… See, this is why I could never be a catechist. I would lose my mind.
A close acquaintance told me that she has several kids in her 2nd grade First Communion class who are obviously not ready. They’ve failed every test and consistently not handed in work. When I asked her if she just spoke to the parents, she said she’s tried. They always promise things will improve but they never do. She wanted my advice.
I suggested she tell the parents exactly what she told me… they are not ready.
Explain to the parents, I said, that you cannot recommend, in good conscience, to Father that their child is ready to receive their First Holy Communion and that perhaps next year they will be more mature. I mean there is no requirement that kids have to receive First Communion in second grade. It’s an important sacrament and imperative for their child’s spiritual development that they get it right. What parent, what Catholic parent, wouldn’t appreciate a teacher so caring that she is trying to impart the importance of the Eucharist on her students by stressing the sacraments are not to be taken lightly.
I felt so certain if she was just honest with the parents about the gravity of the situation the parents would react reasonably, you know, like responsible parents. Give the thought consideration, have a discussion with their spouse, talk to their kid about the sacrament, offer to help them with anything they don’t understand. Typical stuff I like to refer to as obvious normal parenting stuff. I naively imagined their response to her honest candor to be rational and civilized.
She was called a horrible teacher, a lazy teacher, ineffective, worthless, incompetent. You can’t fail my kid, we’ve already planned his First Communion party. Think about the nonrefundable venue deposits. The already printed out invitations. What kind of monster fails an seven year old child?! I am going straight to Sister, Father, Brother, God Almighty Himself. You haven’t heard the last of this!
The uproar was so loud that finally this catechist who doesn’t even get paid but volunteers her own time and classroom supplies, and who dearly loves her students but loves the Eucharist more, was told that she was not allowed to fail any student… even the ones who could care less and can’t even spell Eucharist.
Things have deteriorated so badly that the parents were even able to get a request through to dumb down the Act of Contrition… because it’s too hard and long to remember and boo feakin’ hoo. Seriously. Is that even legal or did I just completely miss the huge ass sign out front that says Catholic Church? Because…
And the drum of poor catechism beats on.