So Much For The Compassion Of The Clergy

, , , , | Working | May 4, 2021

Sadly, my dad has recently given up the ghost due to the current health crisis. Since my family lives in a region that doesn’t allow people from other areas of Italy to enter without a work or health-related reason, his side of family cannot come and participate in the traditional mourning ritual, but we still try to fulfill his funerary wishes to be buried by Catholic rite. To that end, my mom calls up the priest of the parish where my dad used to go in life.

Priest: “Hello and good day, parochial office of [Parish]. How may we help you?”

Mom: “Father [Priest]… my poor husband, Mr. [Dad], has died. I was wondering if you were available to give him the funeral blessings, despite this horrid situation.”

Priest: “My condolences, Mrs. [Mom]. May God rest his soul, given what he’s gone through. I’m available, but I think that, given how things are going, something outside of the church might be better.”

Mom: “That’s understandable, but how would it work?”

Priest: “I don’t think your husband would’ve wanted to have a lot of pomp during his last journey to God. I’m of the idea that I shall come to your house, read a passage, and then have his sons and his daughter read a poem related to him before the hearse comes to bring him to the cemetery.”

My mom is rather taken aback; my dad was a bit crude in his manners, but he did explicitly request a solemn funeral, incense, and specific passages read.

Mom: “Seriously?”

Priest: “Yes, I’m sure that’s what he would’ve wanted anyway.”

Mom: *Upset* “No, that’s not what he would’ve wanted at all!”

Priest: “Eh, I mean, a full ceremony definitely doesn’t suit his personality. I think that reading poetry from his children would be more fitting than just reading a few impersonal passages. Besides, right now, it’s not possible to do a full funeral, so his requests are sadly moot. You can always have that proper funeral at a later date.”

Mom: *Very upset* “I know how things are! We would be just me, my family, and you! If it’s really not possible to use the church, our garden will be fine. I just want to satisfy his request to read his favourite passages and have some incense spread.”

Priest: “I still think the poetry is the best option. Reading the Holy Bible in a garden really isn’t very appropriate, anyway. Just hold off until things are better to read those passages.”

Mom: *Holding back tears* “We have nothing more to discuss, goodbye!”

And with that, my mom hung up and started crying quite a bit. Later that day, my brother and I did manage to find a priest that was willing to conduct a proper-as-possible funeral. Seriously, what kind of priest refuses to read the Bible for a ceremony?

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We Have Often Entertained Angels Unaware

, , , , , , | Related | April 22, 2021

I was raised Catholic and used to be very involved in the church. I was baptized and confirmed, I used to be a catechism teacher in high school, I was in the youth group and youth choir, my sister was in the choir and was an altar server, my mom was a catechism teacher for over a decade, and my father was a lector and Eucharistic minister. We went to church every Sunday. Sometime after I moved out of my parents’ house, I stopped going to church, mostly out of laziness.

It is Palm Sunday, the weekend before Easter. I am at my parents’ house, and they invite me to church with them. I decide to go — why not? On the car ride to church and during mass, my dad starts “preparing” me for what mass is going to be like, basically teasing me and pretending this is my first time ever in a church. He explains what a missalette is, tells me when to sit, stand, and sing, and makes small comments throughout mass with a tiny smile on, so I know he’s joking.

It is time for communion. My mom is standing between us. My dad leans over.

Dad: “After the priest gives you communion, you say ‘Amen’.”

I smile, he stands back on his side, and I whisper to my mom:

Me: “I thought I was supposed to say, ‘Compliments to the chef’?”

She lets out a laugh/snort and covers her mouth to hide her smile. My dad, clueless, asks her to relay what I said. She tells him, and he looks at me, trying to stifle a giggle. Hiding his smile, he tells me:

Dad: “You’re going to Hell.”

I hope God has a sense of humor.

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Fool Me Once, Shame On You. Fool Me Ten Times…

, , , , | Legal | April 15, 2021

I am the minister of a city-centre church in the UK. This means that we have a good number of down-and-outs and other needy people come to us, and we rarely turn people away. Unfortunately, this also means that we are often targeted by scammers trying to get money out of us.

