Readers Stories, — May 14, 2009 11:14 — 0 Comments

Prejudice: Pope Gives Birth

I didn’t have access to that home.  The adults there knew of my religion.  It took some years to persuade them of any good qualities I might have, but the ‘religion’ issue meant they would not attend our marriage ceremony.

Unfortunately my mother-in-law passed away suddenly a few years later. 


Her widower was left to fend for himself. His married sons, staunch in their reformed religion were loath, when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, to receive him into their homes. As husband of his only daughter I didn’t hesitate to offer though we were poles apart in many ways and we were raising our own family then in a particularly Republican area of my native town. 


George was fiercely independent but with half an eye to accepting my invitation he came to visit and stay with us. 


His tirades on the evils of the Church of Rome were endless and difficult to listen to – not to say to counter. I tried appeasement, without success.


I changed tack.


To know the essence of his argument I researched the charges against the medieval Church. Then once, at the height of a future diatribe, I added another charge he knew nothing of. 


‘Did you hear of the Pope who gave birth to a child while in office?’ I enquired.

He was reduced to stuttering.


‘But … then … why..?’


I explained that I taught in a Catholic school and that my livelihood and that of his daughter and his grandchildren depended on my selective silence.


We could speak together after that. 


Later we even became quite good friends.


more later …

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