A while back I wrote a post about how we had recently started taking the kids to mass and how it wasn’t going too well. If you didn’t see it, it was about how giddy and loud Sarah are in church and how it stresses me out. You can read it here.
Of course I used the odd bit of humour in the piece but anyone that is a regular reader will know that a lot of my stuff is tongue in cheek. If you didn’t know that, you do now.
Many fellow parents empathised with me after reading it. I got no such empathy from an anonymous person who chose to write me a letter recently. An actual letter. The tone of the letter was passive aggressive or perhaps aggressive even, as it was written in all capital letters. Either way it wasn’t nice, not very Catholic Church like, but I’m very lucky to have a hard neck and I don’t tend to offend very easily.
Let me enlighten you about the anonymous letter. Apparently the writer could only feel pity for me and my little darlings. Why? I haven’t a notion. Sure we’re grand, happy and healthy and sure as hell not looking for pity.
He or she then offered me some advice. The writer suggested I keep my children at home until I ‘have thought them how to behave in church’. Apparently six months prior to their First Holy Communion will suffice. The writer is adept at sarcasm it appears. Luckily I am too!
Catholic Church – a place for quiet prayer only
I was informed that 98 per cent of people go to church for quiet prayer time and because Aidan and Sarah aren’t of the should be seen and not heard ilk, it would be impossible for parishioners to have their quiet prayer time. The letter read, ‘It would be impossible with your little Johnny and Mary misbehaving – not the fault of the kids – only the adoring parents’. Now I have no clue who Johnny and Mary are and I can assure you that neither Daddy Chambers or I are their parents!
In my post I referred to some fellow parishioners as ‘auld ones’, take note of the above tongue in cheek remark. My lovely ‘fan’ took umbrage at the phrase however and I was advised to teach by example and instill respect in my children. Duly noted. Oh and the writer also informed me that the ‘auld ones’ in mass don’t want to be entertained by Aidan and Sarah just so I can ‘work up a plot’ for my next article. Aye, aye captain!
The writer went on to say that ‘we all reared our children by using our common sense’ but pointed out that they weren’t getting paid to monitor their every move. I’m glad he or she cleared that up. I get paid in hugs and kisses and gorgeous smiles for my job as a parent, sure didn’t it pay for the weekly shop in Aldi just last Sunday!
On concluding the writer offered me one last piece of priceless advice. The letter informed me that there are several schools out there where I could get my kids educated and subsequently avoid introducing them to the faith. But there was a but. Of course there was a but. I’d miss out on future entertaining blog posts if I didn’t have communions and confirmations to write about apparently. According to the writer if I were to send Aidan and Sarah to a non-denominational school, parishioners would be able to enjoy hassle free Sunday mass without the ‘badly behaved Chambers children.’
Well, what do ye all think of that? Wasn’t it a lovely letter to get in the post? It’s not how I expected to be welcomed back to the Catholic Church. If the writer had the courage to sign his or her name to the letter I would have replied. It would have been the polite thing to do. What would I have said?
Well of course I would have quoted Matthew 19:14 from the bible. The verse reads, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Or perhaps I’d mention 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, which says ‘ Love is patient, love is kind’.
I suspect that the writer isn’t patient because children such as Aidan and Sarah, or indeed Johnny and Mary are only a hassle in church. A hassle for the writer that is.
Despite my children not always sitting still and being quiet in church, fellow parishioners, have welcomed us and I said that in the original post. The reason I returned to church is because I am a Catholic. I was reared a Catholic, I got married in the Catholic church, my children were baptized and we are and want to raise them as Catholics. I personally don’t want to be the parent that shows up in church six months before their First Holy Communion, like the writer suggests.
It’s a bit sad that attitudes such as the writers’ still exist. I know they are in the minority but perhaps more young families might return to the church if such attitudes were eradicated.