Over the years, I've been pretty suprised by the number of disgruntled "Catholics" who don't go to mass. They carry with them old wounds, infected over the years by misunderstandings so distorted I can't understand how someone would come to believe them.

Maybe the problem is that some Catholics and former Catholics have, at best, a 3rd grade understanding of their faith. They may be 40,50, or even 70 years old but they can't do the spiritual equivalent of their ABCs. They can certainly throw tantrums though.

Some of the reasons people give for leaving the Church turn out to be pretty flimsy: Sr. slapped me too many times or Father so and so turned out to be a drunk. These are reasons to leave the one TRUE Church? How many of us no longer add and subtract because of a bad experience with a math teacher? How many people deny the laws of physics because the physics teacher made fun of his students?

Physics isn't wrong because a physics teacher did something wrong. The same is true about the Catholic faith. IF you've learned what the Catholic Church teaches (most people haven't) and disagree, then at least you've made an informed decision. There's nothing wrong with that. If, like most people, you don't even know the basics, but presume to, or don't presume to and act against it anyway, well...I beg you to reconsider.

A Catholic who blows off the Church without knowing the basics is like a guy entering a spelling bee without knowing his letters. Put more dramatically, what if the same guy had to choose between two doors--one with a bear behind it, one with no bear? The doors are clearly marked as such. Only problem is our guy doesn't know how to read because as a child his reading teacher slapped him and from then on he no longer believed in the value of reading.

When someone has to make a decision to follow or not follow God, the situation is a little more dire. We're no longer talking about reading, we're talking about Truth. And the door doesn't read "bear" it says "hell." I'd say that's enough reason to take up reading again. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a good place to begin.


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