Thursday, May 17, 2012
CHEWING GUM IN CHURCH AND OTHER PERILS OF SOUTHERN LIVING ALMOST AS BAD AS RATS IN THE RECTORY!
I don't know if this is just a southern thing or common in other parts of the USA, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Canada, United Arab Emirate, Russia, Australia, New Zealand or what, but southerners like to chew gum like a cow chews cud and in public places, like classroom settings, lecture halls, symphonies, plays and Mass!
On Sunday, Mother's Day, a young family was at Mass but were visitors and the husband was clearly not Catholic, but throughout the Mass and I mean throughout the Mass, he chewed gum and not politely, open mouth chewing! It distracted me to no end, reason #666 why ad orientem Masses in either the OF or EF are psychologically most healthy for priests.
Fr. Dawid tells me that he has had communicants come to him for Holy Communion chewing gum and it is visible in their mouths although they are receiving Holy Communion on their hands. He refused Holy Communion to someone recently.
On Tuesday night when we were having Confirmation Rehearsal, a great number of the candidates and sponsors were chewing gum in the Church and others talking on their cell phones. At the end of it, I threw a good ole southern hissy-fit and warned them like Sister Lillian warned my first grade class about appropriate etiquette in public places especially the Church. Chewing gum in forbidden in the Church, no matter when, how or where.
How did we lose this sense of Catholic etiquette? Well for me it wasn't instilled by any priests that I knew, it was instilled and enforced by the good sisters who have all but disappeared from most Catholic parishes and schools in the south. Lay Catholic teachers and catechists don't seem to have the same "prophetic" edge that the good sisters did in our schools and religious formation programs (CCD).
Is this just one of the many perils of southern living?????
And on top of that peril, our Music Director, Nelda Chapman who has lived in her suburban home for years and it is one of the older suburban neighborhoods in Macon and not considered "country" at all, saw a rattle snake on the sidewalk in her front yard leading to her front porch as she walked on it the other day. It slithered into her garden ivy near the sidewalk and in front of her home. This has been most disconcerting to her as she usually works in that ivy, gardening. Is this as bad as rats in the rectory or worse? I still suffer current and post-traumatic stress syndrome from that!
A couple of years ago as I was about to enter a hospice facility in Macon and as I approached the front door of the facility, I saw a stick by the front door which quickly moved out of the way for me to enter. This stick slithered into the bushes by the door. So strange, these southern living slithering sticks!