I blame the summer heat wave for the following article. Apparently my brain cells are fried.
Nuns in the News
A recent anti-AIDS campaign in Taiwan has provoked an outcry from Roman Catholics because some of the ads featured a smiling nun holding a condom. Well, no kidding. Nuns take vows of poverty and chastity, neither of which is likely to result in the purchase of condoms. Those who are convinced that practitioners of the advertising profession either have sold their souls to the devil or spend their days smoking the wacky weed, or both, have more evidence to support their convictions. (Me, I want to know why that nun was smiling.)
Oddly enough, this story got less attention worldwide than did the kerfuffle that followed the recent World Youth Day when a Belgian nun was reprimanded for her
acrobatic dancing at the event. (Note: the link loads slowly, but this page has a video of the dancing nun. A high-speed Internet connection is recommended for viewing the video.) The typical reaction is less outrage and more mirth, though. And certain religious sects that view both dancing and Roman Catholicism as wicked are pleased to have their prejudices confirmed.
All of this poses the question: is this the end of the world, or what?
The Good Old Days
Back in the 1950s, when Sister Mary Pugnacious was fixin' to bust a move, she picked up a ruler and you knew that somebody's hands were about to be smacked. Those large, wooden rosaries that nuns wore around their waists also smarted sharply, so children learned to duck if Sister whirled around. Lucky kids who were being terroris-... er, educated... in Catholic schools were able to engage in lively philosophical debate on such topics as 'do the nuns have to shave their heads'. One persistent rumour held that would-be nuns had to cut off their feet and glide about on rollers, and youngsters spent most of their first year of schooling trying to get a glimpse of said rollers. And some smark aleck suggested that nuns didn't need to drive cars because they flew around on brooms. (This kid was full of wild ideas. He eventually ended up in prison.)
Them were the days.
By the late 60s, though, the Church was in the throws of reform, ushered in by Pope John XXIII1 and the Second Vatican Council, and relevance was the byword of the day. Nuns, at least the younger ones, cheerfully discarded the heavy, floor-length habits and veils for more-modern, 'civilian' dress. In my mind, this was cheating. Children learn very quickly to modify their behaviour around weaponry-wielding nuns, and those old habits were an early-warning system. Once nuns began to look like everybody else, letting fly with colourful speech was just inviting a whack upside the head and possibly eternal damnation as well.
(I've often wondered what possessed young women who'd become nuns, thus freeing themselves from the complications of husbands and children, to go into the profession of teaching. Every once in a while our teachers would get 'that look' in their eyes; apparently they were wondering the same thing.)
But even so, no nun that I ever knew danced (except for the Hokey Pokey, and all of you who think that the penguins resemble dancing nuns are flirting with a detention). She most certainly did not jump into the air and wrap her legs around her partner. See, I can hear my sainted grandmother saying, that's what you get when nuns abandon the long habits, the Second Coming is nigh, quick, get the smelling salts, get the holy water, argh...
And Speaking of Argh
This has nothing to do with nuns unless nuns have taken up piracy lately, but 19 September is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Here's your chance to dress up in funny clothing and talk in tongues, sort of. No religious convictions required. And rum is suggested for authenticity.
I'm so there. Aaaarrrr!