Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Catholicism and Snow

On Sunday I went to church. Yes, you read that correctly. I went to church to see the priest about getting Molly baptised.

Herself had rang to find out the procedure, and he said, rather pointedly, that he’d see us after mass. Hmm. We had thought to go all three of us, but the rain was torrential so I shouldered the parental responsibility and toddled up to the local church, that of St Joseph the Worker, on my little ownsome.

I’ve not been to mass for … well, decades - but for the occasional Christmas, wedding or funeral. It was slightly more informal than it used to be, with altar girls, and children generally being involved. I noticed one woman, thirtyish, with her jeans’ waistband half way down her arse and a fluorescent turquoise thong on view, which is the fashion no doubt, but wouldn’t lead to pious thoughts if you were in the pew behind her during the prayers.

I didn’t even attempt to join in with the hymns. In Jarrow a combination of Irish immigration, intermarriage and pragmatism has led to most of us having rather scrambled religious histories. (There is a story of the Church of England vicar and the Catholic priest having an actual fist fight in the hallway as one of my ancestors lay dying, over the vexatious question of who should give her the last rites). So over the years I’ve had a rather ecumenical experience and can tell you that in any competition vis a vis hymns, the Catholics will always come last.

I spoke to the priest at the end, a middle-class Englishman with the manner of a small town doctor. He was friendly without any of that horrid chumminess you sometimes get from the cloth. He gave me a form. We’ve to attend baptism classes which will run in January, and Molly will be christened in February. Hmm.

On Monday it snowed, and the falling snow was quite thick, but it didn’t lie for long because the ground was wet. Snow, I discovered, is as difficult to photograph as fog - when it’s falling.