My poor little confused non-Catholic child.
He has no idea that he’s a non-Catholic who is receiving a Catholic education in primary school.
And why would he? At 5 years old, he is just following the pack and doing what he’s told (despite behaving completely to the contrary at home, of course!)
When we started the school year and he first came home blessing himself and talking about ‘Holy God’ we did have a chat with him about how Mammy and Daddy didn’t believe in god and that he didn’t have to do the morning prayer if he didn’t want to.
Ass Monkey and I also spoke with the principal and vice principal who were very reassuring in the sense that they kept religious education to a small part of the educational curriculum and mostly, they were of the impression that the end to the Catholic Church being the primary religious hold over schools was in sight.
Maybe in 20 years, they said. I hope I live to see the day, I said.
As Ash Wednesday approached this week, the talk of Lent and ‘Holy God in Heaven’ was firmly on the lips of our little school goer so I thought maybe it was time to have another chat about our non-religious viewpoint as a family.
So while he was in the bath on Tuesday – CALM, I thought – I told him again that the morning prayers in school are his choice to do or not (he has been choosing to do them) and that he didn’t have to receive ash on Ash Wednesday if he didn’t want to.
“Why mammy?” he enquired, attempting yet again to shove his toothbrush down the jet holes of our bath.
“Because your school and some of the people in it believe in the god that you are saying your prayers to every morning, but mammy and daddy don’t believe in that god. Actually, mammy and daddy don’t believe in god at all”
His reaction was spectacular.
“WELL I BELIEVE IN GOD! I BELIEVE IN HIM BECAUSE HE IS IN HOLY HEAVEN!!!”
And he pouted for about half an hour, truly upset.
I felt like I’d told him that The Man In The Big Red Suit Who Lives In A Toy Workshop With Elves At The Furthest Northern Point Of The Planet Whose Sole Purpose Is To Reward Good Children With Gifts And Bad Children With Sacks Of Coal At Xmas Time wasn’t real.
Kinda the same thing though, innit?
Anyway, he got the ashes. And if he wasn’t sure before, at least now he knows that jesus loves him.