If you teach the Ten Commandments to fifth grade boys, they are going to ask you about guns.
Is it okay to be a soldier? Can you defend yourself if someone attacks you? What if you see a bad guy attacking someone else? What if you know the bad guy is going to attack? What if the bad guy attacks, but now he’s running away . . . the questions can go on for half an hour, easy. If you’re the catechist, it’s your job to answer those questions.
What do you tell them? You tell them what the Catechism says. You keep it G-rated, of course. And you leave your agenda at home.
Within the Catholic teaching on just warfare and legitimate self-defense, there is wide latitude for prudential judgement and personal charisms. Some of your students will be the children of soldiers and police officers. Depending on where you live, some of your students may have their own guns at home, that they use every autumn when they go hunting with their parents. Some of your students may be the children of anti-war protesters or professed pacifists.
As a catechist, it is not your job to deliver your personal spin on what the “right” kind of Catholic is. It’s not your job to provide your personal editorial on, say, the recent announcement by Archbishop Gregory concerning concealed carry in Georgia parishes. (Of course you’ll inform students that they need to obey both the law and the bishop.)
You probably do have an opinion. You might write about it on Facebook, or send a letter to the bishop thanking him or asking him to reconsider, you might rant and rave at the dinner table about all the poor souls in your parish who think exactly the wrong thing on this topic.
But that opinion does not belong in your class. Your job is to teach the Catholic faith. That’s what you teach, and it’s all you teach.
And it’s fun!
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