Browsing From the Pastor's Desk

Confirmations

Sep 27, 2018

It is Autumn, the back-to-school season and season of political theater. And just like show biz, it seems every year the political empresarios strive to outdo last year’s performances.

And so we are being presented with the spectacle of the Senate confirmation process for Judge Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. Usually these processes have been pretty tedious, because it could be argued that judges as a rule are pretty boring people unless you are really into the details of the law. There have been exceptions to tedious and boring hearings, like those for Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. But this one has developed into high drama, or perhaps more like a soap opera.

Unfortunately it entails another expose of the sins of Catholics, which receive wide publicity. Judge Kavanaugh, a good Catholic boy who went to the Jesuit Georgetown Prep School and who is public about his Catholicity, has been accused of some nasty sins. It remains to be seen if these accusations are true, but it has come out that many of the boys of Georgetown Prep were pretty outrageous back in the 1980s. This is something of a scandal, to me anyway. By the time you read this, Judge Kavanaugh may be confirmed, or not.

However, in regards to the sins Judge Kavanaugh is being accused of, they occurred back when he was in high school and a freshman in college, and seemingly under the influence of alcohol. Mortal sins and crimes, perhaps, and probably if true, but you have to wonder just how important is something done as a teenager in determining someone’s character today and fitness for a job as an accomplished adult. People do grow up, and people can redeem themselves and put substance abuse and juvenile misbehavior behind them. In that case, do those things in the past disqualify someone from being on the Supreme Court, or does it perhaps give that person a window through which to view the actions of others who come before them for judgment? I suppose it depends on the person, but when political calculations seem to be behind how the matter is shaped in the media and decided by the Senate, the likelihood of justice being done is diminished.

We have different Confirmation doings at St. Anselm Parish. We just began our classes to prepare 29 young men and women for the Sacrament of Confirmation, which they will receive in the Spring. These classes are our process to prepare them for a life of faith, not a process to discourage or eliminate them. There is no test; there is no vote. There is only “do or do not.” Because it is life that is the trial.

Our process is not confrontational or adversarial, although there is an informal interview at the end of it to hear how each candidate has grown during the course of it. Confrontation and adversaries happen in the process of living a Christian life quite naturally.

In the Archdiocese of St. Louis, candidates receive Confirmation at the end of their eighth grade of education, just before they take the giant step into high school. For some, it is a giant step just to get through eighth grade. My father was the first of his seven brothers to do so. In our time, it is not so hard perhaps, but many complete the eighth grade with a lack of education. I’ve heard horror stories from incarcerated teenagers how they were recruited into gangs and forced to commit crimes, educated in crime, at public schools starting in fourth grade.

Recently a group of our parishioners attended the 10th annual Access Academies Celebration Dinner, which honored the eighth-grade graduates of Most Holy Trinity School and the other Access Academies, graduates who have been educated in life and virtue and faith and who will continue their education at our Catholic high schools. This Sunday we have an opportunity to confirm our commitment to Most Holy Trinity School in the Hyde Park neighborhood of St. Louis. The members of the Grand Endeavor Program, in which our parishioners work together with Most Holy Trinity Parish, will be at our Masses and at the Parish House afterward to educate us about the great work being done there and about the need for scholarship funding to provide a genuine education to the children there.

Our support for this kind of education is the way to move our society forward, to keep youth out of the judicial process, and hopefully to keep the life of a judge boring. We need to confirm the success of Catholic education in the inner city of St. Louis. You can help change lives for the better. “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” Mark 9:37

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