49 minutes ago
Monday, December 29, 2008
Ever Buy a Pagan Baby?
Most of my childhood education was spent in the hands of parochial schools, back in the days when nuns ruled the universe. The nonsense they taught made you almost unfit for humankind.
For those of you whom your parents loved enough to send you to public schools, or those who came in the pre-post reform days, think of Jake and Elwood Blues at the hands of the good sister in Blue's Brothers. The scene in the movie where the boys go back to see the penguin was not a joke to anyone educated in 1960's catholic schools.
Somehow they got away with the most egregious crap, but even the nuns knew they could carry it only so far, so to test the boundaries, they invented buying pagan babies. Let me explain.
One thing Catholic churches love is money, hard spendable cash, and someone, somewhere saw that the Easter Seals had a cash cow. RC's needed a similar scheme, so stole the idea, and moved the season to Christmas. Just after Thanksgiving, thousands of little Catholic kids were given books of missionary stamps and told to sell them to support foreign refugee camps and missionary priests, at a penny a pop, or a whole book for a buck. Money was due, and collections took place on Friday mornings.
Once your class collected a fin, you were entitled to buy a pagan baby. Best of all, it came with naming rights, and a certificate of authenticity.
Now, Catholic teaching is very particular about naming options for children. Either the first or second name had to be the name of a saint. No exceptions. When in doubt read a map of France. The Church there put an St or Ste. in front of every pagan location name, and created innumerable saints.
So imagine its getting close to the holidays. The kids are wound up, its Friday, they've collected their fiver and its time to name their new pagan baby. The rules were the kids raised the money, the kids got to name. If you think there are a lot of post pagan adults in central Africa/Asia named Mary Catherine or James Joseph guess again.
My class and most people I have talked to went all out. Depending on how much your teacher would let your class get away with, some of the names were spectacular. Especially the Asain kids who had many r's in their names.
Many Catholic school educated adults of my generation live in great fear of getting that knock on the door late at night. You open the door, an African or Asian man or woman a bit younger than you is at the door. You ask how may I help you?
Daddy, its me Joseph Vanilla Wafers, don't you remember me?
Wishing, won't make it go away.
Posted by Toad at 12:29 AM