April 9, 2016
Those are the very harsh words spoken to me by a deacon of the Catholic Church here locally, one Saturday afternoon. He’d emailed me to please meet him at his office at the nearby Catholic Church. He didn’t give a reason, but I had been in touch with the teacher of the adult RCIA classes at his Parish, and had emailed the teacher with a question concerning something that I’d come across that had alarmed me. It had to do with what two Catholic priests had said in a video I’d stumbled across on YouTube. They were insisting that the then-Pope John Paul II was not a genuine Pope. They claimed the seat of the Pope had been vacant for decades, ever since Vatican II. They were very persuasive in what they claimed, so I emailed the class teacher in the hopes that he could help me understand what was going on.
It had been hard enough for me to be able to attend more than just one RCIA class for a very long time. Each time I’d enroll, somehow something would happen that would cause me to need to drop out of the classes. Twice, I’d been going to take the classes from a Priest of the military Parish himself, and both times I couldn’t because we were sent elsewhere by the Army. At times, I actually thought I could hear in my mind my uncle Paul, [who is the one I fondly credit with getting me to attend any Church at all when I was a teenager!] who had been so dead-set against me ever becoming a Catholic, actually clapping for joy whenever I’d have to bow out of one of those classes. It makes me smile even now just thinking about that. Looking back on it all, I can see that something actually seemed to be working against my ever converting, so I’m now certain beyond any doubt I may ever have had, that it had to be the Lord, Himself, who continually threw obstacles right in my path, so it would prevent that from taking place. And, you know, now I couldn’t be more grateful to Him for it. It’s actually one, gigantic relief to me!
On that horrible Saturday afternoon in which I had the terrible misfortune of showing up at the local Parish in order to speak to that deacon as he’s requested, I had no clue as to what was about to occur. I didn’t know this deacon at all. I had only met the class’ teacher but didn’t even know him very well at all. When I’d had some emotional difficulty handling the class from the year before, he had been so very nice, and completely understanding. I told him I was still in too rocky an emotional condition to continue with the classes, and he told me that was more than fine, and if I ever decided to try taking them again just to let him know. So, that year I really thought I might be up to handling them, so I’d contacted him to ask if I could begin them again, and he’d said certainly, no problem.
I did email the teacher over what I’d heard about the ‘seat of Peter’ being vacant, asking him to please help me understand what those two priests had been talking about, because listening to them had alarmed me. However, before he emailed me back, I began doing research into the subject, and finally decided to reject it all since it was way over my head. So, I emailed the teacher back, and explained that I’d settled the whole thing in my mind, so for him not to be concerned about explaining it to me, and I’d see him that Sunday before Mass, for the RCIA class. After that is when the deacon emailed me, asking me to meet him at the Church that Saturday afternoon. I responded back, letting him know I’d be there, and that was that–that is until I got there.
Right before the time of the appointment, my husband dropped me off at the Church, and he told me to call him when the meeting was over, so he could come back and pick me up. We only lived about a mile from the Church, so he decided he’d just go back home and wait there. He, also, decided to swap cell phones with me, because he wanted me to learn how to use his. His was way more sophisticated than my little flip-phone, because, with his, he told me all I would need to do was tell it to call him, and it would! Well, I was very dubious about using it, but he insisted, so I put his phone in my purse, and thought no more about it. Until I found I needed to use the thing in a hurry, and couldn’t remember what he’d shown me, so didn’t know how to call him on it![don’t worry–it finally worked, thanks be to God!]
I didn’t need to wait more than a few minutes before the deacon came out and took me into his office. After I sat down, and since I wasn’t sure why he wanted to speak to me, I’m not sure what I even said that gave him the opening he’d apparently needed to launch into a horribly condemning tirade against me. But, not in any general way. He said things that he should not even have known, considering I’d never set eyes on him until the moment prior to that, nor had I ever confided in anyone else who attended that Church concerning what had gone on in this family after Bobby had been killed in Afghanistan. Yet, there sat a complete stranger, telling me that I was to ‘blame’ for the trouble within my husband’s family, that I was in need of psychiatric help because I was the one who was causing all the upset, and not them! I can’t even remember much of what he said, because I suddenly felt like I’d walked straight into a Ray Bradbury novel, and had landed on Mars, and a local inhabitant was blathering away at me, saying a flood of things to me that made not one bit of sense! But, what he was saying was completely slanderous, about things he definitely had no direct knowledge of, himself. He had absolutely no way of knowing that everything he was saying showed that he had it all backwards. Every last bit of it!
