Anti-Catholic bigotry at the Soup Kitchen
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Anti-Catholic bigotry at the Soup Kitchen
In my city, there is a place to go for a meal when you have no money to pay for it. For some of us (including me), that’s pretty often.
Especially now that I have no kitchen or home.
This program --- and all the volunteers who make it happen --- is quite a blessing, obviously.
The only requirement is that you have to be there on time, and times are pretty strict. I am not a newbie to this meal. Even when we had a home, we had to go there sometimes. My kids grew up knowing this place. My kids and I have gone there at various frequencies since 1983.
Further, there are times when we have stand in line to wait for the meal to be served. I try to pray the Rosary while the Rosary is in my pocket, so that nobody will notice much.
I can't just stand there without doing anything, or my arthritic knees will distract me with pain.
I always make the Sign of the Cross and say a silent prayer before eating my meal. I try to be as discreet as possible, lest someone accuse me of "proselytizing."
But, I do have to make the Sign of the Cross at the end of each decade, of course, for the Glory Be (Doxology).
A couple of years ago, a man seated at my table noticed that I made the Sign of the Cross before beginning to eat. He started a conversation with others at the table about how he wanted to ask the bishop about his (the bishop's) wife. I was kind of hungry, and not really interested in what anyone had to say, mostly. Just enjoying my food, and thankful to have it.
It took me a few minutes, to finally realize that this man was making these remarks for my benefit -- apparently because I had made the Sign of the Cross. He started talking about how horrible it was that there was an Egyptian obelisk in the Vatican. He said that this object should not be in the Vatican because it was "pagan" and it meant that Catholics worship the sun.
He and some other "sola scriptura" fans at my table --- all in agreement regarding the obelisk at the Vatican --- started arguing amongst themselves about the role of women apostles in the early Church, as well as a few other things. Each had her or his favorite quote from Scripture that meant something different or similar, according to each claim.
The sola scriptura crowd couldn't finish the meal before breaking down into factions.
That obelisk incident was the first time that this man had an anti-Catholic rant. I reported this to the administrator of the meal program --- who happens to be Catholic. That wasn't the issue, though. The program has a rule that diners are supposed to be respectful to others, regardless of religion, or lack thereof. (The program is privately funded.)
He agreed with me that this was unacceptable.
The anti-Catholic guy did not harass me anymore, although I also tried not to let him see me making the Sign or the Cross, or saying the Rosary.
Until a year ago, when this man started up again. I actually started to cry this time. The administrator of the program came out to me as I stood on the sidewalk. He said, “Mitch bothering you again?”
I said, “Yes.”
The administrator said, “I think he used to be married to somebody Catholic.”
I said, “I guess she was mean.”
I have not heard anything from Mitch ever since. He claims to be a preacher. He has his own ecclesial community, which he calls a "church." He always has his Bible with him, and receives calls during the meal.
So, my question is this: Should I stop saying the Rosary while waiting, because I have to make the Sign of the Cross during the Glory Be?
Or, should I just say it anyway, but not make the Sign or the Cross at all? (I don't care much for that option, to tell the truth. I feel that I should not say any Rosary at all, rather than do it half-baked.)
So, if I stop making the Sign of the Cross for the Rosary, should I also stop making the Sign of the Cross before beginning my meal? (Or, perhaps do that when I'm sitting at the same table with Mitch? But normally just say it anyway? Nobody else seems to care, or even notice.)
Maybe I should just say a silent prayer? But, the Sign of the Cross is very public, and not silent.
Although, nobody seems to mind except this alleged "preacher" or "minister."
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