your damnable and offensive permission slip because I’m like the woman with ten silver coins who has lost one. I’m going to search and find every last cent I can to care for my family.

I still think you’re a small minded bigoted bureaucrat paper pusher with a Napoleonic ego.

Oh, and since we’re picking nits here, you did promise to be a presence on campus this year.
According to the jr. high student, you’ve been to their classroom once and that was last week. According to the elementary student, you’ve never even been to their classroom.

Might want to take that log out of your eye first there, sport.

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