Anyway, it remains a fact that the Цесаревич must attend the churchs annual religious educational program since he attends a public school rather than the dirt-poor school attached to the church (by staples). If he does not attend religious ed, he basically cannot participate in the rich traditions of Catholicism fully. The Царица, you see, is responsible for the boys religious upbringing, since of course the Czar would squander the whole thing by taking the boys out to a shooting range every Sunday.
Which, ironically, would be cheaper. But cost is neither here nor there: the point is that if he wishes to go all the way in the Church (and he is willing to give it a shot), he needs to attend religious ed…because, God knows, the public school certainly isnt about to make him get up at 6:30am every Sunday.
So, dutifully, the Царица enrolls him in religious ed. Okay, we clear on this?
The point is that the program is godawful. Okay, now you all know that religion and the Czar mix like bologna and whip cream. Under certain conditions, the Czar can swallow it. But even the Царица gets quite frustrated with the amateur hack running the program. First, she is one of those whack job ultra-Catholics that even Puter would argue needs to lighten up in a big way. Seriously: she honestly thinks that parents force their kids to pray the rosary each night. When she learns that some parents, uh, forget here and there, she rolls her eyes and huffs in disgust. Quite theatrically. Another example: she sends notes home suggesting what gifts parents should buy the kids for their birthdays at the local Catholic stores.
She also has no pedagogical concept whatsoever. All lesson plans are the same for all ages. A little over a year ago, the Цесаревич was six. The lesson plan for his class, as it was for all the others that night, was to explain what transubstantiation personally meant to him. Lady, this is a group of kids who still think dad can pull quarters out of their ears! On his first day of class, in fact, the Czar attended and was nonplussed when she had the teachers cover the episcopacy of the magisterium. To six-year-olds. She might have had them go over Tobins Q for all they got out of that.
So why is she in charge? Because the attendence in the community is so bad, she winds up being the only one willing to do it. And none of the parents (thanks, 1970s!) know the catechism well enough to teach it. As a result, the parents sit through this mess while the kids are bored to tears for two hours every month until the session ends. There is only a temporary priest in residence there, and he is focused solely on retirement. He makes no waves because, we suspect, he is terrified of her. Indeed, she may know more than he does.
One other sad aspect: the woman running the program is invisible. Or something. She has a small squad of teachers who volunteer to do the actual classroom instruction while she never shows up. They follow her syllabus exactly, but even they admit the kids are getting nothing out of this.
This years session ended on Monday for the Summer. And the Царица was bemused to receive a survey from the church on how the program is working. Well, she mentioned, this ought to be fun. She grabbed her pen, and discovered all the questions were like this:
How would you describe the educational content?
(a) With prayer and reflection, we manage to follow it (b) Formative and informative
How are the classes paced?
(a) Just right (b) Classes should be longer (c) After class, we go home and continue with the Rosary to enrich our experience in new ways
How does your child react to the information?
(a) We are able to answer all his/her questions in accordance to the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church (b) We keep a journal of our religious questions so they can be answered at the next class (c) We could spend more time in Mass and in personal reflection and prayer
You get the idea. The priest, evidently tired of hearing about complaints, suggested she put out a survey to collect input for improvements.
And she clearly does not want to hear any crap from the likes of you quasi-protestants. So she blatantly produced a farce of a survey that will either reinforce her fantasies or will make you look like you, the parents, are inadequate in every way.
So the Царица left the questions blank and wrote See over next to each. On the back of the last page, she wrote a polite but fundamentally pointed screed about having professional educators review the lesson plans, develop content, and seek content from other nearby churches with demonstrably more effective religious education programs.
Nice, eh? This is why she fills these things out, because she already knows the Czars letter would be like this:
Got it. You really want to be a nun, but the fact is that no convent or order will take you in because you are overtly aggressive. Your religious views are neither unfounded nor without merit, but you present them in such an extremist fashion that you terrify the children, and worry the parents that you will leap out of the sacristy like some hyper-corrective jack-in-the-box because they hesitated on recalling the name of the cow that fed Saint Endelienta or whatever the heck youre ramming down little kidss throats in lieu of good, solid religious education.
Look, it isnt ever easy being the only one to step up to the task when no one else wants to. But there exists the real possibility that you will oppose anyone else trying anyway, simply because they will expose how incapable you are at developing a religious education program that caters to the needs of the churchs youngest members. We claim no expertise in this field, but we are fairly certain that the teaching of the Church extends well beyond impressing everyone with your grasp of trivia. You are no different from the guy who sits at the ballgame and rattles off ridiculously superciliary statistics about every player because he frankly cant play the game or read the field. At least those people serve the function of settling bets in bars. We have no idea what sort of tavern would take you in.
Anyway, the worst part about this isnt that you are teaching the kids that church is incredibly boring and the failure of a third grader to explain Traditi Humiliati is like pinching baby Jesus. The kids are going to stay Catholic or lapse or eat poisoned jello when comets come by regardless of your bad blend of obscurity and pomposity. The worst part is that you cram your insecurity down the parents throats so badly that they begin to wonder if they, themselves, are good Catholics. Is it really your goal to make other Catholics doubt their own faith? Or is your goal to distract from what typically happens to people like you: they get hit with a little tragedy or setback, and wind up hating God and sitting in a dark apartment clanging an empty cereal bowl with a spoon in self-worshipping misery because all the Hobby Lobby inspirational posters were only lies. God will forgive you, but you may never have the courage to forgive yourself.
And then we will sign it St. Drogo, Patron Saint of Ugliness.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.