Usually I feel somewhat ashamed after posting mean-spirited prose concerning my brother-in-law. I’m sure this time will be no different, but seeing that it’s been another couple days since my last post (I hope I’m not losing steam!), I’m using the material that I’ve got on-hand.
He is getting baptized and confirmed into the Catholic church Saturday. It’s the most ironic thing I could imagine. It makes my skin crawl.
There’s this huge awkward space between my parents-in-law and my brother-in-law’s wife’s parents. When they first got together, got engaged, started planning a wedding, her parents strongly did not approve. They accused him of basically being a gold-digger, only wanting her for her future physician’s income, etc. Put him down for being “only” a retail employee, etc. They refused to come to the wedding, in the end they weren’t technically invited. [Here’s where I point out that a church is basically a public place, and even for a small ceremony you don’t really need an invitation to show up for your daughter’s wedding. I can’t picture any priest stopping the bride’s parents at the door, saying they’re not allowed in…?] Oh, not that this is relevant, but I think it paints a lovely and frightening picture: her mother is a former nun. They were married in the same Catholic church where he’ll be baptized Saturday. One of their voiced concerns about the then-impending marriage was that he wasn’t Catholic. Also concerning to them is the fact that his parents have both been divorced once each before they married each other. Therefore, they couldn’t possibly have taught their son how to sustain a marriage. Give me a break.
So, it seems rather transparent to me that he’s pretty much doing this to kiss his in-law’s asses. Unless he’s trying really hard to use reverse psychology or purposefully hide his epiphany behind derision, he certainly hasn’t ‘found God.’ His behavior doesn’t seem any more ‘Christian’ to me than it’s ever been. For example, if you really want to take on religion for spiritual purposes after you’re thirty, I wouldn’t imagine that you’d make fun of people in your RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) class. Or sleep in the classes while your wife, who’s sponsoring you, takes notes for you. Yes, I’m a skeptic, but these things do little to convince me that he’s taken any of this seriously at all.
I’m not sure why this bothers me so much. Millions of people go to church on Sundays and behave despicably the rest of their lives. It’s a known phenomenon. It was just so much easier to take his bullshit with handfuls of salt grains when he wasn’t claiming to be religous. I do not claim to be religious. In fact, I can’t wait to drink too much and call him out, Catholic to Catholic. That’s awful of me, but it’s been a long time coming.
The worst part is, in my opinion, that they’ve still made approximately zero effort to bring these two sets of parents together. His parents stepped up despite being judged by people they have yet to shake hands with, welcomed her into their family, and have been there for them since day one. They’ve supported her emotionally and somewhat financially through her med school years; they planned, hosted, and partially paid for their wedding. They’ve been parents to both of them. Yet it seems that the grown children caught in the middle still can’t bring themselves to force her parents to be in the same place as his parents. It’s been years. They’re married. The two families are joined whether either of them likes the idea or not. It’s sick for her parents to think themselves so above his, that their family is somehow better because the parents haven’t been divorced and each child holds an advanced degree of some sort. But it’s worse for these grown, adult children to passively condone that attitude by acting as if they are ashamed of the parents who’ve been their main support system for the past three plus years. Shame on them. At some point, you get to stand up to your parents, prove them wrong if they are. I have very little respect for the way they’ve mistreated my parents-in-law. There comes a time when children get to point out to parents the error of their ways. It’s past high time.
Mike’s not going to the Mass, and neither is his father. I don’t blame them. I’ve planned to go all along. I’m his first Catholic in-law, and I never felt the need to be invited to a church event. My mother-in-law has been planning to go, too. She bought a whole new outfit, head to toe. Her newly Christian son told her to take it back, it wasn’t acceptable. She and I are apparently not invited to the pre-Mass dinner with her family. That stings, but it certainly won’t stop me from walking up to them after the Mass and introducing myself. These people have been nothing but names associated with hurtful stories for years now, and I have a hard time expecting them to live up to the hype. I told my mother-in-law that I would not blame her for a second if she chose not to attend. I’ll be there, and I will be nice, but they will know (or should know) what I’m thinking as I say, “So nice to finally meet you.”