Some years ago, we had a rash of men claiming to be oil rig workers from Northern Ireland who needed money to get back home due to an emergency. These were scammers. One even pulled an elaborate scam on a generous couple in the congregation to get over £200 out of them. The tell-tale sign was that not only were the stories similar, but in many cases, they were verbatim the same, as if memorised.

After a morning service, a visitor asked to speak with me. I went into the back of the church with him, and to my horror, he began the whole, “I work on an oil rig, I’m from Northern Ireland…” spiel.

“Let me stop you there,” I said. “You are the tenth man to stand there and tell me the exact same story. Get out, now.”

He left in rather a hurry, and he was not only the tenth but also the last man to stand there and tell me that exact same story. It seemed there was a community of scammers, and once I had told one to get out, nobody else tried it. There are quite enough genuinely needy people in this city to help, without scammers taking the resources of a small church.

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Allergic To Common Sense, Part 19

, , , , , | Right | April 1, 2021

I volunteer in childcare at my church. The childcare system follows a system called “Plan to Protect,” which involves signing your child into the computer. The computer then prints two stickers: one for the parent and one for the child. The sticker for the child has their name, a symbol, a set of numbers, and if the child has any allergies. The parent’s sticker has a matching set of numbers and symbol, and we have to collect both symbols before we are allowed to release the child.

I fill in for my brother in the toddler room. I don’t usually work with toddlers, but I go where I’m needed. As it turns out, the toddlers receive a small cup of animal crackers as a snack. This isn’t usually a problem, but we have a new child with us this week. Her mother has filled out the forms and lets us know that her child is allergic to dairy. She gives us a granola bar because we can’t determine whether or not there is dairy in the crackers.

Come snack time, all the little ones are hungry. The other children are given animal crackers and I am given the granola bar to give to the child.

I am the only leader who is “Plan To Protect” certified because I usually work in another section. The toddler’s leaders are supposed to have a lead who is certified but she is away that week. That makes me, a fifteen-year-old, the only person allowed to give the child food outside of animal crackers.

I read the wrapper and discovered that the first item on the ingredients list is dairy. The kid is really hungry and crying, so someone decides to page the mother. I inform her that, due to “Plan To Protect,” I cannot feed the bar to her child.

Mother: “It’s okay. I’m her mother and I say it’s fine.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, but you filed paperwork saying she was allergic to dairy, and I signed a form saying I wouldn’t feed a child food that they are allergic to.”

Mother: “Fine. [Child], I’m going to give you a granola bar because this nice little girl doesn’t want to.”

Me: “Actually, ma’am, you can’t give her food in this room. You are not ‘Plan To Protect’ certified, and you cannot feed someone in a room that is being used by the childcare service. If you give it to her in the hall, it’s fine, though.”

Mother: “B****.”

I assume that’s the last of it, but later I’m told to report to the youth director. The lady told her that I tried to feed her sweet child food she was allergic to.

The funny thing is, I’ve been attending this church longer than I’ve been eating solid food. The youth director knows I take volunteering very seriously and that I would never do that. She tells the lady that I don’t usually work with toddlers, so even if I did do that, I wouldn’t be near her daughter again for another couple of years.

Mother: “You’re not going to fire her? Where I’m from, a child who disobeyed and put someone’s life at risk would be kicked out of the church forever. I’m never coming back to this stupid place!”

Related:
Allergic To Common Sense, Part 18
Allergic To Common Sense, Part 17
Allergic To Common Sense, Part 16
Allergic To Common Sense, Part 15
Allergic To Common Sense, Part 14

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Pain Isn’t Heavenly But It Has Its Perks

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 19, 2021

Some years ago, my dad hurt his leg and had to walk with a cane while it was healing. Around that time, a friend of our family, who has been blind from birth, came to visit. My dad and the friend went to church one Sunday, and the Bible reading happened to be about the people who will be invited to the wedding feast in Heaven.

Priest: *Reading* “’Go out into the highways and byways and seek out the poor, the lonely, the blind, and the lame.’”

My dad leaned over to his friend and said:

Dad: “We’re in!”

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