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Mrs Brady — Catholic Old Lady

Why, I’d love to talk for a few moments with you boys. Would you like to sit here on the porch? You must get so tired riding around on those bicycles in this heat! You’re Mormons aren’t you? I can always tell–you on the bikes with your helmets on and your white shirts and ties. It’s like a uniform isn’t it?

Now, you just sit there for a moment while I get some iced tea and my special lemon cookies. No tea? Don’t worry. It’s just mint tea. I’m sure that will be just fine won’t it?

Here we are! Just push that cat aside. Shoo! Gus! You know he’s a lovable nuisance–just like a cat should be. Now you must tell me about your religion. I’m so interested to learn more about it since that nice Mr Romney is a Mormon. I’m so glad you boys are wearing name tags. Isn’t that a good idea, and let me see, you’re Elder Bradford–here’s some iced tea for you, and you’re Elder Berry. Hmm. I’m sure that get’s a lot of comments doesn’t it? Have a lemon cookie.

…Well, that’s all very interesting, and you say if I will just read the Book of Mormon before bed and say a little prayer asking for my eyes to be opened then I will understand it all and have a warm feeling in my heart that it’s true? I hope you won’t be offended, but it’s not something I feel a need to do because I already have a religion. I’m a Catholic. It took me a long time to decide, but I did in the end, and I have to admit I didn’t really have a warm feeling in my heart at the time, more like peace of mind because I had found the truth.

But I know what you mean about a warm feeling. Those moments of faith are very nice aren’t they? I’m sure both of you boys have had times when God feels very close to you, but I’ve learned over the years not to trust these things too much. I remember my Cousin Bertha was very fond of warm feelings in the heart. She was Assembly of God and used to enjoy going to the camp meeting revivals. I think she used to speak in tongues quite a bit. I went with her once and oh my goodness, everyone was weeping and crying out to Jeezus and it wasn’t really my cup of tea, and do you know Bertha once had a prophecy! She said an angel of the Lord had appeared to her and commanded her to marry the Colonel.

He wasn’t really a Colonel of course, but he used to call himself Colonel Jack Daniels. His real name was just Floyd Hitchins but he took the name Colonel Jack Daniels because that was his favorite drink, and Cousin Bertha didn’t know that she being a teetotaler and all. So she obeyed the warm feeling in her heart she had when she had the prophecy and she went and married the Colonel and was miserable her whole long life because he couldn’t hold down a job and he used to come home every Friday night and knock her about something frightful and call her a religious fanatic. I suppose it was all for her soul’s salvation, but it was not very nice to see, and I personally think she would have been better off not to have ever had that warm feeling in the heart.

So if you forgive me boys, but I do thank you for the  Book of Mormon, but I’m not going to look for any warm feelings in the heart. Who knows what sort of trouble that might get me into! But I’ll tell you what, you just sit there for a minute and I’m going to go and get you boys a couple of rosaries and a little booklet that will tell you how to use it. I’m sure you’ll like it. Now, I can’t guarantee that you’ll get a warm feeling in your heart, but it will bring you some peace I reckon.

You don’t want to worship Mary? Oh, don’t you worry about that. We don’t worship Mary, but she is our Mother and the Good Lord says “Honor your Father and Mother” so that’s just what we Catholics do when we pray the rosary.

Well, it’s been real nice meeting you boys, and I hope you go safely on those bicycles of yours! I must say I admire your enthusiasm and zeal. If only more of our Catholic boys got on their bikes and spread the good news–why I don’t think we’d be in such a bad way if they did!

  • Ronan

    Mormons are a lot of fun. They consider Roman Catholicism the only real competition because they place a lot of emphasis on authority. Just for the sake of authenticity, their name badges should have their surnames, prefaced by ‘Elder’. They don’t seem comfortable sharing their first names.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I’ll discuss this with Mrs Brady.

  • Phillip

    Mormon Missionaries – Father Longenecker – Both “apologetics” and good ones for their respective faiths – because:
    “Though argument does not create conviction, lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish.”
    [Austin Farrer, "Grete Clerk," in Light on C.S. Lewis, comp. Joycelyn Gibb (New York: Harcourt and Brace, 1965), 26.]

  • Jack

    I remember being acosted by a couple of mormans outside a local parish, I finally managed to shake them off after explaining that I needed to speak to the Priest (I actually wanted to talk to Father on an unrelated issue), alas I couldn’t find Father but when I stepped outside (I was inside for only a few moments) they were nowhere to be seen, Guess I accidentally scared them off.

    Just my luck I ran into the same group twice again over the next year

  • mike cliffson

    I like “Elder Berry”

    BTW father, in your Britland sojoun, were you inflicted with elderberry wine?

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I think I once tasted elderberry wine. Once was enough.

