Reading bad books

In a factory a man was selling many copies of a penny paper consisting entirely of attacks on God and religion. One Catholic boy, Dan, refused it. ‘Afraid to read the other side?’ sneered the seller. ‘I’d rather not swallow poison either into my stomach or my mind’ was the answer.

Jim, another Catholic boy, said: ‘Let’s have a penn’orth!’ Then during the dinner-hour, sitting around with some of his mates, he read bits out of the atheist paper with comments of his own, showing its arguments up and where its facts about the Church were all wrong.

‘Well, what about this?’ said one of the listeners, pointing to a bit about something some Pope had done hundreds of years ago. Jim read it.

‘Well, that’s a new one to me. But I bet you a packet of Woodbines I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.’

So in the evening he took the paper round to a Catholic friend who could always put him wise on such occasions.

Dan’s attitude and Jim’s were both good in their way, but Jim’s is evidently the best for those who can rise to it.

– Rev. F.H. Drinkwater, Catechism Stories Part III: The Commandments (1939)