Last night I dreamed I was in Ireland on the eve of the s*me-s*x m*rriage referendum. I was there as part of a travelling Catholic group, though whether this was mainly from my Canadian past (Jesuit profs, bless them) or from my British present, I am not sure. I think it may have been a mix.
I had taken a break from regular business to look for a dress. On the way back to a likely shop, I had three encounters concerning the Referendum. The first was with a group of schoolboys. A gang of schoolboys, including one black boy, were taunting and questioning another boy for not supporting the Yes side. He ran away shouting, "Because it's my FAITH."
"What is going on here?" I demanded. "How dare you gang up on that boy for supporting what is right!?"
The only one brave enough to address me was the black boy, although I can't remember our conversation.
The next encounter was with a young woman, a teacher I think, in her 20s, standing at the doors of a church as early evening Mass let out.
|It's not MY job to advise Catholics on marriage!!!|
"It's terrible," she grumbled. "The other schools have g*y activists coming in, of course, telling everyone to support Yes, but in our schools, the nuns are just telling us to be nice."
"Why don't they just teach the Catholic faith?" I wailed.
"I don't know," said the young woman. "It's terrible."
"But this is Ireland," I kept thinking. "Ireland."
It was almost time for the Mass I was supposed to be at, I thought, so I went back to where my friends were, and obviously this was a dream, for one of them was Berenike, who couldn't be in Ireland, for she is in a cloistered convent. But it seemed I still had time to buy the dress I fancied, so I rushed off, Benenike and our Glasgow friend Thomas ambling behind.
Evening was well advanced now, and the sky was dark. And suddenly, as we walked along the dark pavements, and under an urban railway bridge, Our Lord appeared in the sky. He looked grim.
I fell on my knees, shouting "It is the Lord", and Berenike and Thomas were down on their knees so fast, I assumed they could see him too.
It was a very short vision. He was thin, dark, with large dark eyes--very much like an icon, and He was holding a folded up piece of paper. And after about six seconds, He was gone.
I told Berenike and Thomas was I had seen, and we scurried off to Mass, I forgetting all about that dress. I angrily told someone that it wasn't true anymore that in the last days Ireland would be permitted to drown when the rest of the world went up in flames. (A legend I heard in real life decades ago, and heaven knows where it came from.)
Kyrie eleison. Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison. Kyrie eleison.
* * * * *
In the 1990s, a visiting Irish archbishop harangued mass-goers at Toronto's cathedral with a stirring Irish sermon, including the proud declaration that Ireland would never, ever, betray the Faith.
My ex-husband-to-be, who increasingly loathed Catholicism as the years went on, sighed, sneered and rolled his eyes. But I was happy and comforted at the thought that Ireland, dear old Ireland, was still the great rock of Western Catholicism, a wonderful happy pious Catholic land where perhaps one day I might actually be able to live.
It never occurred to me then that with Celtic Tiger money coming in the door, the Faith would fly out the window, or that Ireland's historical abuse scandal (of which there would be hints in the 1997 Irish film The Butcher Boy) would harden Irish hearts against their current priests and bishops. Indeed, I did not know until I saw The Butcher Boy that Ireland, too, had a problem with "clerical sexual misconduct", as it was called in my 2003 "Introduction to Ministry" class. In fact, I knew next to nothing about contemporary Ireland, despite ticking off the "Irish" box whenever presented with an ethnicity survey.
I know very little about Ireland now although at least I have dropped the "Kiss me I'm Irish" sentimentality common to North American descendants of Irish Potato Famine refugees.
Well, most of it. After all, my Scots-Canadian mother and my father's German-American mother were converts. The Catholicism of my family comes from the Irish part, unbroken through the male line, from the Famine Irish to their American sons to their sons and so on to my Canadian brothers and sisters and me.
Also the English-speaking Catholic community in Toronto from the mid-19th century to 1950 was heavily Irish, and annual St. Patrick's Day celebrations lasted at my elementary school until the 1980s, by which time the Italian immigrant parents (et probably alia) were thoroughly disgusted. So when trads, resentful of the Anglo-Irish Magic Circle, make remarks about "Irish Catholics", I always rise up and announce that I am an Irish Catholic ("...and so are YOU, X, with your Irish Catholic grandfather!")
At any rate, the Irish referendum is not really "my" fight, but I see that my psyche chose to dwell on it all the same, and as far as I can recall, this is the first time I have dreamed about the Second Person in the Trinity. Ten years ago or so, I dreamed about the Third.