Tag Archives: Vatican

Less than a tithe

This is our neighborhood church. Built, I’m guessing, in the 1500s.

WE USUALLY don’t answer the doorbell because it’s often passing kids goofing around or someone selling something we don’t want. And it’s almost a two-block round trip from inside the house to the front gate and back. That more than anything.

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A Catholic spell

I come from country people who were never anything but Baptists or Methodists that I know of.

In spite of that, I was deposited in a Catholic school for kindergarten and First Grade in Albany, Georgia, about 10,000 years ago. My mother did it because it had the best reputation in town, education-wise.

My sister was sentenced there too. My sister had imagination, however, or maybe it was just childish ignorance. She came home one day and announced that she’d changed the Holy Water, freshened it up with stuff from the tap.

Neither the priest nor the nuns ever noticed, which tells me that Holy Water’s fame is overstated somewhat.

My mother, before enrolling me, made the nuns promise they wouldn’t try to turn me into a Catholic, and they did so promise because, one imagines, our money looked green.

However, one day I came home with the report that, after having misbehaved in some way, I was made to kneel on rice before a painting of the Virgin and beg forgiveness.

Mother took me out of the school at that point, and I left Catholicism forever if you don’t count that my second ex-wife is a recovering Catholic, and Mexico is full of Catholics.

My child bride does not seem to be a Catholic, but the environment rubs off. Her father was an atheist and her evil stepmother, after father died too young, became a Jehovah’s Witness, one of those pests at your front door.

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Speaking of doorbells

As I was saying, we rarely respond to the doorbell here at the Hacienda unless we are expecting someone.

But my child bride was toiling in her pastry workshop the other day when the doorbell rang — it rings both out there and here in the house — and since there was little walking involved, she opened the little speakeasy portal in the steel gate.

Two ladies were there, and they were not pesky Jehovah’s Witnesses, but Catholics on a collecting mission.

You see our neighborhood church up top? It is very old, and it’s in bad condition. We were informed that City Hall has agreed to chip in a percentage for a much-needed restoration, but residents here in our poor barrio have to pony up too.

We were being asked to pony up, so we ponied.

We learned that the amount one is asked to contribute is based on how well-off you look. In our hardscrabble neighborhood, we look quite well-off, so we were asked for 1,000 pesos.

We paid for the sake of architecture.

I think the Vatican should pay for the entire restoration, but it doesn’t seem that Headquarters pays us much mind.

I hope enough money is raised because I like the church. I see it every weekday morning during our exercise walk. I’ve rarely been inside, but I hear singing at times, and I see funerals and weddings there. All part of the tapestry hereabouts.

Call of the Vatican

church
Taken with my “new” used cell phone. Do forgive the quality.

BEING IN A Mexican family occasionally entails social obligations, mostly regarding the Catholic Church or, as my mama would have said, the Catlick Church.

I’ve been asked numerous times over the years to be a godfather to babies. I’ve always dodged that duty, mostly due to not being Catholic, an easy out.

No matter. Occasionally, I have to make an appearance on the Vatican Trail, and recently I did that when a nephew passed some sort of Catholic threshold.

They have names like First Communion, Confirmation, Confession, Holy Blessing from On High, Walking on Knees. I confess they’re a jumble in my noggin’. They all entail indirectly coughing up some pesos for the Pope through his priestly minions who dress like medieval womenfolk.

Well, anyway, there I was, sitting in one of those Catholic pews with the little kneeling rail at my feet, which creates problems for my long legs, plus I do not kneel.

As the two priests droned on and on, the recorded music rose and fell, the incense burned — I liked that part — the people prayed, we stood, we sat, more droning, I took the photo above of the girl and her parents, sitting dead ahead.

Sitting to my left was my lovely child bride, to her left was her sister, to her left was the poor guy who’d been suckered into Godfatherhood, and then finally, abutting the aisle, was our kid decked out in farcical white, head to heel.

The little angel that he isn’t.

After an hour and 10 minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I stood and left. I was hungry. I bought a couple of street cookies, sat on a steel bench outside the church door and waited.

Not long after, the priests ran out of ideas and ended the hoopla. My people came out. The kid looked the same.

But I did enjoy the incense.

Protestant goombah

WHY DO CATHOLICS have a Main Man, but Protestants do not?

The Catholics, due to having a main man, get lots of press coverage. Protestants lack that. They are a fractured people.

I am neither Protestant nor Catholic, but I believe in balance.

attire
Man

So I propose that Protestants unite to choose a Main Man — maybe even a Main Woman because Protestants, as a rule, are less hidebound than Catholics. Well, some of them.

A convention must be held, perhaps akin to Burning Man, where Protestants can come together. This will require plenty of compromise because Protestants are a mixed bag, ranging from high-toned Presbyterians to Westboro Baptist Church crackpots.

After a Main Man — or Woman — is chosen, a Protestant Vatican must be decided upon. Outside of the United States is preferable so visits to Washington will seem more special, inspiring more press coverage.

Somewhere in the Middle East is a fine choice since Jesus Christ walked thereabouts. As the Catholic Pope has armed guards and a bulletproof vehicle, the Protestant Main Man — or Woman — will need this too, due to being around so many pissed-off Mohammedans.

tux
Woman

All of this will require money, so an expanded tithe must be applied to all Protestant denominations.

Twenty-five percent sounds about right.

This will finance a huge Protestant Palace among the Mohammedans. And then there’s the Wardrobe.

As the Pope wears women’s clothes, the Protestant Main Man should do likewise. It will attract attention. If a Main Woman is chosen, a James Bond tuxedo will serve the purpose.

After a Main Man (Woman) is named, a Protestant Palace situated, armed guards hired (with suitable frippery), at least two bulletproof Hummers at the door, the only thing left to do is make smoke and water holy.

Then head to Washington, D.C.