Anyway, one day I must have come home bruised, for my mother told me that the next time one of the boys teased me, I should punch him as hard as I could. To my nine-year-old self, this was confusing. I knew that Jesus had told us to turn the other cheek, and I didn’t see how this could be squared with my mother’s advice. “Jesus wasn’t a doormat,” she said in reply to my objection. “Look at the moneychangers in the Temple.”
I didn’t think that the most natural reading, but she was my mother, so I decided she must be right. I punched the ringleader, a doctor’s son named Travis who was too surprised to hit back.
I now look back on that as the moment I became a Catholic. Rather than persist in my own reading of Scripture, I assented to the judgment of an authority I knew to be loving and gentle….
In talking to my Protestant mother, I had come to accept the principle of my grandparents’ Catholic belief. One cannot really know how to live by Scripture when there is no authority competent to interpret it. My mother may not have been that authority, but by listening to her I learned to listen to a mother Church which fully and finally is.
—from the article As a child, I thought Catholics weren’t Chrisitians. Then my mother gave me some wise advice. by Matthew Schmitz