Saturday, June 2, 2007


I was looking through my archive of photos and could not resist trotting this baby out into public view. I've had a beard since 1997 and even those people I know now who knew me before the beard include no one who has ever seen me in a suit.

Also, none of my current acquaintances have ever seen me attempting to pass as Catholic either. Yet here I am in 1982, at the age of 32 (the exact same age my Father was when he ran me over, by the way) being confirmed as a convert. I'm at Blessed Sacrament Church in the University District in Seattle. The Catechism was directed by Father Anton, seen at your far left. I believe that's the former Bishop Hunthausen in the middle who performed the confirmation ceremony, who was Archbishop of Seattle from 1975 to 1991. I don't remember, but it looks like him.

I'm wearing, minus the jacket, the only suit I ever owned, a navy blue three-piece number I bought in Ithaca, New York, in 1977, when I was an easy to remember American size 33 with 33 inseam = metric 84 with 84 inseam. That was also the only tie I ever wore properly.

I'm not ready to explain what a dictionary-pagan is doing getting confirmed Catholic in this picture, except to say that the first Catholic mass I ever attended was at the little chapel that was still called the "Berrigan Church" on the Cornell campus 4 years after Daniel Berrigan stopped being involved with it. They didn't have any wafers my first visit, so they broke up hamburger buns and consecrated them.

It speaks to a point I've been planning to get to, that people could be a lot more sensible about religion if only they stopped thinking of religions as sources of doctrine that everyone has to accept, and started thinking of them as mistresses (or if you're female you might prefer to say bed partners, or friends with privileges.)

One of the most rigid doctrinarian men I know in all matters is a man about 60 who never married and only briefly ever loved a woman. It has occurred to me that there is a connection. If he had spent more of his life loving he might know by now how to love his own beliefs and opinions without feeling the need to whore them out to everyone else.

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