I'm participating in the 7 Posts in 7 Days link-up at Conversion Diary, and this is my post for Day 4. Go here to read the posts from the other bloggers in the link-up. And go here to find a list of all 7 of my posts for this round of the link-up.
At the request of one of my parish's catechists, last night I gave a tour of the Church to the high school RCIC class. (FYI: RCIC is the Right of Christian Initiation of Children. It's RCIA for people between 7 years old and 17 years old). This group consisted of 11 young people aged 13 - 17, all preparing to be baptized and join the Church at the Easter Vigil Mass. I was a little concerned about how things would go, since I had originally prepared this talk for the RCIA class, which is filled with adults who usually ask lots of really good questions. Thankfully, things turned out really well. The kids were really receptive, asked good questions, and (mostly) didn't look like they would rather be getting a cavity filled than be in that church listening to me talk.
Looking at all of those high-schoolers taking a class to learn what they need to know to come into the Catholic Church made me think about all the people who have left the Catholic Church. This is something that makes me extremely sad. It also makes me frustrated and angry. I realize people that leave Catholicism do so for any one of a number of reasons: indifference, disagreement, disappointment, frustration, lack of connection, injury, and so on. But it seems to me that the main, underlying reason people leave the Catholic Church is that they don't understand what the Church is, what it really teaches, why it has authority, and what they are giving up if they leave.