Wednesday 19 November 2008

Religious issues in Malito

Siamo qui! We finally made it to Calabria! Bel ragazzo and I arrived in Malito Saturday evening after a rather uneventful and somewhat speedy bus trip (it only takes about 6 hours from Rome and the bus is so much more comfortable and clean then the train. For a one way ticket we paid €35 each but it is cheaper still if you buy return.) The bus thankfully was not full as we had way too many suitcases and carry on bags and bel ragazzo did get a little lecture from the bus driver...but here we are safe and sound.

I have some great posts prepared as I have been thrown full swing into village life, but here in the northern Calabrian mountains the internet is slow at the best of times. I have waited one hour to down load a photo and from the lack of photos in this post you can see that I have now given up waiting. Not to worry! There is no internet cafe anywhere in these parts but I'll figure something out.

I have only been here in Malito, experiencing the Calabrian village life for 4 days and already we have hit many hurdles...or to be more precise religious hurdles.

Bel ragazzo has a best friend who has a beautiful baby boy. The babies parents are not married so according to the Catholic church they are living in sin. They have decided to Baptize the baby but luckily it does not matter that they are not married. It is more important that the god parents lead a good, Catholic life. The babies father wanted his brother to be god father, but the brother is divorced and again that is a big no no for the Catholic church, so that ruled him out. They then decided that bel ragazzo would be the man for the job.

Yesterday afternoon, smartly dressed bel ragazzo and his best friend went to visit the parish priest. It was agreed that bel ragazzo would remain tight lipped about us living together - as even though we have no baby out of wedlock, we are still living in sin and this would rule him out as potential god father. We were not saying that he should lie to the priest, just a need to know basis... what the priest does not know will not hurt him.

So with this little white lie aside, you would think that church wise bel ragazzo was well on his way to becoming a god father.


The priest apparently asked bel ragazzo many, many questions - quizzed him as though he was sitting a school exam. The priest asked if bel ragazzo had been baptized - yes - had he made his first communion - yes - what about his confirmation - no. Hold on a minute...sorry to disappoint yet again, but bel ragazzo cannot possibly be a god father to this this baby if he has not been confirmed!

Bel ragazzo
tried to reason with the priest to no avail. The only solution is that bel ragazzo gets confirmed - and quickly. They want to baptize the baby in 4 weeks. In 3 weeks there is a group of people making their confirmation in Cosenza. Bel ragazzo has to speak with the priest again on Sunday, and obviously he has to now attend mass at least for the next 3 weeks. He has to study and probably sit some holy test to make sure he 'passes' his confirmation and if all goes well he can be the babies god father.

Now we need to find bel ragazzo a sponsor. We need to speak with the priest on Sunday and see if I can do the job. I have been confirmed, but who moves to the other side of the world with their confirmation certificate to hand? Who even has a confirmation certificate? Who even knew that you need to be confirmed to be a god parent...or for that matter to get married? The priest claims that the 'rules' have changed as years ago you did not need to be confirmed to get married in a Catholic church (bel ragazzo said his dad was never confirmed and he got married without a problem.) Bel ragazzo has an older brother who plans to marry next year, and he too had no idea about this 'new rule' so now he too has to make his confirmation in the coming weeks.

Crazy if you ask me.

So to be the sponsor of bel ragazzo I need proof of my religious status. We have to somehow get proof on my confirmation and see if the priest will accept a letter written in English, faxed from my mums parish priest in Australia...if not then bel ragazzos mother will have to do the job as really, for a village of 800 odd people, pretty much everyone has some sort of religious mark against them.


red said...

Good God. That's insane, it sounds like something from the 50s...glad to see the Catholic Church is moving with the times.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think it was still such a problem to be 'living in sin'

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

FWIW, this isn't necessarily a southern Italian or Italian Catholic thing; I went through similar (parden my French) crapola to be a godmother in the US; you see, I hadn't gone to my "home" parish for a while b/c I was in college 400 miles away, so they gave me lots of hassle. This *despite* the fact that my whole family has belonged to that church (of like, I don't know, 500 parishioners?) for generations and that I was baptized, got communion, and confirmed there.

One *huge* reason I was turned off of Catholicism in fact. But I have many more reasons ;)

Best of luck to the both of you in this quest :)

Anonymous said...

Crazy! Crazy! Crazy! I'm so loving ur Calabrian posts already! Can't wait to read more!! ;)

Gil said...

I guess I'm been mistaken about the Church as I've thinking that they are getting a little less stringent with these things.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

It's so good to hear from you!! :) Religion can be SO complicated sometimes!! :P Which church in Cosenza is the bel ragazzo going to get confirmed in?? The Duomo di Cosenza?

Jewel said...

Wow, that sounds like a cliche they'd put in one of those foreigner goes to little Italian town movies.

Hey I have been reading some of your early posts... is someone turning 30 next month? Have you got that novel finished off?

Piccola said...

Mamma mia!! Well, I hope it all gets sorted out. I'm glad I read your post though. I did my confirmation in Mexico, so I better request the certificate for future events!!

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Red,
The church seems to be going back in time rather then forward.

Hi Ms Violetta,
Oh, in 'sin' is a big no no with the Catholic church. Bel ragazzos mum was a bit uneasy about us at first sleeping in the same bedroom in her house...but then there was no where else for me to go!

Hi Michelle,
So it is a world wide thing....the Catholic church is crazy and I too am turned off in so many ways. They don't seem to make anything easy.

Hi Gil,
The Catholic church has their roles and we have to follow them...there is no grey area - for them it seems to be all black or white.

Hi Lulu,
You guessed it...the ceremony will be taken in that very church!

Hi Jewel,
Yes, someone is turning 30 very soon...and no...that book is no where near ready to be published, but I am working on a different varient for a writing competition but I really need to get my act together. Maybe before I'm 32 I can get something published...but I am writing the novel with my brother and it is so hard when we live on opposite sides of the world.

Hi Piccola,
If you plan to marry your Italian, to be on the safe side just get copies of your religious certificates, or get some priest to write a letter. That way at least you'll be prepared.