Roger Ebert's Catholic school memories

From his blog:
(*Moderator: Please move this if it’s in the wrong forum. Thanks.)

*I attended St. Mary’s for an excellent reason: I would get into heaven. I liked my public school friends, but they were non-Catholics and couldn’t look forward to that. It was their misfortune they weren’t pagans; pagans at least could spent eternity in Limbo because they lacked the luck to learn about the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants and Jews had their chance and blew it. “Hindus” and “Muhammadans ,” the titles under which I mentally filed all the peoples and religions of Asia, India, Arabia and the Holy Land, I suppose were given a pass as honorary pagans.

We put dimes into envelopes that were mailed by Sister to the Society of the Propagation of the Faith. We were each “sponsoring” a little African child, who would now be able to learn about the Church from missionaries and look forward to spending eternity gazing upon the face of God. The first hour of every day was devoted to the study of religion, which began with memorizing the Baltimore Catechism and in upper grades developed into fascinating discussions of theological loopholes. I asked in class one day if the little African children wouldn’t be better off without missionaries, because if they never learned about salvation through the Church, they wouldn’t run the risk of hell. Sister Rosanne looked at me sadly. “Those poor little children have just as much a right as you do to enjoy the love of God.” *

I didn’t know he was Catholic! This paragraph was my favorite:

I was inflamed after reading a biography of [Dominic] Savio in which, as a lad in school, he attempted to teach his schoolmates the folly of violence as a means of ending disputes. Two of them had a grudge and announced they would settle it with a fight. Vainly did the Blessed Dominic attempt to talk them out of this. When they squared off, he removed a crucifix from his pocket and stepped between them, holding it aloft and telling them, “Throw the first stones at me.” Shamed, they lowered their heads, and he urged them to make a good Confession. This struck me as exemplary behavior, and I went to school with a small crucifix in my pocket and asked two of my friends, Dougie Pierre and Jimmy Sanders, to start a fight so I could step between them. They said they weren’t mad at each other. “Then start one anyway,” I pleaded, not quite capturing the spirit of Blessed Dominic’s message.


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