Catholic without compromise

Posted at Catholic Insight

I-stand-with-the-catholic-church“You have eight kids?!” the man exclaimed, his eyes nearly bulging out of his head in surprise. “So, do you really like kids or are you just a good Catholic?” he added with a smirk.

I hesitated for a moment before answering. We were taking a break during a business meeting when the topic of children came up. I had just closed a deal that was a good move for my small business and was feeling pretty happy. When he asked the question, I admit I paused a little as I thought, “how do I answer him?”

My hesitation was not a result of the reaction to the number of children I have. In truth, I am so used to comments about family size that I wonder why no one has anything original to say when they find out that I am the mom of eight kids. My reaction was because of the thinly veiled sarcasm in his second question: are you just a good Catholic?

It is never a good idea to bring up religion during a  business meeting in a secular setting, and the subject of Catholicism is a particularly loaded topic. In my experience, which I suspect is the same as most practicing Catholics’ experience, questions and comments such as the one posed to me are often a prelude to a symphony negative comments.

Sending up a quick, silent prayer, I answered, “I try to be a good Catholic,” as I looked at him squarely in the eye. And with that, he quickly changed the subject.

Wherever we go in life, whatever we do, and whenever we are called upon, we have to be true to what we profess to believe. And so, if I say I am Catholic, then I have to be a Catholic without compromise. My Catholicism isn’t just saved for one hour on Sunday at Mass. My Catholic beliefs must define who I am and how I act twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. And if that means making someone uncomfortable during a business meeting, well then so be it.

“Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words.” This quote is often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi but there is some question as to whether he actually said it. (St. Anthony Messenger: Ask a Franciscan) Sometimes I think we hide behind these words that St. Francis may or may not have said since at times making a very public, verbal declaration of our beliefs is uncomfortable and perhaps a little intimidating. But there comes a time when actions are not enough and only words will do.

In his general audience of 22 May, 2013, Pope Francis exhorted:” we must be open to the action of the Spirit of God, without fear of what He asks us or where He leads us. Let us entrust ourselves to Him! He enables us to live and bear witness to our faith, and enlighten the hearts of those we meet.”  There are occasions when the Holy  Spirit wants us to open our mouths and speak so that is what we do despite possible criticism.

“Are you a good Catholic?” When we find ourselves in a situation that calls for a clear, public declaration of who we are and what we believe, the only answer is: “Yes. I try to be a good Catholic.”

Graphic used with permission from  St. Peter’s List



This entry was posted in Catholic, Catholic Church, Catholic Insight Magazine, Catholic woman, faith, working mom and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Catholic without compromise

  1. waywardson23 says:

    What he’s really asking is:

    “Did you really want eight kids or did you really want 2.3 kids like everyone else but ended up with eight because the Pope doesn’t like birth control?”

    Which is a highly rude and inappropriate question.

  2. 9jaime says:

    With 9 kiddos, I am often asked similar questions. I have been “accused” of being Catholic, but never asked if I am trying to be a good Catholic. That one is a new twist, although I have heard many versions of the same shocked reaction to my family size. Like you, I grow tired of hearing the same thing over and over. Your response was dignified and truthful without being inappropriate. Over the years, I have learned that perhaps God is using my large family, shocking as it may be, to spread the idea that His children are blessings, not something to be planned and avoided.

  3. SaintlySages says:

    Mt 5:11-12 rings true especially nowadays. God bless you and yours!

  4. Cristina says:

    I get the opposite at church actually. I have two boys and the response I get is “Just two, when are you having more”. Then I reply with, “I can’t have anymore.” Awkward silence, and then “Well you can adopt, so when will you do that?” I just don’t think that what my family decisions are should be a topic of conversation for anyone. Good for you, for looking him “squarely” in the eye, but more, for winging up a quick prayer before doing so. 🙂

  5. Imelda says:

    Ah, we only have four and we get comments like that. I can imagine how the comments get more sarcastic as the number of children get bigger.

    And how true you are – our being Catholic should define our way of life.

  6. reinkat says:

    Nice post, you made good points. The smirks and comments come about for more than just large families. Just wearing a crucifix around my neck makes me fair game in my very liberal town.
    As for the large families, so many Catholic families use birth control around here that you would most likely be asked if you are a “good Mormon”. The smirk would be the same, as would the rudeness and snide intent.

  7. Inspiring post ,great thought ,we have a great faith.God bless and your family JMS

  8. Reblogged this on Daily Goodness and commented:
    ” My Catholic beliefs must define who I am and how I act twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. And if that means making someone uncomfortable during a business meeting, well then so be it.” Well said by Catholic blogger ‘8 Kids And A Business’. Would you do the same thing in this situation?

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