It was when I heard him tell me a bald-faced lie about the email that I’d sent to the class teacher, concerning those two priests, and what they were claiming, that caused me to try to explain further about how I had been listening to two priests on YouTube tell the world that there was no genuine Pope any longer. That’s when he called me a liar! He told me he believed that there really were no priests that I’d been listening to, that I’d been making it all up! When I tried to explain further, he simply cut me off with more accusations against me. At one point I could have sworn I was listening to my second son’s wife, because what he was telling me ‘about me’, were things I could imagine she would to have said to others about me, since it was the exact opposite of the truth about me. That’s when I asked him if he’d even really read my email to the class teacher?! And, when he told me, “Yes!”, he looked down at his desk, sheepishly, knowing he was lying through his teeth, and I had him dead-to-rights, marked as the liar he’d become. I asked him if he realized that I’d sent the teacher another follow-up email, in which I’d explained I was no longer concerned about the Pope, and what those priests had said about the ‘seat of Peter’? He stammered out a “Yes” to that one, too, and I realized there was no sense in going on any further, because that was the second of two lies I’d caught him in in less than two minutes!
It was right after that that he informed me that I was not going to be allowed to take the RCIA classes, and the reason was because I was, in his words, “a trouble-maker!” So, as he was still going on with his accusations against me, I got out my husband’s cell phone, and as I was getting ready to exist the room, I said, “I think I’ll just stay a Lutheran!”, and walked out. That’s when I realized I had no idea where the front door was to the building I was in! He heard me say something about the door’s whereabouts, so told me he’d show it to me, but I suddenly saw it, and told him ‘never mind, I found it!’, and went outside as quickly as I could!
As I was walking away from the building, I realized I couldn’t remember how to use my husband’s ridiculous cell phone! I did remember him telling me that I could tell it to call him, and it would. So, there I was, walking back and forth in front of that Church building, telling his phone to call him. I must have told the thing to call him at least 3 times before I suddenly heard the phone ringing on the other end–whew!
When my husband answered on his end, I hurriedly told him to please come and get me right away, and that I’d be walking down the opposite side of the road from the Catholic Church, and would try to walk down by the Lutheran Church, and that I’d tell him all about what happened when he got there. Of course, he never suspected what had happened, nor that it could even be possible–would you?! I definitely never expected to be spoken to like that by a total stranger, who obviously had to have gotten any and all of his ‘information’ about me, and the horrible situation within this family since Bobby’s death, from someone who definitely wanted others to believe the absolute worst about me!
At the time, though, I hadn’t been able to even come close to putting 2 & 2 together. That would take a bit of thinking on things. After much thought, I did finally come to the conclusion that, since everyone in my husband’s family seemed to be Catholic, apparently that deacon had had his ear entwined by the local parish ‘grapevine’. And, that ‘grapevine’ information had to have come from someone within this family, from the family member[s] who would benefit from someone like him believing I was apparently even more ‘guilty-as-sin’ than the devil himself, and that the rest of this family was filled with nothing but lily-white members, whose souls were as pure as the driven snow. I had been cast in the roll of Maleficent, and obviously, all the others had been cast in the coveted roll of the beautiful, but ever-so maligned, princess. And, to me, the most logical suspect to have slandered me in that manner was–my other son’s wife, possibly along with her family in dutiful, supporting rolls.
It seems to me as though every time I remember that horrible day when that lying deacon suckered me into coming to see him, I find myself having to stop, and thank the Lord for it all. Because, if not for His help, I might have been so foolish as to actually gone through with those classes, and converted. As things stand now, and will stand forever more, I wouldn’t join that Church for any reason whatsoever, but not because of what that deacon said to me that day. It has to do with my asking the Lord why in the world did He seem to want me to finally say “No” to the idea of converting, when I thought the Catholic Church, itself, seemed to love Him sooo very much?! I had always just wanted to be among those who did love Him as much as I honestly thought that Church loved Him, and I didn’t understand why that didn’t seem to me to be what He wanted for me!
Well, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from experience, it’s never to ask the Lord for His help unless you are prepared to receive it! Because, not long after that, I felt inwardly compelled to begin digging into information on Catholicism, with my eyes far more opened than they ever had been before, with me seeking genuine information, not seeking other people’s opinions on that Church. I had always refused to listen to the gossip, and accusations of other Christians against Catholicism, since everyone who spoke to me about it, did so like ‘fire-breathing-dragons!’, they hated it so much! I needed to find out for myself, so I did my own homework like never before, after that incident occurred. What I found out showed me why I genuinely need to remain a protestant, and forget all about converting, and the solidly biblical reasons for doing so.
“May you have:
A world of wishes at your command.
God and his angels close to hand.
Friends and family their love impart,
and Irish blessings in your heart!” .