Recently I had two family events that required me to go to church. To clarify, the anecdote is about the Roman-Catholic church. Probably the most vicious and hypocritical cult, or maybe I say so just because I haven’t been personally exposed to any others. Regardless, my experience with it is pretty outrageous, from singular incidents to the whole Vatican controlling Poland thing.
I am a heavily athestic and anticlerical person, so naturally I don’t follow up with all the kneeling, singing about how horrible person I am, and all the begging for forgiveness. Any time I have to go to the mass I choose the least offensive spot for me to just sit in, far away from everything and everyone, a typical spot nobody wants to be in, because you can’t see shit, and I just sit there quietly, and watch. In my mind this is a perfectly fine, respectful way of handling the situation of being the dissenter in a sacred place, but apparently I was wrong.
First mass I attended lasted for two hours. I am still broken up over the fact that I never will get this time back. Precious time that could have been spent playing video games. What a waste.
During the mass I have been approached by three different people, who questioned why am I there, or plainly asked me to leave. You could think that a heathen taking interest in their religion should make them happy. They are constantly being told that they faith should be spread, lost sheep have to be found, the word of God, and what not. Well, apparently not, if the heathen in question is sitting. It would probably be more appropriate if the heathen kneeled in shame of his existence, and apologize for his presence.
Sitting, you see, is considered a greater luxury saved only for the chosen ones. As you can notice in public transportation, where youngsters sitting when the elders are present, are frowned upon by said elders, regardless if all of the other seats around are available. It is no different in sacred places filled with godly presence. The rules include a relativity of one’s status – if a female, or an older person is present, the person’s status is considered unworthy of the seat, and should not take it in any circumstances. The same goes for disabled people – if a disabled person is young, their status should be considered lower than an elderly, perfectly healthy, person, especially a woman. But if two elderly people similar in age and health are present, their status should be fought for between the two, in a honorable battle of bitchiness and salt. Public approval may also be counted in for the win. The loser should be forever shamed by the entire population occupying the space in question, wether it is a bus or a church, and leave said space, disgraced.
My first mistake was taking a seat. The avaiable ones were plenty, but as previously stated, this is not the point. Next to me sat a man with grey hair, easily in his fifties. On my other side sat an elderly woman, possibly the same age as the man. The man excused himself and left, making it obvious that he is going to come back. The woman asked me:
‘Miss, move over there, someone might want to sit here.’
‘Okay, but the man who just left said he is going to return, I want to save this seat for him [so he can sit next to his family member that he talked to].’
‘… This man is young.’
As she responded with this, she looked at me judgementally, as if I insulted God, Mary, all the saints, and angels in one setting. It should have been royally obvious that the man is young, therefore he is not worthy of the seat. Taken by surprise I just smirked, and moved as she requested. Contrary to popular beliefs I do not always want to start a fight, and be inappropriately controversial.
My second mistake was checking the time on my phone. I had no idea how long the mass is going to take, as this was an exceptional mass, so I tried to track time, you know, like a normal person. I was immediately shaken by a man who grabbed my arm.
‘Turn off this phone! Stop playing with it!’
The old, really badly smelling man, was visibly furious, and all huffing and puffing. It was another surprise to me, since I barely visit public spaces, most of the time I just roam between home, university, and work, and drive by a car, so I kind of forgotten how people can act like, and how frustrated and hate-filled they can be. I culturally told the man to mind his own business, and faced away from him, still having my phone in my hand [because suck it, old man]. Alright, maybe I do always start a fight. It’s a real curse to have a “fight me” personality when you live as a social species that puts so much worth into herd peace, at the same time being really vapid, ego-driven, and idiotic creatures. Having self-respect and being assertive makes a potent civil war fuel. Especially if you’re female.
Next to the man stood a woman, who asked why am I here. I chose to ignore it, and until the end of the mass everything was fine. I was eager to leave, but my way got blocked by the “that man is young” woman.
‘Why did you come here?’
‘Imagine I am just as unhappy being here as you are with me being here, but I attended this mass for my family.’
I hoped this would be a sufficient explanation, so I waited for her to move, but that was not happening.
‘You should have stood outside.’
‘Outside it’s freezing, and the mass took two hours. I am not bothering anybody with just sitting quietly in a corner here.’
‘So what that it’s freezing? You should have stood outside.’
After that delightful exchange I asked her to move out of my way, and I left. Fun fact, none of those three people took the wafer (I know this sounds crazy, but there literally is a holy wafer, believed to be the body of Christ. Insert happy cannibal noises meme). I wonder what is it that weighs on their conscience, since they shown to be pretty shameless with their rudeness, but I am glad at least they didn’t have the audacity to go and pretend they are the clean, sin-free angels.
After that experience I decided to not get myself manipulated into going to church ever again. My intention was weak, sadly, as a week later I had to attend a baptism. I was not happy about it, but at least this time I had support of my atheist family member, who hung out with me. We showed up, greeted whole family, and then sneakily left, and drove away, to not have to sit there. Our departure was spotted by others, so afterwards I had a talk with another family member.
‘I saw you two leaving.’
‘Oh? Are we in trouble?’
‘I was so envious, Jesus Christ, I wanted to leave at least three times during the mass.’
‘The mass happened, normally I thought all those crazy anecdotes on the internet are rare, singular incidents, since I don’t normally go to church. But apparently I was wrong.’
‘Anything in particular?’
‘The priest went on a long tirade, explaining that the Notre Dame burnt down, because of immigrant policy of Europe, and accepting the muslims, betraying Christian values.’
This speaks for itself, so I don’t feel like I have to put any snark remark about the collective stupidity of organized religious groups. I choose to continue to live in my bubble of scientific breakthroughs, progress, ethics, and everything else that separates us from damned medieval Dark Ages. I am really glad I ran away and did not hear those bollocks personally, because I’m pretty sure my “remain calm” policy would fall short, and I’d speak up against this bullshit, making a really big fuss, disturbing the religious part of my family on their special day.