A Heathen Amongst the Faithful

Mexico is a pretty devoutly Catholic country. They take their God stuff seriously, and making offense is the easiest way to get a beating in a city that’s already known for it’s violent side!

And sometimes it’s hard not to offend. At 7am when the church next door starts ringing it’s bells to call the faithfull to service, I mutter profanities. Sometimes quite loudly. Fortunately so far, never loudly enough. Well, I have a had a clout from the girlfriend, but that’s no life or death issue!

I myself rank the Catholic church alongside all other churches and religions/cults etc….Church of England, Judaism, Islam, David Koresh’s Wacko compound (Waco maybe? My mispell adds meaning though!), those Japanese guys who gassed the Tokyo tube. All the same to me.

I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way, and I’m not comparing these religions to each other or trying to relate one to the other in any way. I list them (and I could list more if I had time!) because they do all have ONE thing in common. They are irrelevant in my life. I have no faith based in any of them, and don’t feel their message is for me in any great sense. I appreciate their history, and as well as the many well publicised negatives and controversies surrounding most of them, they are by and large filled with decent believers who do plenty of nice things and who have freely chosen whichever particular religion they wish to follow.

But it’s not for me! I don’t pray nor wait for miracles. I contemplate and make choices. An easy way of thinking for an Englishman in England – it’s harder for natives of Mexico City to swallow though! That’s not to say they aren’t tolerant. But they do seem to find the idea just a bit crazy! I get questioned/interrogated on the subject regularly! My divertion ploy is to explain that Christianity isn’t a big deal in the UK, the churches are getting emptier every year and the real God we pray to these days is the manager of our chosen football team, whilst praying for goal scoring miracles during Saturday or Sunday services at the Church of Anfield/Old Trafford (add whatever church is relevant to you!). Bringing up football in Mexico is often an excellent method of changing the subject!

But here’s my real problem. I’ve been with my girlfriend over a year, marriage is being discussed. It started a long time ago – apparantly it doesn’t require any input from the heathen gringo during the early stages! And a nice wedding in a beautiful church in bohemian Coyoacan is the direction these discussions are going. But before any of this can be reality – I have to be baptised into the Catholic church.

Questions….if I go through with it, are her relatives going to be under the impression I am a wholly converted disciple of the Pope? Do they realise I’ll be doing it just for the wedding, and as we leave the church for our honeymoon I’ll be waving goodbye to a faith I had no faith in? Will I be able to keep a straight face during baptism, and avoid the inevitable urge to giggle at the madness of it all? Just as well it will be done in a language I don’t understand. Can I keep up the lie for the six month process? Should I?

Ah shucks, who cares?! They don’t entiendo me. I don’t entiendo them. No one will be any the wiser on either side of the religious line I guess!

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