Yesterday Abel and I attended the Papal Mass with 46,000 of our fellow Catholics. It was a pretty amazing experience and I hope you'll go to DC Metro Moms to read my post about it here.
The rest of the story, which I didn't share on that post, is something I just can't stop thinking about.
Getting to the stadium was a really good experience. For the most part (except for a few newbie and clearly nervous Metro riders) everyone was so nice on the very over-crowded platforms and Metro cars. The secret service officers checking bags and monitoring the metal detectors were very friendly (as friendly as their very serious job allows); the ticket scanners were downright joyous.
Okay, I think you get my point, overall it was a very joy-filled experience.
A joyous experience, that is, until we left the stadium. There, tens of thousands of the faithful met approximately one dozen men (I do believe they were exclusively men) holding very large signs and shouting into microphones. Unfortunately (in this instance) the path from the stadium to the Metro is a long, street-width path--with no way to change course once you're there--and it is the perfect set-up for just a dozen people to get right in the faces of thousands of other people.
The messages communicated via sign and angry shout included: the Vatican is the devil; you are not born again and therefore going to hell; your priest is lying to you; you worship the Virgin Mary and therefore are condemned to hell; the rapture is coming and you will be left behind.... I could continue but will stop there.
Now I know these were the crazies of their branch of Christianity. And trust me, I know every branch has their own, Catholics included.
What sort of impact did they think they were going to have? Did they think they were going to convert people who had gone through so much for the opportunity to simply be in the presence of the Pope and celebrate Mass with him? Did they truly believe that any man, woman or child coming out of there was suddenly going to have a relelation because of their vicious signs or their hateful speech?
Did they really?
I walked right by them, didn't acknowledge their presence and am really trying my best not to give them a second thought. Unfortunately I clearly have given them a second thought.
Now that I've vented to you, dear readers, I will try my best not to give them a third (thought).