Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Marriage according to the Catholic church.

On my mission to become a good Catholic Polish wife (Hmm. Take out the Polish and Catholic parts then and we'll try again... ok) On my mission to become a good wife, I tried Really Hard during our marriage lessons. Marriage lessons are lessons kindly provided by the church to prepare you for married life. They are given by a series of priests and nuns. Priests and nuns clearly being the best people to teach others about married life. Sorry, I'll try to limit those kinds of comments. Ahem.

Before each session (there were ten. TEN!), I reminded myself why we were there and tried to put myself in an open, receptive, uncritical frame of mind. This does not come easily. I was expecting to strongly disagree with some of the statements throughout the course, and was also expecting some good fodder for the debating part of my brain. I was prepared not to be happy, but hoping to be challenged.

At the beginning, we had an older priest, the kind who repeats himself (good if Polish is not your first language and you feel a little sleepy on a Wednesday evening) and sticks to the Pope's every word (not so good if you are me).

Typical statement from old priest: 'When a young man comes to me and asks what he needs to do before he can get married, I ususally tell him... [pause for effect]... find a GIRL! [stop for laughter... which never comes... ok, continue, adopting serious face] Because there are some people nowadays who are suggesting ridiculous things about boys and boys and girls and girls [show audience appalled face].' Deep sigh from me.

He repeated himself through a few sessions and covered thrilling information like the cases in which it is acceptable for a Catholic to marry a Muslim (I looked around the fifty faces in the room. Nope, all Polish Catholics, bar me and a Spaniard, also not Muslim I suspect); the legal papers you need for a church wedding and why (again) marriage is for one man and one woman (another sigh).

The second priest was younger and jollier, with an impressive round belly. He actually got a bit deeper into the juicier parts of love, faith and marriage. All of which he took great joy in telling us we know nothing about.

Typical statements from round priest: 'You may think you love each other but you don't...marriage is all about the triangle between a husband, a wife and is not the be all and end all, after all I can tell you where to go to find sex. There are plenty of willing girls walking about by Place Stephanie.' Oh yes he did.

The last couple of sessions were covered by a nun. We missed the first, as we arrived 7 minutes late and found ourselves locked out. The second time though, I was rather glad we only made one. I think I would have been thrown out if made to sit through another...

Typical statement from nun: 'So you see, monitoring your temperature every day to follow your hormone path is THE MOST RELIABLE form of family planning... contraceptive pills give you cancer... condoms do not protect you from HIV.' GRRRRRRRR.

At the moment I cannot think of that last experience without a little knot of anger forming, so I'll keep that story for another day. Suffice it to say I learned far more in biology aged 11, and have never had false 'facts' presented to me in such a frustrating and self-righteous way.

God save my soul.

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Blogger mjn said...

Ohhh, the marriage lessons... That is a bit wierd. But after hearing horror stories from my office mate we managed to get out of it... almost by not knowing Polish. Or, anyway, not knowing enough. The priest gave us three private sittings, where he mostly talked about religion and science. No nun, no "condoms are evil"

I think we got away nicely.

Good luck!

7:10 pm  
Blogger Becca said...

We still have that three-hour interview to get through... so yes, you got away very nicely indeed!

1:26 pm  

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