Or maybe it’s OK. I don’t know. You be the judge…but please don’t judge me to be a looney and please don’t call the police on me!

My First Confession

Whenever I walk through a tunnel, I always shout out to hear the echo. Always. It helps if I’ve got children with me to turn it into a game. But, I will also shout out if I’m on my own walking or riding my bike through a tunnel or an underpass. Usually, I’m desperately hoping no one will catch me being slightly frivolous and free!

My Second Confession

One of the few times in my life when I’ve taken something without the owner’s consent (yes, I’m avoiding saying that I’ve stolen something!) was in 1999. The worst part of this story is that I don’t think I regret the criminal act.

For a moment, imagine the scene. I was in Sixth Form. One week into my A Level Religious Studies class, we were each given a copy of ‘The Catechism of the Catholic Church’ to help us complete the homework tasks we had been given. However, once the catechism was in my possession, I didn’t return it. I still have it today on my bookshelf, alongside some updated editions. Yes, that’s right, I stole a catechism. I kept it by my bed and I spent a disproportionate amount of time reading it – in between clubbing and planning what I’d be wearing for the Sixth Form prom.

What Sort of 17-Year Old Does That?!
The answer to that is simple. I was a 17-year old who was searching and hungry for truth and I was seeking to understand some of the bigger, existential questions of life, while grappling with the moral dilemmas that were beginning to face me in my late-teenage day to day existence.

‘The Catechism of the Catholic Church’ is a book that is a complete summary of all the teachings of the Catholic faithful. I had suddenly begun to find answers that made some sense to me. Feel free to call me a geek: I was honestly gripped. At 17, I could not believe that the Church would be so bold to include teachings on topics like masturbation! At that time, I did not understand why the Church would need to say anything on the topic of fortune telling, but I was learning and learning fast.

The word ‘catechism’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘to echo’ and during Sixth Form, the truth of the Church’s teaching was echoing round my mind equally as loudly as lyrics by the Stereophonics or the Bluetones.

That echo of the teachings of the Catholic Church certainly did not only begin in 1992 when Pope John Paul II promulgated the catechism. Catholics believe in the authority of both Scripture and Tradition. The echo of the truth of Jesus Christ has been echoing through the centuries since the Early Church and various forms and versions of a catechism book have existed over the years. (Ask any Catholic in their mid-60s or older to answer the question, ‘Who made me?’ and inevitably you will receive the stock answer, ‘God made me…’, learned by rote by many of that generation from the ‘Penny Catechism’).

Why Am I Telling You All of This?
I want to share with you some of the enthusiasm that my 17-year old self had for learning about the Church’s teaching because I know that this learning made me understand and love the Church more, it made me a better youth minister and teacher, friend and wife. It may sound corny, but as we read in John 8:32, ‘…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’

Who doesn’t want to be free? Free to love, to live life to the full…and maybe occasionally free to run through tunnels shouting with abandon!

So, through The Ten Ten Hub and the articles you will find here, we hope that whether or not you are a Catholic, you will delve deeper into some of the teachings of the Catholic Church and gain a greater understanding why, as Catholics, we do and say some of the weird and wonderful things that are part of the tradition that has been echoed down to us through the centuries.

My First and Second Confession Leads to a Third Confession

Here is my third confession – I love St John Paul II! So my parting gift to you today is my absolute favourite video of St John Paul echoing a bit of truth. You can thank me later!