Peggi’s sister sent us a link to an article in the LA Times about “Strangers on the Earth,” a documentary on the Camino de Santiago. We’ve already seen three movies about the Camino and we were in the middle of watching “The Milky Way,” Buñuel’s 1969 masterpiece. It is surely the wildest movie about religion and the Camino (which is sometimes referred to as “The Milky Way”). I say “in the middle of watching” because the Netflix dvd locked up on us about halfway through because of scratches on the disc. Don’t you just wish everything was streamable?
While we were walking the actual Camino, from one small town church to the next, my cousin told us she felt like she missed out by not going to a Catholic school. I found myself making an argument for how she lucked out. She was never in a class in the middle of math when the teacher rounded us up to go next door to a mass in the church. She never had a nun veer off topic in the middle of an English lesson so we could hear a religious parable. And she probably had a gym in her school building and a phys-ed teacher.
In truth, Religion class, part of our daily curriculum, was sometimes as thought provoking as Buñuel’s movie. In fact, that is what I remember most from Catholic school. And it was the questioning that stuck with me, the same questions that are bantered about in “The Milky Way.” How can it be said that we have a free will when God knows exactly what we will do before we do it? All the things that can only be settled by accepting them as articles of faith, they just don’t make logical sense. The mysteries are meant to be confounding.
A friend of my parents requested a Mass for my parents today on what would have been their sixty-ninth anniversary. The priest had a beard and the altar boy role was played by a woman with grey hair and an ankle length skirt. The church, Saint Thomas More, was rather plain, lots of brick and a simple modern crucifix. I feel as though there is an effort underway to remove the mystery.