Monday, February 23, 2009

One holy, Catholic, and apostolic church.

I've been keeping something quiet.

My husband is Catholic. As in Roman Catholic.

That's right, the daughter of two Episcopal priests has married into one huge Catholic family.

There's been a bit of an adjustment period.

It all started when we went to the church, met with the priest and he told us that we needed a special dispensation for our marriage outside the Catholic church, and that Charles would need to fill out a form because he had abandoned his cult or tribe or some such word. And on said form, we had to tick all the boxes that said "mixed marriage."

Now, I understand that most people would agree, this is a mixed marriage - mixed racially, mixed culturally. But pleeaasseeee.... liturgically speaking, the churches are nearly identical. And when you add into the mix the fact that I spent the era of 1980-1984 IN A CATHOLIC SEMINARY, I feel like I should have my own box. Maybe the box could read "Henry the 8th messed up my Marriage" or "I don't like Lutherans" or even maybe "Almost, kind of, Catholic, especially because I like the Kennedy family" or something like "Quarter-Jewish, Priest-child, raised in a Seminary guilt is greater than or equal to Catholic guilt."

Well, I am happy to report that after filing the appropriate form, and meeting a few times with the priest, he now knows our names and smiles broadly when he sees us. That's more than I can say for the rest of the congregation, which brings me to my next set of points.

This church may very well hate us. Or perhaps I just don't know the culture - there are clear distinctions.

For example, at the end of the Episcopal service, the priest says: "Go forth into the world to love and serve the Lord." Lovely. I have taken that message to heart my whole life and really attempt to do just that. Now, at the end of the Catholic service they say: "The mass has ended."
(Hidden Subtext: "You don't have to go home, but you have to get the 'bleep' out of here.")

Other differences:
When you google-image "Episcopal Lady" you get pictures of First Ladies.
When you google-image "Catholic Lady" you get pictures of young women playing sports.
This is extremely appropriate in my opinion, because I cannot seem to dress casually enough to fit in at a Catholic service. I started wearing pants. Not casual enough. Last week, I went in casual slacks, a big sweater and a button down shirt. Not casual enough. Apparently, I need to wear my sweatpants, hoodie, and sneakers to church. I'm not sure that I can sublimate my Episcopal nature enough to do that.

Also, there is a singer. In the morning, I don't like the cheerfulness of the singer-lady. I find her annoying. At the evening service, it's a young man that may still be going through the squeaky phase in his vocal cords. While I would prefer a happy medium, I am happier with the latter, as he is very laid back and doesn't make me feel guilty for not singing louder.

OH! And P.S. - apparently no one sings the hymns. Except for me. I do. Maybe that's why they hate me. Maybe this is a mixed marriage after all.

So I wish everyone a reflective and peaceful Ash Wednesday. It is possibly the MOST inappropriate day of the year for this post - well, maybe Good Friday would be worse, so well, that makes me feel a bit better.

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