Hello, Heroic Catholics!
I’m wrapping up my second week of my Sophomore Year of college. So far, so good. My classes seem simple enough, not too much homework, and I’m starting to make some cool friends.
With the start of a new school year here, it’s important that we’re ready for everything the year brings. Dealing with teachers, annoying classmates, traffic on sidewalks (Thank you, Pokemon Go players!), and the ways people challenge your faith.
It’s not always in a big way, but it’s there. So far this year 2 of my classes have brought up the Catholic Church and its impact on various things. Some of the information they said was correct, some was stretching the truth, and some was flat out wrong.
How do you handle that? Or if a friend starts talking to you and attacks or questions your faith, what do you do?
What you don’t do is this:
And DEFINITELY not this:
Okay? Cool. Let’s talk about the first situation I mentioned. The professor/teacher says something about Catholicism that is flat out wrong or partially true…
You can sit there and do nothing.
You can raise your hand
and politely ask for clarification:
“Prof. Sherlock, when you said that 2+2=5, are you talking about an extremely large value of 2 or did I hear you wrong?”
You can email your teacher/professor after class, politely asking for clarification and explaining your knowledge on the subject:
“Dear Prof. Sherlock,
Today in class you wrote on the board that in the year 1995 the first Harry Potter book came out. I’m a little confused – for the release date online and everywhere I’ve looked says 1997.
If your class is discussion oriented, bring it up if it fits! If you feel comfortable talking in front of the class about it and explaining it, fantastic. But that’s not most people. That’s not even me usually. I’d go for the email route or meeting with the professor after class.
Remember to be polite, sincere, and know they might just ignore you or choose to not do anything.
If you consistently have an issue with a professor or teacher about incorrect information, or if they refuse to listen or anything, your’e done your job so you can walk away. Maybe drop the course if you just see it as being one that will do nothing for you except make you mad. Turn up your collar and walk out:
Now for friendly fire….you’ve been friends with this person since day one of classes, or maybe you met them at lunch, maybe they’ve been your friend since kindergarten – and now they’re attacking your faith. What do you do?
I’d highly recommend not.
I don’t know the dynamics of your friendships – but I wouldn’t recommend this either.
Just talk to them. Be nice about it. Find common ground if you can – if they’re asking you about Papal infallibility, you can agree that the Pope is not infallible when talking about who is going to win the next Quidditch match, he might say Hufflepuff when really..
Common ground. Cool?
Then ask for clarification. As if that’s what they mean, did they mean they thought the Pope was infallible in all matters? They might go:
Then you have your chance to figure out what they meant, and explain the truth of the matter – the Pope is only infallible when talking on matters of faith and mortals, as shown in scripture and carried down through the tradition of the Church.
They might go:
Because your awesome Catholic geekness was, in fact, awesome.
Or they could go:
Either way, good job.
Clarify (this goes with listening)
Heroic Catholics – you’ve got this school thing down. If you ever find yourself not knowing what to say or how to respond to someone, of if you just need to rant about how this professor doesn’t understand that the Canon of the Catholic Bible was decided upon in the 4th century and NOT at the council of Trent in the 1500s….shoot me an email. Comment here.
The main thing I want you to know is that there are answers out there for any question someone has and reasons for why the Church did what she did/behaved how she behaved throughout history.