Monday, January 9, 2012


What genera of book would think this was if you picked out the following dialogue from a book:

“Sir, face the wall. Spread you feet sir. A little more. Put your hands over your head and remain still.”

If you guessed going through airport security in one of those new scanners you would be correct.

I stupidly overdressed for traveling (a couple of days away from the parish.) My miraculous metal medal, studs in my collar, difficult shoes, belt, ring, pockets full of stuff. I know better. I wasn’t thinking.

You know, I would never undress to the extent that I did in the airport in any other gathering of people outside of a men’s locker room where I was about to work out. It is interesting to see how people handle it. Some feel like they are at a pajama party and others struggle desperately to clutch onto their dignity.

Although people may talk to strangers quite a bit in the queue leading up to the stripping point, once the stripping begins until the subsequent dressing is finished, it is as if we all try to pretend that the other strangers are not there. “I don’t see you and you don’t see me.”

I have gone someplace warm for a few days away from the parish for a few days. (There may be some days when there is no post.) It was interesting to see how other people in the plane dressed. Some clearly knew where they were going and had left winter clothes behind and were wearing very light clothing. Some were still bundled up. They would be hot once they got off of the plane. Pick your poison I suppose. Freeze now or boil later.

I like to travel in clerics. Many an interesting conversation has arisen and although I have always feared the person that would cling to me and talk and talk and talk that has never happened. (I am not a big talker particularly on planes.) The only time that did happen to me was when I was not in clerics. Most people are polite.

Before I was a priest I would love to see people in ecclesiastical garb out and about. I felt a twinge of pride such as when you see someone wearing a jacket from your favorite college. There was always an instant connection and if I saw a nun in the mall or some such place, I would always go up and say, “I don’t want to interrupt your day, I just wanted to say hi sister,” or father or what have you.

When I was first ordained I used to notice people noticing me. I don’t anymore. My sisters do however. “Why is everyone being so nice and smiling at us?” And that after a pause: “Oh! I’m with you,” the “you” not being emphasized in the most flattering manner.

Sometimes it is not always a flattering or pleasant situation when someone sees a color – kind of like wearing a Steeler’s jersey to a Browns game. But it is always an opportunity – a momentary yanking of a person out of the secular matters spiritual – even if it is only me catching an image of my colar reflected in a window.


Cracked Pot said...

I appreciate seeing men and women in their clerical or religious garb.

When I was a child, I was utterly shocked to see our pastor wearing a sport shirt at a parish picnic. "Are they allowed to do that?" I thought.

Anonymous said...

you feel funny being 'looked at'? how about being 'talked about'?


Fr. V said...


Never thought of it RMK - that is until now . . .


The.Baroness.Von.Korf said...

I'm with you on the strip down. I just few to and from Rome. Sheesh! A bit friendly aren't they?

Being in Rome I got to see lots of different colors of Religious. Made me smile.