The re-Catholicization of Dana continues.
I don’t know how much I’ve already told you about this, but I am telling you now. There is a Bible on our nightstand. There is a Crucifix in the den. Not a Cross, mind you. No, a Crucifix, which is like the Cross that you would expect Christians to place in prominent locations in their homes, in their courts, and in their classrooms, except that a Crucifix comes with a little something extra.
A Crucifix comes with a tiny dying man-god nailed to it.
He might already be dead. It is sort of difficult to tell.
Either way, he is in the den now. Hanging there. Up until now, I thought we had a tacit agreement to keep dying things and portrayals of dying things out of the den completely. So religion has really already begun to change our household in ways both big and small.
There is a Bible on the nightstand, there is a Crucifix in the den, and this past weekend, there was a priest in the dining room. A Roman Catholic priest came into our home. A real live man of the cloth, with the little collar, the bemused nodding, the whole bit. I believe it might have been part of a surprise home inspection. Do Catholics do those? Nobody expects the Catholic Home Inspection!
To be honest, this priest, he was a perfectly nice man. He did not try to exorcise anything or anyone, but instead shared our food, shared our wine, flipped through the family photo albums… And then he spoke with the kids.
He spoke with the kids one at a time. Alone. [Dear Reader, don’t go there.]
And while he spoke with the kids one at a time and alone, I discovered it was a perfect time for me to iron clothes for the week within listening distance of the conversations. Of course, he mostly seemed to be fishing for ways in which our deviant, deviant lifestyle might be screwing the little tykes up. And furthermore, most of this potential screwing up seemed to involve gender roles, which, as we all know, were invented not by society, but rather by God.
First, he spoke with Rachel, who is our nine-year old. Sadly, the noise from the AC made this conversation virtually inaudible. So for the conversation with Angela, who is our seven-year old, I went and turned the AC up several degrees to keep it off.
What follows is that conversation in relevant part, with commentary where appropriate.
PRIEST: Where is your mom, Angela?
ANGELA: She’s upstairs.
PRIEST: Where is your dad?
ANGELA: He died.
[NOTE: This is wrong. Dana’s husband/Rachel’s father died before I met her. Angela came along later.]
PRIEST: Now, who is that who is ironing clothes in the other room?
ANGELA: That’s KayKay!
PRIEST: Is that your dad?
ANGLEA: No, KayKay is a lady.
[NOTE: Yay! I’m a lady!]
PRIEST: Why don’t you call KayKay “Mom”?
ANGELA: Because. It’s a name. If my name was Angela and your name was Angela and Rachel’s name was Angela, and somebody went, “Angela!” then everybody would turn around.
PRIEST: And what are Mom and KayKay to each other?
ANGELA: My parents.
PRIEST: Of course. But I mean, what are they to each other? Your mom is KayKay’s...?
ANGELA: Wife. Where is YOUR wife?
PRIEST: I don’t have a wife. I chose to marry the Church.
ANGELA [sounding doubtful]: They let you do that?
PRIEST: Yes. It is just a different way of spending my life. Instead of giving my life to another person, I have chosen to give my life to God.
ANGELA [pause]: Okay.
PRIEST: And Angela, who helps you with your homework?
ANGELA: Mostly KayKay.
PRIEST: Who talks to you when you get a bad grade?
ANGELA: I don’t get bad grades.
PRIEST: Of course not. Who corrects you when you get into a fight with your sister?
ANGELA: Whoever is up.
PRIEST: Whoever is up?
ANGELA: Yeah, like whosever turn it is. Like [sound of tiny hands slapping together] “It’s your turn! You’re up!”
PRIEST: Who is your very best friend at school, Angela?
PRIEST: What does Paris call Mom and KayKay?
ANGELA: My parents.
PRIEST: Tell me about Paris’ dad.
ANGELA: He lives in Mexico. No, wait. New Mexico!
PRIEST: Does Paris have a boyfriend?
PRIEST: Do YOU have a boyfriend?
ANGELA: Uh-uh. I’m just seven.
PRIEST: When you get older, do you think you’ll probably have a boyfriend or do you think you will probably have a girlfriend? Which do you think?
ANGELA: Um… a boyfriend. You don’t have a boyfriend or a girlfriend?
PRIEST: No, I don’t, because-
ANGELA: Because you’re married to the Church!
PRIEST: That’s right.
ANGELA: If you had a girlfriend, then you would have somebody to eat with. Then you wouldn’t have to come to our house to eat.
I don’t know if those were the right answers or if they were the wrong answers. I don’t know what answers the good padre was expecting to hear. But it has now been two days since our dinner with the priest. We have yet to have Child Protective Services or Opus Dei beating down our door.
It could be that the verdict is just not in yet.
It could be that the Church wants nothing more to do with us. That it’s washing its hands of us and our immortal souls.
It has now been two days since our dinner with the priest and there have been no lightning strikes near our house. No reports of anyone being burned at the stake. Houston has not been burned to the ground.
But who knows what tomorrow will bring? The re-Catholicization of Dana has left everyone way outside of their comfort zones.