I hope readers of SCE would realise by now that I have a couple of budding theologians for daughters. My oldest daughter, Maddy, commented to me today that she finds it strange that at her school the existence of other Christian Churches and other religions is not acknowledged (she knows she is a Lutheran – and has a friend at school who is a Sikh).
Is that surprising for a Catholic school, I asked?
No, but they should still recognise it, she replied.
Well, I answered, one of the things we are doing at work at the moment is asking the question of how religious pluralism is tackled at a primary school level in our schools.
But she went on.
I know I am a Lutheran, she said, because I don’t think Holy Communion is a sacrifice.
Really? How so?
Well, I know that the body and blood is Jesus’ sacrifice, but it’s God’s sacrifice for us, not ours for him.
Oh. Who have you been talking to about this?
No one. You just said the other day when I asked that one of the differences between Catholics and Lutherans is that Catholics think Holy Communion is a sacrifice we offer to God and Lutherans don’t.
Our conversation then went on to why it was necessary for us to offer sacrifices to God.
Well, she said, that’s just our idea. God doesn’t want us killing any of his animals to give to him.
But it was his idea originally, wasn’t it, in the Old Testament? (she hadn’t thought of that). A sacrifice has to be made for our sin, but animals aren’t enough. Not even our life is enough to pay for anyone’s sins but our own. So what if God wanted to give us the perfect sacrifice for us to offer to him for our sin? Wouldn’t he have to become one of us to make that offering back to God?
She thought she would think about that a bit more.
Please do, I said. And keep doing exactly what you have been doing. Anything I tell you, you think about it and try to work it out for yourself whether it is right or wrong. You have to do that with anything I tell you, or anything anyone else tells you, Lutheran or Catholic or otherwise. That’s how you will learn what is right for you to believe.
So why did you become Catholic, Dad? asks daughter number two who has been eagerly listening.
Because I found that my beliefs were closer to the Christian beliefs of Catholics than the Christian beliefs of Lutherans, I answered.
Yeah, I’m not sure yet, was her reply. And number one said: At the moment, I think I am a “Catholutheran”.
Keep working at it, my darlings.