My most frequent punishment was probably praying the rosary, which the nuns claimed was intended for reflection and self-correction and I claimed was more likely to produce tedium and resentment. For which I was punished. Not with the rosary, though, which was at least a change of pace. Anyway, I thought I would share with you the things I said that I remember getting me in the most trouble in Catholic school, and what my punishment was for saying them:
6. What I said: (regarding Adam’s lineage through Noah) I just don’t think a family tree should be shaped like a circle.
Punishment: Pray the Rosary and contemplate the nature of faith. I’m still not sure how this addresses the problem of repeated inbreeding.
5. What I said: (regarding the virgin birth; for full effect, imagine this as being said by a bratty 7-year-old) See, my mom used to teach sex ed, so I know that’s not how it works.
Punishment: Ten Ave Marias and an essay on the Holy Trinity. I think there may also have been a letter to my parents.
4. What I said: (regarding the Beatitude that ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’) What if the meek don’t want the Earth?
[Side note: a fundamental flaw I failed to grasp at the time is that you can’t really count on the meek to be forthright about that]
Punishment: repeat the Beatitudes and reflect on the sinfulness of pride, which didn’t really answer my question
3. What I said: (regarding the Great Flood) What about all the animals that could swim?
Punishment: Pray the rosary and reflect on God’s omnipotence. Again, not terribly instructive. Could have used another hint.
2. What I said: Wait a minute. If the Bible says the Earth is less than ten thousand years old, and you’re telling me that the Bible is right about everything, then how come we have a test this afternoon on dinosaurs?
Punishment: For this one, I only had to stay in at lunch and study for the test, which worked out well because I hadn’t actually done any studying up to that point. Note: That was probably not the intended moral lesson.
1. What I said: If God and Heaven are above us and the Devil and Hell are below us, how come we look down when we pray?
Punishment: I don’t remember what my punishment was for this one, I just remember being really, really sorry.
These were all genuine questions. Except for #5, which was more of an objection, but an entirely genuine one. I think that’s really how the Protestant Reformation came about; Martin Luther kept trying to ask the nuns about things he didn’t understand, but they kept making him pray the rosary, so eventually he just nailed his objections to the church door. I, being much less enterprising (read: lazy), am posting to my blog. I’m also not starting a new religion (see earlier parenthetical comment re: lazy). Also, commenters, please have mercy and don’t reply with serious explanations to Past Little Blind Girl’s theological questions. I’ve been punished enough.