Here’s a bit of friendly wisdom for my non-Catholic friends and neighbors who may be wondering what the heck to NOT to say to me on a day like today when I’ve just received big news that my spiritual shepherd is resigning:
- Wow, I heard your Pope’s quitting. This means he’s dying, right? Wow, that’s so sad.
- Dude, I heard your Pope’s resigning — I guess they finally nailed him for all of that child abuse stuff he was involved in.
- This is great. This probably means you’re finally getting an American pope now, right?
- Awesome, women can now finally become priests.
- Don’t be sad. It’s God’s will. (On second thought, maybe this one’s ok…)
These are simply a small sampling of the stuff that’s been floating around today. If you’re Catholic, remember that today is an opportunity to step up and to be a positive part of the New Evangelization. It’s a time to help educate our communities on the process at hand and on our trust that the Holy Spirit will guide our conclave of Cardinals. It’s not a time for odds making, for speculation, or for making statements that are counter to Church teaching. In moments like these, you and I — the average Catholics in the pew — should acknowledge our own feelings but should also realize that for most of the non-Catholic friends in our lives, what we say is assumed to be what the Church says. So we’re called to prayerfully consider our conversations, to use them to edify and uplift, and to avoid being a part of anything but the truth.
What would you add to my list above? What crazy things have friends, co-workers, or those who you know who don’t like Catholicism, or don’t understand it, said to you today?