Today I helped a friend move.
His parents and some nieces were helping at the new house. My buddy's brother came over around dinner time with his five year old daughter and ten year old son.
The ten year old boy was one of those fun, bright kids who's smart and interested in stuff. He was telling us about continuity errors in movies he'd seen and unrealistic portrayals of dead people by bit players in Beetle Juice.
He was pure executive producer material.
We were talking about super heroes and he mentioned a book he was interested in reading about some super hero I never heard of.
"But I don't have thirty-two dollars to buy it," he said.
I suggested he try the library.
"I go to a Catholic school," he said, "and they wouldn't have this book -- it has mercenaries in it, and mercenaries are definitely not Catholic."
"Have you ever heard of Opus Dei," I said, and suddenly all the adults in the room were looking at me.
"No," the kid said.
"They have mercenaries and they're ultra Catholic," I told him. The kid was blown away. He didn't believe me.
"But killing is against everything it is to be a Catholic," he said, "I mean, killing somebody like Hitler or Mussolini might be OK, but killing is wrong!"
Imagine a ten year old kid knowing about Hitler and Mussolini!
"Actually, the Pope during World War II liked Hitler and Mussolini," I said.
The kid was agog with shock. One of my friends said to someone else, "Oh man, we should be filming this!"
"What?" said the kid, stunned, responding to my statement about Hitler and Mussolini.
"Yeah, Hitler and Mussolini hated Jews and Communists, just like the Pope. He thought those dictators were great!"
Reading the kid's confused expression as to why Catholics would hate Jews, I told him, "Catholics believe Jews killed Jesus. I mean, you and I know it was the Romans, but Catholics hang on to that old hatred."
"But you shouldn't hate anybody!" the kid pleaded.
"I know. You're right. But that's the Catholic Church for you."
"But Jewish people are God's people!" he said.
"I know," I said. "Jesus was a Jew."
The kid looked at me quizzically and said, "Jesus was everybody!"
Around then my friend's parents and brother decided to leave. The ten year old nephew left. I told him it was fun talking to him. He said he looked forward to continuing our discussion at some later time.
I couldn't believe how smart that little boy was.
A few minutes later, my friend's brother gave a quick knock on the front door and leaned in telling my buddy what to bring to some BBQ they were going to the following day.
Feeling like I might've said too much to the guy's son, I called over, "Sorry about bringing up Opus Dei."
He gave me a flat look and said, "He just told me he doesn't believe in God anymore."
He was joking. I know he was joking. He had to be joking.