Monday, December 29, 2008

A Quick Break from Helo Hiatus...

Yes, Helo Mom is alive and well. The saga has continued from a distance over the past week. The Athlete has been out of the area - but not far from his phone - since Christmas Eve. We are up to 2-4 hours of evening conversation per night between the two young people...and to sum it all up, let's just say he's very anxious to return home to his little non-girlfriend Cheerleader. (I don't know why the pretense re: nomenclature persists, but it does - I'm scared to ask the girl about it lest I jinx something or get glared-at).

Anyway. We went to the regional "Cinders" Mass as usual, due to the Beloved's Sunday 7-3 stint. The Athlete called shortly after we returned home, chipper and chatty when I answered, and asked me how Mass went (don't ask me why, I just cracked up at the question). I reassured him that it was just fine, and we actually had a rarely-bestowed VERY GOOD homily about the Holy Family as well as the vocations of married life and parenting from conception to death. Thinking that I was boring him, I handed the phone over to the Cheerleader, and apparently the Church conversation continued. Somewhere around the 45-minute mark, the Cheerleader shoved the phone back into my hand and said "someone" had questions and wanted to talk to me.

What ensued was a 30 minute Q&A session regarding the Athlete's reservations about Catholicism and his potential for final conversion - as has been revealed in previous posts and comments, the kid's got a lapsed Catholic Dad, a strident Methodist Mom, and most damningly of all, perhaps, a DOR "Catholic" school education. No wonder he's confused!

He started out by declaring himself as a "waiting until marriage" (good to know!), politically/morally conservative, ardently pro-life and faith-centered kinda guy. (I had gleaned as much by observation over the past few years, but it was good of him to confirm these things). The main points of Capital Letter Contention: Purgatory (got the good lifetime Protestant Bible-camp goer's "I've read the Bible from cover to cover several times and it's not in there" spiel), Confession (as a Sacrament as opposed to a privately-conducted conversation with Christ at one's own convenience), Gay "Marriage" (between non-Catholics, anyway), Abortion (he has 3rd party concerns about the issues facing rape victims and life-threatening conditions for mothers), and barrier-method Birth Control for married people who wish to use it.

Whew! (I'm gearing up for Transubstatiation and the Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos next...)

So, I did my level best at teen-oriented impromptu apologetics. (The Beloved was nearby and high-fived me for a few clever, well-placed sports analogies.) I had much more to say, but kept it brief. I think I clarified a lot for him and made some forward progress - he thanked me profusely and said he understood many things much better now, and had a lot more to think about. As do I.

Helo Mom is taken aback by the sudden, out-of-the blueness of the questions, flattered to be the one he's chosen to ask, and feeling a great deal of responsibility for providing fruit-producing answers to these questions. I wish we had a solid young priest - locally - to whom I could entrust this nice boy and his questions for far better answers and lived-by-example formation than I can possibly provide him. Regardless of this kid's present or future association with our family, I sense that he's seeking out information and answers that will shape the rest of his life and how he lives it.

Helo Mom is feeling the gravity of this assignment. How to guide without overwhelming with too much information? Would a 17-1/2 year old follow through with book recommendations? Probably not. So...what's a Helo Mom to do?

(Calling on wouldn't-it-be-ideal-future-Bp. Richtsteig of Rochester...)


In the meantime, all prayers and positive thoughts for this good young man, his soul, and the wisdom of his chosen answer-bearer would be appreciated.


Larry Denninger said...

Well, I wouldn't suggest National Catholic Distorter, that's for sure!

In the meantime, I'll include your intentions in my prayers. Just present the Truth to the best of your ability and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

And Merry Christmas to you, btw!

Interstate Catholic said...

Kit, I was at the same mass as well. I agree with you, a very good sermon.

My only complaint is that I wish that they would replace that burned out lightbulb over the statue of St. Anthony.

Kit said...

Larry - Merry Christmas to you, too! How'd I miss telling you that before?!?


IC - good to know you're out there...there's also the one with the "short" over the BVM that flashes on and off!

gemoftheocean said...

Kit: The following two books are excellent and highly readable. I'd say start with Scott (and Kimberly) Hahn's Rome Sweet Home. Scott used to be a Presbyterian minister, and he had to work through all those questions.

Also Karl Keating has an excellent apologetics book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism."

