A Rant About the C-Word (No, not that c-word)

I loathe the word “charitable” with the fury of a million supernovas.

Let me clarify that I do not hate charities, those non-profit organizations that exist for the purpose of helping and bettering society. Nor do I have a problem with charity, or the practice of giving to those in need. It’s people who use charity and its many related terms as a mask for their own hypocrisy that gets on my nerves.

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Homefooling

As I’ve mentioned before, many if not most of the families at St F homeschooled. There was an unspoken belief among the homeschooling families that home education was the only reliably “Catholic” form of education, since the public schools had always been “anti-Catholic” and the post-Vatican II Catholic school system was untrustworthy. Numerous threads on sites like “Fish Eater Forums” and “Catholic Answers Forum” back up this view that the parents should be the primary influence on the education of their children, whether in the secular or the religious realm.

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Thoughts on Sex Abuse and Traditionalism

During a potluck at St F, I once had a lengthy conversation with a homeschooling mom who regaled me with tales about why the Girl Scouts were a hotbed of Marxism and secular humanism and other culture war scare stories (as an aside, I have to mention that I was a Girl Scout for ten years and if that organization was as radical as she claimed, I would have been a lot more into attending meetings). In any event, she mentioned that one of her sons went to an all-boys Catholic boarding school run by the FSSP and she would be seeing him to the airport in a few days. I didn’t think much of this information until a few years ago, when I idly Googled the school and discovered that it had closed amid a lurid sex abuse scandal:

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Which Side Are You On? Choosing Between John Chrysostom and Anne Frank

In retrospect, I realize that one reason that I made a poor Catholic traditionalist was because of my obsessive curiosity and my inability to shut off my mind and my heart to what I believed to be injustice. Even as a young child, I was always a bit of a killjoy who preferred to obsess over the unpleasant aspects of life, even if doing so made me a less than popular presence. For example, when I was in third grade, the Atlanta Braves baseball team suddenly transformed itself from being just another semi-anonymous sports franchise to a major powerhouse team, causing the inevitable “Braves fever” and the “Tomahawk chop” to sweep the school. I remained curiously immune to this particular affliction, reprimanding anyone who would listen that the very concept of naming a sports team after an ethnic group was racist and that all this time and energy that was being expended towards the Braves would be better spent on searching for a cure for cancer. I’ve never been able to understand where a seven year old girl got these fairly sophisticated ideas about race, sports, and society’s misplaced priorities, because my parents were never keen on talking about race and at this point in time I was still apolitical. I can only assume that it stemmed from my own personal readings about our country’s less than stellar treatment of blacks and Native Americans, combined with my lifelong antipathy towards professional sports. Regardless, this was simply the first instance of many in which I preferred to wallow in the unhappy details of history, rather than accept a happy ignorance.

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Are the Kids Alright? The Missing Children of St F

Throughout my entire tenure at St F, I taught CCD classes at a variety of levels, from pre-school to Confirmation. The last time I went to St F was back in 2009. This means that the little kids I was teaching for First Communion in 2005 are now thirteen and fourteen years old. Although that realization makes me feel “old” in a way, I sometimes find myself wondering what happened to those kids. Are any of them rebelling? Are the boys being roped into considering “a vocation”? Do their families still go to St F or did they jump ship for the SSPX parish or another institution? Is college going to be an option for any of these children? Do they obsess over “life issues” and “liturgical abuses”? Will they ever get the chance to read brilliant but completely anti-clerical novels like Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”? Do they ever interact with kids outside of the trad bubble? I suppose there’s no way to know this, but it’s something I wonder about it.

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The Rise and Fall of My Faith, Part 5: Obama Drama

The 2008 election process was in full swing during most of my tenure at St. F, and this caused a great deal of stress for me, even more than the crazy parish politics that were enveloping me at the time. To really understand this, you have to know several things about me. The first is that I’m black. Or to be more precise, I’m what American culture designates black. If you saw me on the street, my ethnicity might not be too obvious, but I’m considered black because one drop rule. Which is absurd, but that’s an entry for another day. The second issue is that for me MLK is bigger than Jesus. Some people may take offense to this statement, but it’s true. For black people, MLK IS bigger than Jesus. They might say otherwise so as not to appear too heretical, but for most black Americans, I suspect the easiest thing to do is just to buy a black velvet picture of MLK and Jesus down at the gas station and keep on going. The third thing is that while I was going to St F, I was working for the King family (yes, THAT King family) and learning about black history in an immediate way that has to be experienced, not explained.

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The Rise and Fall of My Faith, Part 4: And then, the DRAMA Started!

At first going to St F seemed like a good idea for a number of reasons: the people were committed, the liturgy reverent, and I didn’t have to worry about the teachings being unorthodox or anything suspect. As soon as I got there, I was roped into teaching CCD classes, since the guy who was in charge of the program was a work colleague of my father and assumed (correctly) that Mickens junior would share the same high level of intellectual rigor as Mickens pere. I taught a wide range of age groups during my tenure at St F, from the pre-schoolers to the Confirmation students.

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