You are very lucky not to have seen that look on the face of a 12-year-Catholic educated college student.
I call the look I refer to the “Catholics believe what?” look. It’s very polite. I felt it on my face when I was a 32-year-old questioner in RCIA. I’ve seen it on the faces of non-Catholics (friends and strangers alike) when we have an honest dialogue.
I understand and am prepared for those times.
Because, as you note, it seems unbelievable that a 12-year-Catholic-educated college student would have that look (it is similar, also, to what’s called a moment of clarity), it is extremely sad, truly heartbreaking to witness it.
I’m sorry if it sounded like I was contending that they’ve never heard the words. When we share that moment, they have slowly said something like, “Oh, yeah…” and then will quizzically quote part of a creed or the Mass or a song.
It makes me sad in general. It makes me sadder for those specific lambs because they are very kind to this down-on-her-luck old broad despite the fact that their lives are full of anxiety and temptation.
I get to spend time with them now. But for them, I will mostly be a shawdowy memory of an old fogey which kind of makes them feel guilty. I can live with that. I pray it is one of the things (like the creed, the Mass, the songs) which bring them home.