Recruiting Minors Insults My Intelligence

It’s a normal, average, uneventful eighth-grade day in Catholic school.  I find myself surrounded by classmates, desks, books, the Holy Ghost, and all the paraphernalia typically associated with such an environment.   In our parish, eighth grade was the year us little kiddies experienced the sacrament of Conformation.  (Oops!  That’s supposed to be Confirmation.) Confirmation focuses on conformity, which is why I got the name messed up.  One pledges to God that one will remain affiliated with the “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church” for the rest of one’s days, confirming one’s baptismal vows and conforming to the church’s prescriptions.  It’s a big deal and the school treated it that way.

Fortunately, those of us attending the school didn’t have to exert any effort towards this end because confirmation classes took place in our regular religion course.  So… no outside time commitment except for attending the ceremony.  We didn’t have a priest or nun teaching the course, or anyone competent for that matter.  I think they had intentionally given our teacher this assignment so she couldn’t screw us up on the “important” subjects.

You have to love that logic in a Catholic school.

But this teacher did have one thing going for her.  Her manner and physical appearance resembled this lovely specimen:

Dana Carvey as The Church Lady

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To steer clear of copyright infringement, I shall refer to my teacher as Lady Church.

Lady Church was a pious little thing and I suppose that’s why the school didn’t fire her.  Every day in class, students would take turns reading one paragraph aloud from the textbook.  When a chapter ended, we took a test.  As you can see, not much teaching took place.

Usually.

One day, it was time for Lady Church to prepare us for our Confirmation interviews.  Before receiving the sacrament, we all had to pass an interview showing that we understood its significance and wanted to proceed.  After all, the sacrament was optional, to the extent that Catholic school students can permissibly abstain from religious proceedings at the center of a grade-bearing course.  Even the dabblers in Satan worship who I wrote about here didn’t refuse.  God bless the path of least resistance.

But I digress.   Lady Church had to prepare us for those interviews and the textbook did not include any relevant information.  Would she stand before us and stutter and stammer and pontificate incoherently?  Surprisingly, no.  Lady Church was one of the interviewers and she spoke to us directly in class that day, triumphantly providing us with the interview questions and correct answers.   Just memorize it and spit it back.

“Just memorize it and spit it back” pretty well sums up daily life in Catholic religion classes, at least in my experience.  But that’s not why I write today.  I was 13 or 14 at the time.  My decision-making capacities were, by law, insufficient for me to pursue relations with my sexy homeroom teacher.  I was not considered mature enough to drink alcohol responsibly and not old enough to make sufficiently informed political judgments to allow me to vote.  And if I had committed murder, my mental immaturity would have meant that I couldn’t be imprisoned beyond my 18th birthday.  However, 14-year-olds receive the “freedom” to “choose” whether they want to affiliate themselves with a religious institution (but not with a spouse) for life.  Or until they realize the lunacy of keeping a promise to a deity they don’t worship.  Or until they realize that few organizations besides their church let children make lifetime vows… and then hold them to their word.

Well isn’t that convenient?  Who could inspire such shenanigans?  Could it be Satan?

Sorry.  I couldn’t resist.  But… December 23rd has arrived and once again I’m preparing to observe what remains a secular holiday for me.  Lady Church is my holy ghost.

Junior High Insulted My Intelligence

I remember when the official letter from my school arrived.  I was an 8th grader at a Catholic school and they had never sent anything like that.  When my mother saw the envelope, she imagined the worst.

Or so she thought.

As it turned out, the principal was informing us of an information session.  Some of my classmates had been carving pentagrams into their wrists and drawing pentagrams on school property with white-out.  In response, the school administration had invited a visiting priest to present his expert understanding of Satanism and its manifestations.

Inverted Pentagram

The Satanic inverted pentagram.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I suspect my razor-wielding classmates already knew everything he taught… but then again one idiot thought this was a pentagram:

Starofdavid

The Star of David.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And this brilliant student volunteered to draw the example on the chalkboard at the group session.  So as you can see, I did not attend Catholic school with the most Catholic (or intelligent) of classmates.

But I’m not here to talk about Satanism.  I’m here to talk about drugs.  Later that year, the school decided to sponsor some drug education activities.  Because our class had already proven its moral turpitude, the idea was reasonable enough.  You can’t underestimate how early some kids start with these bad habits.

And so the school’s guidance counselor led all of us to the parking lot and she started singing.  (Of course, we were expected to join in.)  Here’s the song:

If you’re drug-free and you know it clap your hands
If you’re drug-free and you know it clap your hands
If you’re drug-free and you know it, and you really want to show it
If you’re drug-free and you know it clap your hands

She may have also conveyed some real information because I vaguely remember holding a paper of some sort.  Nevertheless, the performance served as the main event.

This leads me to a useful rule of thumb:

If students are already dabbling in Satanism, children’s songs probably won’t keep them from drugs.  If anything, the musical ringleader will lose any credibility she may have had with the students.  Even with the clean and unmutilated ones like me.

I hope her exercise doesn’t reflect the techniques one learns while pursuing a degree in education, psychology, or counseling.