  • http://platytera.blogspot.com/ Christian

    We offer Mormons lemonade instead of iced tea.

    Our response to any missionary at our door is: “I am so pleased to to see you taking God seriously enough to go door-to-door. Being so serious, I wonder why you aren’t Catholic?”

    Most of the time we have a pleasant and productive discussion.

  • David N

    Had some JW’s round once. Spent 3 hours talking over the first paragraph of the tract they tried to give me. Never saw them again. Don’t know why……… :-)

  • Bryan Kennedy

    Could it be that the reason we’re so afraid/annoyed to see them come around is that we’re not prepared to defend our own faith? Kudos to everyone who is ready to sit and chat just like Mrs. Brady!

  • Nicholas Hinde

    Elderberry wine is for wimps – you want elderflower wine!

  • http://knowledgehungry.wordpress.com Jeanne G.

    I believe ladies like Mrs Brady will sit and chat with anyone. I wish I were like her.

  • BHG

    I found it quite humorous that the adline on your web has an advertisement for a Bible Degree just opposite Mrs. Brady. Need to send her there to take on the profs!

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  • http://whiskeyfire.typepad.com Thers

    This piece is alien to my experience of Catholicism. It’s juvenile snark.

    My mom was too busy volunteering for hospice care to answer the door; then she died. Funny!

    Shut up and serve.

    • http://prodigalnomore.wordpress.com The Ubiquitous

      Fr. Longenecker gets snarky sometimes, but this ain’t it. That this piece is alien to your experience of Catholicism, however, I have no doubt.

      • http://whiskeyfire.typepad.com Thers

        Why do you doubt my experience of Catholicism? I’m lapsed, sure. But I went here for high school:
        http://www.regis-nyc.org/
        I was pretty intense in the faith before and after. And my doctorate involved a lot of research into the history of the 20th century Irish hierarchy.
        I don’t buy a word of this. “Brady” is an Irish name, but only someone from a Protestant background would think anyone raised Irish Catholic would understand or care about distinctions between the Assembly of God or Mormonism.
        Anyway Irish Catholics have never, historically, gotten on bicycles and pestered people.
        Don’t get me wrong — there is no God, and so forth — but it irks me to see a Catholic care about this Evangelical nonsense, about the Apocryphal Kitchen Table Conversion. It’s just embarrassing. At least know what Team you’re on, like.

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          I think you’re taking Mrs Brady far too seriously. She’s a whimsical alter ego I invented to add a bit of fun to the blog, but if you must know, Mrs Brady lives in the South where these kind of conversations happen all the time. Furthermore, she’s a convert from Evangelicalism, having married an Irish Catholic Mr Brady. Like most lapsed Catholics I’ve met–you confuse knowing a good deal about Catholic culture with knowing the Catholic faith, and it sounds like you take yourself and your ‘atheism’ far too seriously. You should lighten up, and return to the faith. It might help you find a sense of humor.

          • http://whiskeyfire.typepad.com Thers

            That’s a pretty glib response. You don’t have the slightest idea what I know about Catholic doctrine, or don’t. It ain’t nothing. Jeez, I even gave you a link to my background — what the heck to you think the Jesuits teach, anyhow? And what do you think someone who studies modern Irish culture on the doctoral level has to learn?

            Anyway, your response shows that I’m right: only someone raised Protestant or something else would buy this humorous alter-ego.

            You come across as deeply ignorant of Catholic culture, frankly. Congratulations on the doctrinal brushing-up, stuff… I guess. That will sure impress the Mormons!

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            Being Irish and being Catholic are not the same thing. Good luck to you and God bless you!

        • http://prodigalnomore.wordpress.com The Ubiquitous

          You misunderstand me. <b<I have no doubt that this piece is alien to your experience of Catholicism. To your credit and against mine, you have a lot more substantial reasons than I expected. I would add as cheerful rebuttal that these days, living in the United States does count as having a Protestant background.

          But ditto what Fr. Longenecker says. I’m sorry that someone in the Church, or many someones, or even what appears to be the whole body of the Church hurt you or others. But surely you know the bad behavior, even criminal behavior, even sins that cry out to heaven, does not mean that Christianity is bad. It means Christians are bad.

          Christians do not, as Christians, cheer un-Christian Christians, you know.

  • Ajda

    I love Mrs. Brady. I wish I had a grandma like her :) Regards from Slovenia!

  • Theresa in Alberta

    I want to be like Mrs Brady when I grow up eh!

  • doughboy

    cute!

  • JennE

    I love that she insisted on them having tea! It is the south you know :) My sis was brought back to the Catholic faith through exchanges with Mormons. On the day they wanted to have her baptized she told them she was quite certain through the prayers they asked of her she was to get confirmed in the Catholic faith. Bless those Mormons!


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