CATHOLIC DIALOG #1
( Jim and Tom are both Catholic teenagers. They have been going to the same Church for as long as they can both remember. At one time, they were both altar boys, and they have just recently received Confirmation.)
Jim: Hi Tom. What's up?
Tom: Nothing much. Do you want to go play some video games?
Jim: I'd like to, but I have CCD tonight. Aren't you coming?
Tom: No way. I've been going to CCD all my life. I was an altar boy for a few years and now I say enough is enough. After Confirmation, I decided that I've had enough CCD.
Jim: You're kidding. Weren't you paying attention? Father said, "Confirmation is not graduation."
Tom: I heard him, but I can't figure out what he means by that.
Jim: Well why don't you ask him?
Tom: Ask him what?
Jim: Ask him why he thinks you should continue to learn about your faith even after Confirmation. He must have a pretty good reason. He mentions it in the announcements every week at Mass.
Tom: Why don't you ask him?
Jim: I did.
Tom: Well, what did he say?
Jim: He said that you need more than a ninth grade education to get through life and it's the same with religious education. He also said that a relationship grows as our knowledge of another person increases. This is also true of our relationship with God. You do want to grow closer to God don't you?
Tom: Well of course I do, but...
Jim: The opposite of growing is dying. You don't want your love for God to die do you?
Tom: No. Of course not.
Jim: Then why run that risk? Cardinal John Neuman said, "There are only two alternatives, the way to Rome, and the way to atheism." Please come to class Tom.
Tom: CCD is boring, and I don't like the teacher.
Jim: So you're going to let this teacher stand in the way of your relationship with God, right? That's silly.
Tom: Maybe it is.
Jim: Well of course it is.
Tom: Okay, but it still is pretty boring.
Jim: If you're so bored, why don't you try applying yourself a little more? Participate in the discussions. Join the youth group. Get active. "Live dangerously".
Jim: If you don't put anything into it, how can you expect to get anything out? Boredom has a way of fueling itself. Inactivity leads to lack of motivation and that leads to boredom. It's a vicious circle.
Tom: So you think that if I were more active I would be interested and more motivated, right?
Jim: Makes sense doesn't it? When I'm active, I'm not bored. How about you?
Tom: Nobody is bored, when they're active Jim.
Jim: Right. Maybe that's why Pope John Paul II said, "All members of the laity ought to devote a part of their time to the Church, living their faith authentically."
Tom: Okay Jim. I get the point, but I know a lot of adults who don't go to classes or do anything. They go to Church every week and seem to be doing fine.
Jim: How do you know how "they're doing"? They might be starving for knowledge. They might be conducting independent studies. The important thing is to continue learning about your faith somehow. St. Peter said that we should always be ready to explain our beliefs. This is very important in our society. Sometimes people can be very anti-Catholic.
Tom: I don't think it's quite that bad Jim. Don't you think you're exaggerating a little?
Jim: Not a bit. Have you ever heard of Paul Claudel?
Jim: He was a French poet who said, "The faith of a Catholic is not a matter of indifference. It is a direct and personal menace to the security of him who does not share it."
Tom: I don't care if people don't like our Church. I don't care what anyone thinks.
Jim: Well suppose you're with a group of people and someone starts making hostile remarks about our Church. You would want to defend it wouldn't you? You wouldn't just sit there and let them slander our Church would you?
Tom: Well no, but...
Jim: Good, because my dad says that with the way things are in the world today a Catholic must either defend or deny his faith. There is no neutral position that you can take. It is too important.
Tom: Alright Jim. Lets work out a compromise. Do you think it would be okay if I quit CCD as long as I join the adult Bible study class?
Jim: It's a Catholic class isn't it?
Tom: Of course.
Jim: That would great. Hey, why don't we do both join?
Tom: We? Do you want to come too?
Jim: Sure. Why not?
Tom: Okay, then I'll give it my best shot too.