Friday, April 18, 2008

Today's Four Horsemen of Notre Dame

Yesterday, I took my oldest four to see Pope Benedict XVI at Washington National Park. It was a profound moment to be part of a mass with 46 thousand faithful and the pontiff.

The only issue, leaving the stadium, there were protesting evangelists who had six feet tall banners declaring "IF YOU BELIEVE THE POPE, YOU ARE GOING TO HELL" and "WHERE IN THE BIBLE DO YOU FIND PRAYING TO MARY, PURGATORY, INDULGENCES? YOU HAVE BEEN LIED TO!" While I was irritated to be accosted instantly upon leaving a beautiful mass, I explained to my children, this was part of the beauty of the country we lived in, anyone could say and believe anything.

I would have been content with the live and let live benevolence if the man had not then produced a bullhorn and started accosting anyone wearing a pro-Pope Benedict t-shirt...including small children. My small children were home with their father, but I growled that a grown man thought a five year old was a fair target for his vitriol. Still, I had to be an example. My oldest was fifteen. He saw the incident and wanted to take the man on, "He's spouting inaccuracies..." he would attack on substance, toe to toe. I told him "No."

The densely packed street made movement slow, allowing the man to shout and shout and shout, wearing down my goodwill and willingness to be charitable. "The Church wanted to Kill Martin Luther..."

My son shot back, "He died of natural causes." The man didn't know who said it, but felt called to call us "Sheep." The kids looked to me...I pointed out that in the parable, Jesus separated the sheep from the goats --sheep were good things. They looked mollified...slightly.

My oldest two took out their papal flags and waved them deliberately, starting something of a silent cascade behind them in protest of yellow banners. The man grew bolder in his assertions of our foolishness.

Finally, I growled to the man next to me...if he attacks my children, I'm going Old Testament. Wrath of God..." The man had been talking to me about the music, he was part of the choir. "But we're supposed to turn the other cheek."

"Yes," I countered, "But luckily, we're Catholic so if we don't, there's always confession..."

Looking at the man now pointing at teens and saying, "You're on the wrong path. This pope lies."

The man nodded his head. "I wonder if I could find a priest..." he asked aloud.
...the kids laughed..."Of course, there's the little problem with remorse...that might take a few days." The choir now was laughing.

We were almost past the very angry man when he started in on Mary, Mother of God. Other women and men in the choir were debating what to do, discussing what was the holy response. I did like the answer by someone, "Just punch him." I had to agree, it seemed the most effective or at least emotionally satisfying.

The kids were clearly troubled by this new attack, so as a group, we huddled and said a vocal "Hail Mary, followed by Notre Dame Our Mother, Pray for Him." Go Irish!


reprehriestless warillever said...

Cursing at the choir?

Never heard of that one.

I actually understand how someone might disagree with the Catholic faith, but I cannot understand what he thought he'd accomplish by screaming at people who chose to attend papal mass.

And you can never fail singing the alma mater.

Larramie said...

My goodness what has happened to R-E-S-P-E-C-T?!

P.S. No, I' not Catholic.

Suburban Correspondent said...

You could have punched him - I mean, once someone starts attacking your Mother, everything goes...

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