26 May 2008


Memorial Day is actually a pretty big event in my mother's family. All my aunt and uncles, distant relations, cousins, etc., attend Mass then head to the cemetery for a prayer service. It is amazing to me that I have so many generations and branches of my family buried in one cemetery, St. Patrick's in Hudson, WI. For about a century, my family has been remembering their dead in this wonderful way.

For me, however, I was at the cabin with my husband's family. Aside from having to will myself to have good time despite my in-laws' very poor behavior, there was stuff that really made me shake my head.

At the campfire at our place on Saturday night, my CINO sister-in-law asked us, in all seriousness, what the differences between Catholics and Lutherans are. Her CINO grandmother had asked her and she didn't know the answer(s). OH MY.

My convert husband was the one who answered her. I think it was an education for everyone there since most of them were Lutheran. It's a good thing that my husband answered because I get too emotional about things. I would've had a tone in my voice when I talked about Martin Luther that might not have gone over well. Plus, it's more palatable coming from him since he used to be "one of them."

Then the conversation drifted to the children what were removed from the FLDS ranch. My MIL ranted about that for awhile and I said that it was handled very poorly. Doesn't matter to her that a prank caller brought about all this chaos, doesn't matter that the courts sided with the FLDS folks in some respects, she has them tried and convicted based on her education from the reports on CNN. I'm not saying the FLDS folks are innocent, but to allow the police to take these children and place them in foster care without credible evidence is an erosion of rights.

If that wasn't bad enough, then my husband's cousin had to chime in with snotty remarks about priests and abuse. Before my brain could over-rule my impulses with some shred of restraint, I was defending the Church. I didn't say the abuse didn't happen, but that abuse happens in all denominations and you never hear about it. Only the Catholic Church gets bashed.

I live in a bubble. Honest to goodness, a bubble. I know I wasn't catechized very well, but I think I saw just how ignorant people are about the Church and how hostile ordinary, every day folks are to it. With all the ecumenism we've been through in my lifetime, I don't think people have given the Catholic Church a "good going over" and looked at what She really stands for. If all they know is that the Pope has a neat voice and that priests are bad, then we've got more problems than ecumenism, we need to hire a PR guy.


RonG said...

Memorial day was also an event in the old days at our Irish cemetery. All the relatives, vets, visitors,flags,honor guards and assorted priests. One of the big problems was to help fading relatives find the right graves in a large cemetery.

Sorry about your less than joyous outing around the campfire. An old Jesuit teacher used to say not to try to convert anyone at a cocktail party - I guess it can also apply to campfire gatherings.

I give the loyal opposition the benefit of invincible ignorance, but how do we characterize the other no-nothings in the Church Militant?

At least the party is over.

swissmiss said...

My mother's family is predominately Irish, with some Swiss thrown in. With so many of my mother's generation passing away, it won't be long before the torch is passed to my generation, but I doubt this remembrance will continue. Very sad.

My sister-in-law is about as secular as you can be, but she was confirmed as an adult. She says she's Catholic so my mother-in-law considers her to be Catholic, but she's so far outside the Church that it's hard to explain to my MIL. Since my MIL is Lutheran and there is quite a spectrum of what Lutherans believe/allow, it's hard to draw parallels with Catholicism because it is more dogmatic...not a free-for-all.

Tara said...

Remember that they are Protestants--they "protest" our church--the one that Jesus Himself founded. They know very little about the Catholic Church because they don't want to know more--they are ignorantly happy in their own ways--thinking their ways are God's ways. But talking with them as your husband did, may just plant a few seeds that could grow into a very big plant.

Anonymous said...

PR guy- thats what all members of the Church militant should be -- too bad that too many of us don't reallyknow what the Church teaches...would that make them not members?

swissmiss said...

Exactly. The problem is that so many of the Church Militant are Church Milquetoast. My sister-in-law is as Catholic-in-name-only (CINO) as it gets. Only time she sets foot in a church is for her kids' baptisms and her own wedding. My mother-in-law considers my SIL Catholic because that's what my SIL maintains is her "affiliation." Totally clouds the picture for my MIL and others because my SIL is practically 180 degrees from all things Catholic but calls herself Catholic. Makes it look to others like there are "degrees" of Catholicism!