We had to attend some meetings in preparation for the baptism of Mr. P into the Catholic Church that is happening on Sunday around three o'clock. The first meeting was lame, with leaders who felt inclined to share some overly personal details about their life that I couldn't have cared less about. But the second meeting was led by one of those people who you can feel that live their faith.
And I have to say, I admire that in people, I really do. A lot of the time, they seem so sure about themselves and their place in the world. I have to add that also a lot of the time, people can get a false sense of superiority about their faith and relationship with God that can really bug me. But this lady was someone who I felt was not blinded by her faith, but someone who had her eyes open and worked toward her goal of a better relationship with God, and in turn, with others.
She said something that struck me. She said that as parents of the Catholic faith, modeling our faith was going to hopefully produce a child that had a moral center. She was sincere and well-meaning when she said that.
But this is something I have always had a problem with, and thus the long, long delay in getting Mr. P baptized. Usually, the child is baptized as an infant, and at four years old, Mr. P will by far be the oldest child.
As I wrestled with the Church and all the priest molestations and the horrible way in which they were handled, I kept wondering if a lack of organized religion would in some way result in a less moral child. Is the mere fact of a parent saying "That is wrong" any less compelling if the child is wholly unaware of the Ten Commandments? To be honest, I thought not. I don't think that it takes religion to raise a moral child, and there are plenty of immoral religious people.
Growing up, I attended Catholic schools and attended Church every Sunday. I had an easy relationship with God. I would talk to him, and while he wouldn't necessarily answer me, I felt that he at least was listening. I still feel that way. I do happen to have some opinions that are contrary to Church teachings, but I always comfort myself with the fact that Jesus himself encouraged his followers to ask questions.
Ultimately, that is why I finally decided to rejoin the Church. I wanted to expose Mr. P to the teachings of the Bible, and the community of the Church. I kept wondering that if I never introduced him to God through a formal worship, would he think that I had cheated him somehow, that I had kept him from finding some sort of solace or peace in a relationship with God.
I suppose you could say that I am hedging my bets, even though it sounds a little awful. But, how else can he get to know if he wants a relationship with God if the chance is never really introduced? If he chooses to reject Catholicism, and that would fully be his decision when he gets older, at least he will be doing that from a position of knowledge, rather than one of misconception.
And that I think, is as good a gift as any parent can give a child.