At the core of the faith he needs to cling to this: Does he believe Jesus is God? If yes: Then does it follow that you pay attention to what Jesus says? If yes: Then the bread and wine are the Body and Blood of Jesus. Protestants only believe they represent Jesus. [barring some high church Anglicans...and that's dicey, given the Anglican church seems to be "well, whatever you believe about it you're still welcome attitude.] Next, Jesus also said that he is building his Church on Peter...which means He did leave someone in charge. Note also the "keys of the kingdom" reference to "bind and loose." It's also a reference to Isaiah 22:22. The steward in charge. Jesus didn't just throw down a bible and say "Good luck, y'all."] The "where is it in the bible" business is a claim the bible doesn't even make for itself. See Hahn and Keating for further detail, but 2 Tim 3:16 should take care of that, where it's stated that both written and oral tradition are valid. As regards Purgatory, it's also said that "nothing unclean shall enter heaven." Yes, in the end after the final judgment, there is only heaven and hell...AFTER all time as we humans know it is over for everyone. The NT also speaks of prayer being efficacious for the dead. It's not needed by those in heaven, and it won't help those in hell. The word isn't used, but it's certainly referred to indirectly and by inference. You can't find the word "Trinity" in the bible either, but Protestants believe that one. The protestants claim not to believe in the infallibility of the pope, but certainly the theology reflected by the school of Peter in Peter I&II is supposed to be infallible. If Peter can be infallible "by letter" then certainly he can be infallible by word of mouth! And who got to decide what books were to be IN the New Testament in the first place? Who decided what was "in" and what was "out?" Remember, Shepherd of Hermas etc. was also read in churches in the early days too...but eventually deemed "out." [As well as others.]

BTW, the Hahn book has EXCELLENT reasoning pro Humanae Vita re: artificial BC for Married couples. Best explanation I'd ever seen. Being unmarried, when I was in my 20s and 30s -- I took it on faith -- but it was a moot point for me, but I didn't understand fully until I'd read his book.

Essentially, weddings are not only contracts, but covenants. Covenants are not only exchange of tit-for-tat, but an exchange of persons. The bible speaks of covenants between man and God. We also enter into a covenant with a spouse. We give fully of ourselves to each other. And ever covenant has an act of renewal. Not being open to life would be like spitting out a Communion Host.
It's a denial of one party to another. I'm here for the "fun" but not all the consequences. There may be time when one must restrain ... but there are also times when one temporarily fasts too! We are God's agents in co-creating another human. [And women, IMO, have the biggest burden in making SURE the guy they pick to marry is *most* solicitous of her needs and not selfish. Because the children's care (and her care) while she is pregnant, in particular is of paramount importance. She is most vulnerable then, if a good time Charlie walks out on her. So she should make sure the guy is fully adult and fully committed and fully aware of his responsibilities as a good Christian man.]

As to two gays "getting married." A fraud and a deception. A little like Gone with the Wind. "You can dress up a mule and put a fancy harness on it, but it's still a mule." Or whatever Mammy said to Rhett.

Abortion: Two wrongs don't make a right. Re: rape...a wrong but you don't right a rape by killing your own kid. You don't have to KEEP the child (unless, of course you want to) there are so many couples who want to adopt. And GOOD couples too. Doing an end around a "Bad case" always makes for bad law. As regards the "life of the mother" is he aware that in many cases that can mean something like a woman telling the abortionist "I'm just gonna go craaazy if I have dis here baby." There is also the "double effect" case. I.E. the Catholic Church does not have an issue with ectopic pregnancy or removing a cancerous womb - because the intended effect was not to kill the child, but a side effect.

A good Catholic Study bible (with cross references and explanation to scripture) would also be a good gift. (You know, like for his birthday or something!) Ditto a catechism. The schools sure as hell DO NOT teach this stuff (as much as they should by a long shot) and neither, sad to say, do they before confirmation. (In many cases.)

Oh, and is Karl K.'s website. [BTW, I know him personally, he had been a long time parishioner before the present regime took over.]

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

prayers to be offered :). I hope that you had great Christmas :)

Kasia said...


I can refer you to some excellent resources, both for you and for him. Let me collect them and I will post either here or on my blog.

If you don't think he'd follow up with book recs, I have great podcast recs that he might be more interested in.

LuisLiviaLuisa said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2009!

“Let's resolve this year to create a peaceful presence wherever we go…”
“We are called to be “missionaries of forgiveness and reconciliation…”

Jesus loves you.

Luisa Veyan S.

Adrienne said...

Sounds like you're doing a great job.

Happy New Year!