Maureen Dowd occasionally turns over her column to her much-more conservative brother, Kevin, usually to interesting effect. Today's column, on the future of the Catholic Church, is especially good. Of course, watching the Vatican priest catastrophe unfold is purely a spectator sport for me (and hard for me to relate to, given that my own personal religion never experiences any sort of crisis whatsoever), but it still provokes in me unhappy feelings, not only for the obvious reason (I'm a parent), but because a) I think non-fundamentalist religion is a good thing generally, and b) I grew up in a mostly Catholic town, and I have many fond memories of the Popish atmosphere, excluding the five or six miscreants who accused me of killing Jesus, which I did not do.
I did commit one sin against Jesus, however, and I was reminded of this sin by Kevin's call for the Catholic Church to return to its fierce and righteous roots:
It is time to go back to the disciplines that the church was founded on and remind our seminaries and universities what they are. (Georgetown University agreeing to cover religious symbols on stage to get President Obama to speak was not exactly fierce.)
Our first child was born thirteen years ago at Georgetown University Hospital. A small and tasteful crucifix hung on the wall of the delivery room, and Mrs. Goldblog, upon being wheeled into its presence, demanded that yours truly remove it from the wall. I saw in the crucifix an opportunity to make to my soon-to-be-born child the classic Jewish joke, "This is what happens to Jewish kids who don't do their homework" (I realize that newborn babies don't get humor, but you have to start training them early). Mrs. Goldblog, however,was in no mood for jokes, nor was she in a terribly analytical frame of mind, so when I said, "Hey, sweetie, this is their hospital, and this is their savior, so if they want him on the wall, it's their right." She repeated her demand, stridently, that I remove Jesus from her sight. So I did, and placed him between two towels in a drawer. Everything went swimmingly from there (including the Bat Mitzvah in February of the aforementioned newborn).